Irony aptness

Rachel Giora, Shani Federman, Arnon Kehat, Ofer Fein, Hadas Sabah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper, we test the hypothesis that irony aptness is sensitive to both ironiness and sophistication. In a previous study, we established irony gradedness as a function of narrowing the gap between what is said and what is referred to (Giora et al. 2005b). Experiments 1A and 1B show that the higher the ironiness of a target, the more apt it is. This has been replicated for echoic ironies (Sperber and Wilson 1986) as well. Indeed, in Experiment 2, we show that echoic ironies rated as highly ironic due to the accessibility (rather than explicitness, see Gibbs 1986; Yus 2001) of the source of their echo are also evaluated as highly apt. In addition, we show that sophistication (as defined by Raskin and Triezenberg 2003) and aptness ratings are highly correlated, though ironiness and sophistication are not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Accessibility
  • Degree of irony
  • Explicitness
  • Irony aptness
  • Negation
  • Sophistication


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