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Addressing the Challenge of Verbal Irony: Getting Serious about Sarcasm Training

Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada
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Languages 2019, 4(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages4020023
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 24 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract

In verbal irony, the speaker’s intended meaning can be counterfactual to the literal meaning of their words. This form of figurative language can help speakers achieve a number of communicative aims, but also presents an interpretive challenge for some listeners. There is debate about the skills that support the acquisition of irony comprehension in typical development, and about why verbal irony presents a challenge for many individuals, including children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and second-language learners. Researchers have explored teaching verbal irony in a very small number of training studies in disparate fields. We bring together and review this limited research. We argue that a focus on training studies in future research could address a number of theoretical questions about irony comprehension and could help refine interventions for individuals who struggle with this form of social language. View Full-Text
Keywords: verbal irony; sarcasm; language training; pragmatic development; autism spectrum disorders; second-language learning verbal irony; sarcasm; language training; pragmatic development; autism spectrum disorders; second-language learning
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Pexman, P.; Reggin, L.; Lee, K. Addressing the Challenge of Verbal Irony: Getting Serious about Sarcasm Training. Languages 2019, 4, 23.

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