Language and Linguistics Seminar Series: Week 24 with Dr Eleni Kapogianni, University of Kent

"Is irony always critical?"

  • Thu 14 Mar 19

    12:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr Elena Kapogianni, University of Kent

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Language and Linguistics Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

    Victoria Mead

This week we are joined by Dr Eleni Kapogianni, University of Kent, to talk about her recent research.

12-1pm Dr Kapogianni will take to the stage to deliver her talk, followed by a lunch provided by Language and Linguistics from 1pm-2pm.

We look forward to seeing you there: this event is open to all students and staff! 


One of the few points of consensus among the various pragmatic approaches to verbal irony (neo-Gricean, post-Gricean, interactional, Speech-Act-based) is its inherently evaluative nature. The observable imbalance between the frequencies of negative versus positive evaluation conveyed by irony has led researchers to dismiss cases of the latter as cases of non-ironic meaning (Garmendia 2010, 2011; Dynel 2014).

This talk revisits the debate on positive irony making three main claims: (1) the perceived equation between irony and negative evaluation is mainly due to a conflation of the notions of irony and sarcasm (2) positive and negative attitudes can co-exist in ironic utterances (3) the use of ironies with a “positive charge” is culture-dependent. The latter argument is supported by survey-based data from a variety of languages (Greek, German, English, Italian).

Dynel, M. (2014). Isn’t it ironic? Defining the scope of humorous irony. HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 27: 619-639.
Garmendia, J. (2010). Irony is Critical. Pragmatics and Cognition, 18 (2): 397-421.
Garmendia, J. (2011). She’s (not) a fine friend: “Saying” and criticism in irony. Intercultural Pragmatics, 8 (1): 41-65.


Related events