An acoustic analysis of ironic comments

Glenda Gurrado


Intonation plays a key role in the communication of irony, nevertheless, the literature dedicated to the prosody of verbal irony is still cross-linguistically scarce. Our study intends to investigate the prosodic differences between irony and sincerity in Bari Italian. Our first aim was to observe the way several types of irony differ from sincerity, in particular we compared ironic criticisms (sarcasm) with sincere comments and ironic compliments (teasing) with their sincere counterparts; our second aim was to verify the prosodic differences between sarcasm and teasing. The data collected so far showed that sarcasm differed from sincerity with reference to most of the acoustic parameters considered. Nevertheless, no statistically significant differences were found between teasing and sincerity. Finally, the research revealed that ironic criticisms were faster and more intense than ironic compliments.

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