Humorous and ironic readers' comments to a politician's post on Facebook: The case of Miri Regev

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This research seeks to identify and analyze humorous and ironic readers' (online) comments to a post of an Israeli controversial politician – Miri Regev – on Facebook, in view of the specific nature of this genre, which has been known to allow a certain level of threat to face. My intention was to compare indirect readers’ comments to direct ones in terms of abundancy and face threat; and address the difference between the indirect comments, taking into consideration the critical nature of irony and superiority theories of humor. The findings indicate that direct expressions were used significantly more than irony, humor or cases in between, but indirectness was used more to show criticism towards Regev and damage her face. Thus, these results support theories which address the critical nature of irony and feelings of superiority expressed through humor. Regarding the difference between irony and humor, challenges to the politician's face employed more irony than humor in terms of numbers, but humor was hardly present when enhancing her face. This finding thus helps refute the perception of humor as friendlier. Additionally, reciprocity was observed: irony and humor were almost always responded with a series of other indirect comments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-53
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Facebook posts
  • Humor
  • Irony
  • Politeness
  • Political discourse
  • Readers' online comments


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