Identifying irony in news interviews

Galia Hirsch, Shoshana Blum-Kulka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This contribution investigates the detection of irony in Israeli political news interviews exploring the viewers' perception of the interaction. Our aim was to discover whether viewers tend to detect irony employed by interviewers and directed toward interviewees and whether they believe the latter have interpreted it. Our approach to the analysis and interpretation of irony builds on two conceptual paradigms: media studies and pragmatic studies of irony, focusing on the audience's sensitivity to keying as a possible aid to the role it plays in its identification.For this purpose, an experiment was conducted in which sixty Israeli students were presented with three interviews, selected through a method devised for the purpose of this article, relying on the assumption that an interview that employs irony will lead to contradictory and inconsistent feedbacks from viewers. The findings indicate that as a whole, audiences tend to detect irony in political interviews and to attribute irony detection to the interviewees unless they lack the relevant contextual knowledge. However, the identification of irony depends on the audiences' interpretation of the specific keying assigned to the discursive turns in question. It may be suggested that the influential factor for irony identification is assigning a non-serious keying to the situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-51
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Detection of irony
  • Media
  • Political news interviews


Dive into the research topics of 'Identifying irony in news interviews'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this