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  • Author: Virginie Laval x
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Marc Aguert, Virginie Laval, Nadia Gauducheau, Hassan Atifi and Michel Marcoccia

Abstract

The literature suggests that irony production expands in the developmental period of adolescence. We aimed to test this hypothesis by investigating two channels: face-to-face and computer-mediated communication (CMC). Corpora were collected by asking seventh and 11th graders to freely discuss some general topics (e.g., music), either face-to-face or on online forums. Results showed that 6.2% of the 11th graders’ productions were ironic utterances, compared with just 2.5% of the seventh graders’ productions, confirming the major development of irony production in adolescence. Results also showed that adolescents produced more ironic utterances in CMC than face-to-face. The analysis suggested that irony use is a strategy for increasing in-group solidarity and compensating for the distance intrinsic to CMC, as it was mostly inclusive and well-marked on forums. The present study also confirmed previous studies showing that irony is compatible with CMC.