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ERIC Number: EJ1176858
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1936-7384
Positive Feedback Loops: Sarcasm and the Pseudo-Argument in Reddit Communities
Mueller, Christopher
Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics, v16 n2 p84-97 2016
Etymologically, the word 'sarcasm' is derived from the Greek "sarkazein," meaning "to speak bitterly or sneer", or, more literally, "to tear flesh" ("sarcasm," 2014). Sarcasm, then, is far from a benign feature of language, and there appears to be an inherent acerbity, or even a note of provocation, located within. In spite of any innate or perceived aggression, sarcasm is, in fact, quite a common feature in spoken discourse. Studies have placed the use of sarcastic language at roughly 8% of conversational turns (Gibbs, 2000, p. 5; Tannen, 1984, p. 131), so it is certainly a notable and oft-tapped linguistic resource. As technology progresses, however, computer-mediated communication is becoming increasingly common and, with the advent of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.), increasingly conversational. In this vein, perhaps sarcasm's role as a feature of primarily spoken discourse needs to be re-evaluated. This article offs a descriptive analysis of sarcasm as produced in an exclusively digital space, as well as bring attention to a novel use of sarcasm specific to this environment: sarcasm used as a "pseudo-argument."
Teachers College, Columbia University. 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A