Journal article

A study of Chinese learners' ability to comprehend irony

Rod Ellis, Yan Zhu, Natsuko Shintani, Carsten Roever



The purpose of this study was to investigate Chinese University students' ability to recognize irony. To this end, we developed a test that included literal and ironic items and focused on the students' ability to identify which of the items were ironic. 112 first- and second-year Chinese university students completed the test, a C-test as a measure of language proficiency, and a language experience questionnaire. 24 native speakers completed the irony test and C-test to provide a baseline for comparison. Results showed that the learners' scores were markedly lower than the NS's on the ironic items but not on literal items. Both learners and NSs had difficulty with the positive irony items. ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers