The Influence of Audio-visual Cues on the Perception of British-English Irony
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A knowledge gap between being proficient in a second language (L2) and understanding humour in the second language is apparent in the field of linguistics. The Dutch adult population is considered proficient in English as an L2, however the question remains if they also understand expressions of humorous intent. Irony is considered a form of humour and is widely used by native British-English speakers. 42 L1 speakers of British-English and 52 Dutch L2 speakers of English have participated in the study of evaluating fifteen audio-visual contexts on an irony scale while being presented with varying combinations of verbal, prosodic and visual cues. The method applied is of a quantitative nature with the British comedian, James Acaster, as the performer of irony. Results indicate that Dutch L2 speakers’ proficiency includes the understanding of irony for humorous intent in an audio-visual context. The understanding is however lower than that of L1 speakers with a statistically significant effect of language.