First Advisor

John Hellermann

Date of Award

Spring 6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Applied Linguistics and University Honors


Applied Linguistics




sarcasm, verbal irony, CMC, text-based, markers


Sarcasm is a complex phenomenon of indirect speech, when we intend a meaning different from that of the literal words we use. In face-to-face settings (FtF), facial expressions, body language, and prosodic cues can be helpful indicators of sarcasm. It becomes even harder to decipher when these physical cues are removed as in any written setting. This paper explores what text strategies are used to mark sarcasm in text-based English language communication online. Through a systematic literature review, the similarities and differences of irony and sarcasm were explored, as well as the issues these parallels and distinctions create in delineating one from the other, the broad theories associated with them, the shared features of spoken and written sarcasm, and the novel features of text-based CMC sarcasm. It is found that sarcasm in text-based CMC is marked in three primary ways: explicit (author labeled as in hashtags or tone indicators), suggested (emojis and contrasting contexts), and ambiguous (formatting and unmarked, broad contexts), although the rapidly changing nature of social media and other text-based CMC indicates that the specific strategies used to convey sarcasm will continue to change.


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