Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2213-1272
  • E-ISSN: 2213-1280
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Previous research on extremist discourse has revealed that racism is linguistically shaped by its socio-cultural context. For instance, a comparison between Greek Cypriot and Greek online data indicated that the two communities use different linguistic means and strategies to express their aversion to the Other, and that Greek comments are more overtly insulting than Greek Cypriot comments (Baider and Constantinou 2017aAssimakopoulos and Baider 2019). The present study focuses on how irony is used to disseminate hate speech, albeit covertly. Our dataset comprises online Greek and Greek Cypriot comments posted on social media and collected during the same period of time (2015- 2016) within an EU project. We use concepts such as and to deconstruct ironic racist comments. We conclude that irony in both datasets fulfils three socio-pragmatic functions: it serves to insult or humiliate members of groups targeted for their ethnic identity; it creates or reinforces negative feelings against such groups; it promotes beliefs that could be used to legitimate their mistreatment. Regarding socio-cultural differences, it emerges that the use of the Greek Cypriot vernacular and the appeal to indigenous in-group social stereotypes influence the way irony shapes racist comments and reinforces in-group membership.


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