THE COMMUNICATIVE VALUE OF IRONY

Author:
Nikolina Palašić
Email:
nikolina.palasic@uniri.hr
Summary
Irony is common in everyday speech, so much so that sometimes we do not even notice it, that is, we do not assign any communicative value to it, or we equate it with wittiness. On the other hand, we will say for some people that they are extremely ironic, and this trait will be considered as one of the less appealing personality traits of such people. Science has been discussing irony for centuries and various approaches and interpretations have developed as a result of these discussions. This only serves to prove that, from the perspective of communication, irony is an extremely intriguing, and at the same time an extremely complex and elusive phenomenon. In this paper we will discuss some of these approaches to irony and we will attempt to show why none of these are complete and why they do not give definitive answers. We will focus on the issue of whether irony really is an indirect speech act (this is how it is frequently classified in literature) and attempt to determine which aspects of communication need to be taken into consideration in order to adequately analyse irony from the perspective of pragmalinguistics. In addition to this, we will also point out some communicative goals for which irony is frequently used and focus on the forms it takes to achieve these goals and on constitutive elements of irony, that is, on the assumptions that have to be met for the interpretation of an ironic utterance to be successful.
Key words
irony; criticism; common sense; speech act
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