Verbal Irony and Situational Irony : Why do people use verbal irony?

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Jeong, JaYeon

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Department of English Language and Literature, Seoul National University
SNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics, Vol.3, pp. 153-164
verbal ironysituational ironymotivation of ironymention theory
Many studies on verbal irony has mostly concentrated on the definition and nature of irony, i.e., the question of "what is verbal irony?" The motive for the use of verbal irony, on the other hand, has not been the center of the studies of verbal irony as much. To answer the question of motivation, or "Why people use verbal irony", I would like to look at situational irony based on one study on situational irony (Lucariello, 1994). Situational irony is often precluded in the discussions on verbal irony, for the two "ironies" are regarded as belonging to different domains. Situational irony, however, has much to do with verbal irony in many ways. Both kinds of irony entail opposition or juxtaposition of incompatibles and require shared knowledge: the shared concept of irony in situational irony and the evaluation of the circumstances which trigger irony. Regarding processing route, both ironies are explained more plausibly with one-stage process view. These findings further support the claims of mention theory of verbal irony, which emphasizes the role of shared background between speaker and hearer in the communication of verbal irony. I would thus conclude that the verbal irony should be approached communicatively.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU Working Papers in English Language and LinguisticsSNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics Vol.03 (2004)
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