Chapter 4. Verbal irony, politeness… and three ironic types

Abstract : This paper critically examines Leech’s (2014) view that verbal or conversational irony is subsumed by politeness considerations, and proposes a new, threefold account of verbal irony. Although Leech’s pragmatic model of irony is inadequate as a whole, it highlights crucial aspects of irony relating to (im)politeness theory. I propose an alternative account of that first recognizes two major types, polar irony and impersonation irony, which have been referred to in the literature under various denominations, including oppositional irony and echoic irony (Simpson 2011). In polar irony, a desirable state of affairs is evoked that is blatantly contradicted by facts; in impersonation irony, the speaker takes up someone else’s viewpoint or an assumed identity to targets or victims of the irony. Building on Leech’s observations, I argue that a last type should be added, mock politeness irony, noting that the three types of verbal irony can combine. In the course of the discussion I review psycholinguistic data, other conceptions of irony, and the connection between politeness, irony and banter.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 4:49:29 PM
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Olivier Simonin. Chapter 4. Verbal irony, politeness… and three ironic types. Manuel Jobert and Sandrine Sorlin. The Pragmatics of Irony and Banter, John Benjamins publishing company, pp.59-80, 2018, ⟨https://benjamins.com/content/home⟩. ⟨hal-02102838⟩

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