A Short Etude on Irony in Storytelling

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Abstract

This paper presents an overview of chosen concepts of irony as a communicative unit in the repertoire of the speaker. It adopts a framework of narration with emphasis on how minds in interactions co-construct meanings. Irony, which means more than it says, is always used with a specific attitude attached. Irony is thus an act of narrating the speakers’ mind, but in the speaker-hearer meaning perspective.

Due to the fact that there is no narration without a text and no irony without narration, this paper links the Theory of Narrative Line and Narrative Field (Bokus, 1991, 1996, 1998) with a few selected views on the theory of irony (e.g., Clark and Gerrig, 1984; Sperber and Wilson, 1981, 1984) and research results. It also explains how the Cooperation Principle (Grice, 1975) is flouted and again recreated in the process of sharing meanings. Further, we refer to linguistic bias (Maass et al., 1989) and highlight perspective shifting in narration, which can change along the ‘narrative line’ and within the ‘narrative field.’

This paper builds a platform for combining the theories of irony with fields of narration. This perspective situates irony as a vehicle hinged in dialectics between the explicit and the implicit, the like and the dislike, the truth and the falsehood, the praise and the criticism. All of these can be read from irony.

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