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Anna Milanowicz

Abstract

The paper explores why certain adults are, or at least consider themselves to be, more ironic than others. The study looked at comprehension and application of irony compared to subjective affective evaluation of irony reported by Polish-speaking adults and with relation to nonverbal intelligence measured with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised-Polish versions (WAIS-R(PL), 2004). Fifty-four subjects aged 20-66 years (28 females and 26 males) participated in Study 1 on subjective perception of irony. The comprehension, emotional valence and social functions of ironic meanings as well as the degree to which subjects perceived themselves as ironic were assessed through a self-report questionnaire. Inter-correlations were performed and related to the performance quotient (IQ) which was measured in Study 2, where 45 (24 females and 21 males) out of the 54 participants were tested with performance subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised-Polish versions (WAIS-R(PL), 2004). The nonverbal intelligence scale was administered. Performance on nonverbal intelligence tests is not limited by language abilities and its analysis and can be considered important for future cultural comparative studies. Subjects who perceived themselves as ironic showed a higher nonverbal IQ in comparison to subjects who described themselves as non-ironic or barely ironic. The pragmatic qualities of irony were analyzed for their affective valuation and balanced for gender. Individual differences and gender effects in the perception of the social functions of ironic utterances were found. The paper describes the implicit emotional layer conveyed in irony and its importance in irony processing and comprehension.

Open access

Anna Milanowicz

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.

Open access

Anna Milanowicz and Piotr Kałowski

Abstract

Literature points towards the role of context in irony interpretation and the existence of gender differences in language use. We decided to examine the influence of interlocutors’ gender stereotypes on interpreting and reacting to ironic criticism in conversation. To this end, we designed two experiments gathering participants’ responses to the same ironic utterances voiced both by women and by men in control and gender stereotype activation conditions. Results of the first experiment showed that women tended to use irony significantly more often when responding to a man than to another woman. The second, ongoing experiment will additionally examine participants’ response times and total time of utterance in respect to their addressee’s gender. The results are discussed with regard to the social comparison theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987) and the linguistic intergroup bias theory (Wigboldus & Douglas, 2007).