Irony as a complex attitude


Abstract – Verbal irony is a complex mode of communication which has attracted the attention of scholars from several different fields.Scientific and literary analyses have contributed to shedding light on specific aspects of irony and have provided cumulating evidence of its protean nature and cognitive complexity. Attempts to pin down the nature of verbal irony in terms of antiphrasis have proven to be reductive. Indeed, a growing body of literature has pointed out that what is at stake in irony is not simply saying the opposite of what is meant but rather communicating an attitude. This insight, however, needs to be refined.In this paper irony is argued to be the emergent interpretation of a cluster of attitudes that may surface in different forms and modulate different interpretations of irony, ranging from gentle and jocular to more sarcastic and biting.

Riassunto –  L’ironia verbale è una forma di comunicazione complessa, che è stata analizzata nel tempo da più prospettive. I tentativi di ricondurla essenzialmente ad un  procedimento antifrastico si sono ben presto rivelati riduttivi. Analisi scientifiche e letterarie hanno contribuito  alla comprensione di aspetti specifici dell’ironia, mostrandone la natura  mutevole e illustrandone la complessità cognitiva. Gli  studi più recenti  convegono sull’ipotesi che le espressioni ironiche non comunichino semplicemente il contrario di ciò che è detto, bensì comunichino atteggiamenti. Il concetto di atteggiamento diventa dunque cruciale nella definizione della natura dell’ironia e pertanto l’ipotesi richiede di essere approfondita. Questo articolo propone che l’ironia sia l’interpretazione emergente di un insieme di atteggiamenti che si combinanto ed affiorano in superficie in modi e forme diverse, dalla giocosità, al sarcasmo, dalla bonarietà alla critica graffiante. L’ipotesi teorica è che questo insieme di atteggiamenti sia rappresentato da una categoria di ordine superiore ATT,  che include atteggiamenti mentali, sentimenti ed emozioni,  che deve essere prevista nella rappresentazione pragmatica di ciò che è detto per consentire la corretta interpretazione dell’ironia  nel contesto d’uso.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v26p59

Keywords: irony; attitude; echo; expectations; feelings.


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