Dall’ironia al sarcasmo: quello che le parole non dicono

Glenda Gurrado


Irony is traditionally defined as an attitude of communicating something by meaning something else. Nevertheless, ironic communication, well-known as verbal irony, cannot be reduced to such a limited interpretation: irony is a complex attitude that is communicated taking advantage of several syntactic, pragmatic and prosodic resources. A number of studies have tried to correctly define the characteristics of ironic communication so far, most of all from a pragmatic perspective; an interesting debate has been developed between irony as a form of mention or as a form of pretence. Prosody also plays a key role in verbal irony, most of all when contextual references are ambiguous or insufficient, but to date very few studies have focused on the prosodic cues of irony. Two main tendencies seem to be adopted by speakers in ironic communication and languages seem to exploit the typical prosodic traits in different ways. The present paper aims to provide an overview of the different interpretation of irony in order to reinforce the idea that it is not only the expression of the opposite of what is intended, but it should be considered an attitude in the first place, that is communicated by means of a particular strategy used to protect the personal image of the speaker. We also intend to highlight the importance of prosody in this kind of indirect communication that is largely based on the relation between verbal and non-verbal level.

Parole chiave

Irony; attitude; sarcasm; teasing; verbal irony

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15162/1970-1861/1665


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