Курсовая работа "Facilities of expression of irony"

Facilities of expression of irony
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Essence of humour is and his function. Language and the types, techniques and ways of conveying humourous effect in its various expressions. Phenomena as irony, sarcasm, satire. Difference of irony from other terms, united under the umbrella of humour.

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Chapter I

Term discrimination:

Irony and its interrelated concepts

1.1 Irony

1.2 Irony and Satire

1.3 Irony and Sarcasm

1.4 Irony and Humour

Chapter II

Linguostylistic means of expression of Irony


The gentleman in question sat down in front of his open fire, put his feet up and read the book right through with a continually darkening face. When he had finished, he stood up and said:

'Downright impertinence.'

And threw the book into the fire.

He was a noble and patriotic spirit and he did me a great deal of good. I wished there had been more like him in England. But I could never find another. (“How to be an alien” by George Mikes)

These words could confuse anyone who'll read them here, out of context. Actually, every writer will be discouraged having learnt that his creation was thrown into fire. But if one knows that the author is satisfied with the reaction from his caricature book of the English character, that he expected complaints from the real Englishman, he'll realize the humorous effect of the extract.

Many theories exist about what humour is and what social function it serves. Nevertheless, the primary concern of this work is language and we are to find out the types, techniques, devices and ways of conveying humourous effect in its various expressions. There is no such lexical device as humour in the language. However, analyzing the literary work we can distinguish such phenomena as Irony, Sarcasm, Satire and some others. The study of humor, irony, and other playful forms is plagued by definitional problems. Often, authors will expend significant energy explaining and justifying complex terminological distinctions that are bound to crumble at the first close examination. The impossibility of defining the subcategories of a broad class of humorous phenomena has been established for discussion and review of the literature. Lexicographic studies have shown that the semantic field of what has been broadly defined as “humor” is very rich in closely related, barely distinguishable terms. Those involved in the academic study of humor have decided to adopt the generic term humor as an umbrella term encompassing programmatically all the semantic field of humor and humorous forms. Irony is generally seen as distinct from humor, but the same definitional problems exist with its close neighbor, sarcasm. Irony would however fall under the technical sense of “humor.”

While there clearly exists humor that is not ironical and there are ironies that are not perceived as funny, the issue is not as simple as the intersection of two distinct sets of facts.

Whereas, as we have just cleared up, humour can be of different meanings, depending on the context and the situation, in this work I propose to examine Irony in comparison with other literary term used to ridicule or make fun of a situation.

Consequently, the purpose of this research is to find out what is irony, how it is distinguished from other terms, united under the umbrella of humour, and how it is manifested in the text.

humour irony sarcasm satire

Chapter I

Term discrimination:

Irony and its interrelated concepts.

1.1 Irony

Taking its name from the Greek eironeia (dissimulation), irony consists of purporting a meaning of an utterance or a situation that is different, often opposite, to the literal one. [Maike Oergel, Encyclopaedia Of German Literature]

Irony is a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result. [The New Oxford English Dictionary]

Irony the SD based on contrary concepts, a stylistic device also based on the simultaneous realization of two logical meanings - dictionary and contextual, but the two meanings stand in opposition to each other. [Galperin I. R., 2009:146]

Often times there is a bit of confusion over what is ironic and what is merely coincidental. The two ideas can be easily confused, but there is however, a very distinct difference between what is ironic and what is merely good or bad luck.

1.1.1 Types of Irony

Irony takes on four main forms, all of which have more very well defined characteristics.

Four main types are verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational and Socratic (which is considered to be additional) irony.

Let us now proceed with a detailed analysis of the ontology, structure and functions of these types of irony

Verbal Irony

You are arguing with your mother, who reprimands you for being "smart." Your reply is a sarcastic, "If you think I am smart, then why won't you let me make some smart decisions?"

You hear verbal irony in conversations all the time. The simple comment, "Oh Great" after something rotten happens is verbal irony. Verbal irony is by far the most accessible, far-reaching, and heavily utilized form of irony (and also of sarcastic humor) because it is its simplest form - it just involves the equation of two people talking to one another (whereas other forms of irony require a "third" party, generally an audience of some sort to interpret that scenarios as ironic). Of course, as commonplace these days as it may be, verbal irony is an art form to many, requiring the most studied and theatrical of deliveries to achieve peak humorous affect and/or poignancy. With verbal irony, timing is everything. If an ironic comment comes too late or too early in a conversation, is spoken without the correct tone or in an inappropriate circumstance, it may be taken as offensive, or simply as confusing. If, for example a person steps in big puddle of water by mistake, and his/her friend smiles kindly, starts to help his friend up and remarks, "well now, don't you have all the luck!" The comment will probably be taken as funny and ironic and the two will laugh the mishap off. If however, the friend scoffs at his wet, fallen friend, laughs, and says "HA LUCKY YOU!" and yells it really loudly and obnoxiously, it may not be as funny. Verbal irony in its essence requires an understanding of circumstance, attitude, and most importantly, timing.

Situational Irony

You stay up all night studying for a test. When you go to class, you discover the test is not until the next day.

Situational irony results from recognizing the oddness or unfairness of a given situation, be it positive or negative. Even though a person typically cannot justifiably explain this unfairness logically, the coincidental nature of the situation is still very obvious to those evaluating it. For example, if the president of Microsoft, Bill Gates, were to win a contest whose grand prize was a computer system, the irony would be situational because such a circumstance would appear ridiculous or "funny" for a number of reasons. Bill Gates doesn't need a computer, he runs the world's largest software company, and he's filthy rich, so winning a computer seems silly and "ironic". This list of half-justified reasons for the oddness of the situation could go on and on but on a very basic level of reasoning all these reasons does really adds up. All can be logically rebutted. Bill Gates has just as much chance of winning a contest like that as anyone else who entered. A computer is a great prize to wins, etc etc. The true "oddness" cannot be explained logically, even though everyone would find that particular situation weird, funny, and "ironic". This sense of being "unfair" or "unfortunate" is a trademark of situational irony. The unusual nature of the circumstances are obvious to everyone and yet, they are not wholly clear when you try to explicate them. Typically the justification for situational irony boils down to someone declaring, "Well, it just is!"

Socratic Irony

Socratic irony can be seen as a tactical maneuver of sorts. It's most practical iteration is in the "Socratic method" of teaching, which has been adopted by many prestigious universities throughout the world as a method of student-facilitated education. The professor, the supposed possessor of knowledge, never answers questions, nor does he out-rightly explain the concepts required to understand the course material, but rather poses questions to his students that revolves around the course material, and as such, the students are expected to have arrived in class after having studied the required reading to be able to provide the information to others in their class. The feigned "ignorance" on the part of the professor becomes a means to an end. The class gains the necessary information to learn the course material. On the other hand, Socratic irony can be used for far less noble means than intellectual edification. One sees Socratic irony used quite often to get one's way, or to avoid discussing an uncomfortable topic. Ignorance is bliss so they say, and sometimes pretending that you don't have information can give you the upper hand in an argument, or it can be your get out of jail free card (E.G. "Well gee, I have no idea who put the empty milk carton back in the refrigerator"). There are, however, common and beneficent w...