Research Seminars

Research seminars

Wednesday 30th November 2016

Irony and semantic prosody revisited

Dan McIntyre (University of Huddersfield)

This talk explore Louw’s (1993) claim that deviation from conventionalised semantic prosodies can be indicative of irony. Taking account of criticisms of the concept of semantic prosody, I analyse a short extract from a sketch from the 1960 satirical revue Beyond the Fringe. I argue that the satire in the sketch derives in part from the projected irony and that semantic prosody can be a useful tool in uncovering this, but not in the sense that Louw explains the concept. I argue that to fully reveal the source of the ironic effects, it is necessary to utilise a more nuanced approach to semantic prosody, as well as to consider how semantic prosodies clash with each other, and how concepts such as semantic preference and Gricean implicature act as further triggers of irony.