There are innumerable definitions of irony, but all of them have in common the following notions: * the opposition of the word’s contextual meaning to its general meaning * mockery as the major goal of irony
Irony is… * (from Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία (eirōneía) meaning “dissimulation, feigned ignorance”) a trope based on direct opposition of the meaning to the sense. (J.M. Skrebnev) * a stylistic device in which the contextual evaluative meaning of a word is directly opposite to its dictionary meaning. (V.A. Kuharenko) * a way to express mockery by means of using the word in the meaning that is directly opposite to its principal meaning. (I.V. Arnold)
The semantic essence of irony consists in …show more content…
A few examples: That’s a pretty kettle of fish! (Хорошенькое дельце! Весёленькая история!) A fine friend you are! (Хорош друг, нечего сказать! Ничего себе, удружил!)
Both in English and Russian such utterances can only be used in an unfavourable, never in a favourable, sense.
To the second variety we can refer the overwhelming majority of utterances which can be understood either literally, or ironically, especially when we deal with written texts. We cannot always say if the speaker serious or ironical when he, for example, says: But of course we know, he’s a rich man, a millionaire. In oral speech irony is often highlighted by emphatic intonation. In writing we can identify irony when we see inverted commas or italics. More often, however, the general situation makes us guess the real viewpoint of the speaker. This proves that irony doesn’t exist outside the context, which varies from the minimal – a word combination, as in J. Steinbeck’s “She turned with the sweet smile of an alligator,” – to the context of a whole book. 4. The use of irony
On the whole, irony is used with the aim of critical evaluation of the thing spoken about. The general scheme of this variety is