Oct 23
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Investigating Irony in the Greek Parliament

When: Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 13:30

Where: Faculty Lounge

Organized by: English Department

Villy Tsakona
Democritus University of Thrace

Villy Tsakona is Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics and Discourse Analysis in the Department of Education Sciences in Early Childhood, at the Democritus University of Thrace. Her research interests involve: humor research; narrative, political, and media discourse analysis; literacy theories and applications. She has co-edited Studies in Political Humor: In between Political Critique and Public Entertainment with Diana Popa (Benjamins, 2011), co-authored The Narrative Construction of Identities in Critical Education with Argiris Archakis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and authored The Sociolinguistics of Humor: Theory, Functions, and Teaching (Grigoris Publications 2013; in Greek).

Personal webpage: http://www.cultureconcept.gr/villy.tsakona


Taking into account recent pragmatic and sociolinguistic approaches to irony, my presentation will consider irony as a multifunctional discursive resource (Barbe 1995, Attardo 2000). Focusing on data coming from the Greek parliament, it seems that Greek parliamentarians employ irony to fulfill their institutional roles and to negotiate verbal rules of conduct in highly institutionalized and confrontational debates. More specifically, the analysis of the data will show that, besides criticism, parliamentary irony is used to sharpen attacks against the Opposition, to elicit vivid reactions from the audience and disaffiliate from, or align with, participants, to restore parliamentary order, and to establish cohesive ties between successive parliamentary speeches (Tsakona 2011; cf. Partington 2006, Nuolijärvi & Tiittula 2011). At the same time, the recorded reactions to irony coming from parliamentarians attending the debates reveal that irony is considered a common and ‘legitimate’ discursive practice in the Greek parliament and is not negatively evaluated by its members.

References cited

Attardo, S. 2000. Irony as relevant inappropriateness. Journal of Pragmatics 32 (6), 793-826.
Barbe, K. 1995. Irony in context. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Nuolijärvi, P. & Tiittula, L. 2011. Irony in political television debates. Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2), 572-587.
Partington, A. 2006. The Linguistics of Laughter. A Corpus-Assisted Study of Laughter-Talk. London: Routledge.
Tsakona, V. 2011. Irony beyond criticism: Evidence from Greek parliamentary discourse. Pragmatics and Society 2 (1), 57-86.