The pragmatics of irony in modern political discourse (based on the English and Russian languages)


The article analyzes the place and role of irony in modern political discourse. The aim of the article is to compare Russian and English political discourse in terms of the use of irony in accordance with the authorial communicative intention, and to determine their common characteristics. The research is based on recent speeches of Russian, British, and American politicians. The article shows that the frequency and concentration of irony is largely determined by the type of the political genre. The research identifies the main functions of irony, which correspond to its strategies in political discourse, such as: aggression, manipulation, and entertainment. The functions of irony are represented as pairs of opposites, which do not contradict each other, but coexist: attack – defense, rapprochement–distancing, self-deprecation – self-overestimation. The conclusion is drawn about irony being an integral part of a successful leader’s image, which holds true both for Russian and English culture. The analysis of politicians' speeches shows that those speakers, who often resort to irony, most effectively influence the audience.

Key words: 

irony; political discourse; genre; functions; strategies.

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