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Helga Kotthoff
Irony, Quotation, and Other Forms of Staged Intertextuality

Double or Contrastive Perspectivation in Conversation

In this article I apply concepts of perspectivation (Graumann 1989, 1993, Kallmeyer/ Keim 1996, Sandig 1996), intertextuality and polyphonic voicing (Bakhtin 1981) to conversational irony, parody, and quotation.

The concepts of perspectivation and polyphonic voicing can help to distinguish various forms of doubly-voiced speech from one another, basically forms of citation and irony. There is a critical debate over the 'mention-approach to irony' of Sperber & Wilson (1981) and Wilson & Sperber (1992), who do not satisfactorily distinguish between playful quotation and irony.

'Staged intertextuality' is proposed here as a higher-order concept for various ways of animating voices (in the sense of Goffman 1981). Many discourse analysts (Tannen 1984, Sperber & Wilson 1981, Wilson & Sperber 1992, Barbe 1995) understand quite diverse types of 'staged intertextuality' as irony, an approach which will be criticized here.

Irony research has dealt to a much greater extent with what differentiates ironic from serious utterances than with what differentiates ironic from parodying or quoting activities. I mainly intend to clarify one distinction in this field of staged intertextuality: that between consonant and dissonant processing of two simultaneous voices.

I view not only irony, but also many forms of citation and parody as two-voiced or doubly perspectivized speech. Only irony is considered as a type of doubly-voiced speech that transmits a cleft of evaluative perspectives as its main message.

With Giora (1995) I assume that an ironic utterance has two meaning levels which must be processed: the said and the implicated. We will deal with the phenomenal area of multiple voicing on the basis of natural discourse data which contain sequences of ironic utterances and responses.

Irony research has often worked with artificial examples of isolated ironic utterances without response, which does not do justice to the complexity and achievement of conversational irony in context.

I aim at connecting conversation analysis, ethnography and cognition theory.

 Published as:
Kotthoff, Helga (2002). Irony, quotation, and other forms of staged intertextuality. Double or contrastive perspectivation in conversation. In: Carl F. Graumann & Werner Kallmeyer, eds., Perspective and Perspectivation in Discourse. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 201-233.



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