HUMOUR AND IRONY IN MODERN POLITICAL DISCOURSE
Anna Gornostaeva1, Maria Semenovskaya2
1Dr., Moscow State Linguistic University, RUSSIA, email@example.com
2Ms., Moscow State Linguistic University, RUSSIA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Political discourse has recently been the center of attention of many academics as well as laymen, which is explained by the strenuous international situation in the world. According to Critical Discourse Analysis, politicians use political language as a means of gaining power (Van Dijk, 2009) through different strategies, the main of which are persuasion and manipulation. To achieve this aim different expressive means are used. This article examines humour and irony as a way to influence the audience and contribute to the effect of the politician’s speech. The topic of irony and humour in politics has attracted the attention of scholars and rhetors for a long time. Yet, it still remains a debatable question whether it is appropriate for a speaker to use humour and irony in political speech and what effect it has on the audience. Modern authors characterize humour and irony as “interpersonal weapons” (Arroyo, 2010) and as devices which help to cope with different difficult scenarios, like pre-election campaign or interviews (O’Connell, Kowal, 2005). In this study the notions of humour and irony are explored; the authentic material based on the speeches of British and American politicians is analyzed to draw the conclusion that humour and irony are important and powerful tools in the speeches of skillful politicians. The paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of irony and humour in modern political discourse. The results of the study can be used in educating public speakers and pose a challenge for the further development of the theory of political discourse.
Keywords: humour, irony, political discourse, strategy, persuasion, manipulation.
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