Edited by Villy Tsakona and Jan Chovanec
[Topics in Humor Research 7] 2018
► pp. 57–76
Chapter 3. Discourse markers as guides to understanding spontaneous humor and irony
The paper addresses the issue of categorizing and interpreting utterances as either serious or non-serious in spontaneous discourse. The research is based on real-life dialogues and samples of computer-mediated interactions in which discourse participants need to discuss the mode of communication due to unexpected insincerity, use of jokes, humorous or ironic remarks in otherwise earnest and sincere interactions. In this context, the aim of the paper is twofold: firstly, it shows how the mode of communication can be negotiated with the help of discourse markers and, secondly, it demonstrates multiple functions of these markers in dialogue. By explicating the speaker’s intention, these phrases guide the process of understanding and indicate how the meaning of the utterance can be integrated in discourse. Discourse markers can also function as signals of social meaning, for example, as signals of implicit conflict or competition.
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