When we utter something with the intention to communicate the opposite of what we are literally producing, assuming a mocking attitude towards our interlocutor, we are making use of irony. As far as we know, despite the vast literature on the status of irony markers (meta-communicative clues alerting the interlocutor that the utterance requires an ironic interpretation) in spoken languages, no research has been devoted at identifying irony markers in those languages that exploit the visual modality to convey meaning, i.e., sign languages. To start filling this gap, we administered to four Deaf native Italian Sign Language signers a Discourse Completion Task to obtain a semi-spontaneous elicitation of 10 minimal pairs of ironic/literal remarks expressing either compliments or criticisms. The analysis of this corpus revealed that: i) sentence meaning is expressed manually through the polarity of the evaluative lexical sign, ii) signer's attitude is expressed non-manually through mouth-corners up and down, iii) ironic remarks show a prolonged articulation, and iv) irony might be further signaled by non-obligatory non-manual and manual cues.

Signing something while meaning its opposite: the expression of irony in Italian Sign Language (LIS)

Lara Mantovan
;
2019

Abstract

When we utter something with the intention to communicate the opposite of what we are literally producing, assuming a mocking attitude towards our interlocutor, we are making use of irony. As far as we know, despite the vast literature on the status of irony markers (meta-communicative clues alerting the interlocutor that the utterance requires an ironic interpretation) in spoken languages, no research has been devoted at identifying irony markers in those languages that exploit the visual modality to convey meaning, i.e., sign languages. To start filling this gap, we administered to four Deaf native Italian Sign Language signers a Discourse Completion Task to obtain a semi-spontaneous elicitation of 10 minimal pairs of ironic/literal remarks expressing either compliments or criticisms. The analysis of this corpus revealed that: i) sentence meaning is expressed manually through the polarity of the evaluative lexical sign, ii) signer's attitude is expressed non-manually through mouth-corners up and down, iii) ironic remarks show a prolonged articulation, and iv) irony might be further signaled by non-obligatory non-manual and manual cues.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3708882
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