Subjectivity out of irony

Louis De Saussure, Peter Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Subjectivity plays an important role in how meaning is created and construed. It concerns the expression of self and the representation of a speaker's perspective or point of view in the interaction with somebody else. The subjectivity explored in this article concerns mainly one special form of self-awareness insofar as it is related to irony. The argument of this article will be carried out in three steps: We first will deal with the main linguistic theories regarding irony. This will lead us to the conclusion that irony - at least in some cases - involves a form of non-propositional knowledge that needs to be identified and captured for irony. In a second step, we will describe this type of non-propositional knowledge, in particular distinguishing it from propositional knowledge. The discussion of non-propositional knowledge as one marker of subjectivity will then lead us to discuss irony - beyond its semantic utterances - as a personal disposition. When we call utterances ironic we are referring to them as linguistic constructs and we deal with the respective content of their declarative statements, technically speaking, the proposition. In this contribution we are interested in showing how ironic utterances lead back to a personal disposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-416
Number of pages20
Issue number173
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Deixis
  • Intentionality
  • Interpersoinal communication
  • Irony
  • Sperber and Wilson
  • Subjectivity


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