Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34890

Still Needed:

$40110

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Query Details


Query Subject:   A Little Bit of Irony
Author:   Lieselotte Brems
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Pragmatics

Query:   Hello Linguist list readers,

A study on expressions like "a bit of" has led me to uses where the downtoning quantifier semantics of "bit" ('only a small quantity of') have in fact reversed into the more or less emphatic meaning of 'rather a lot', as in examples such as "She is a bit of an old bag" in contexts where the speaker actually means that she is a really old bag. Both face work and irony seem to be at play here, but I cannot really get my head around the systematic strategies behind it.

I was wondering if there are some general formulations of such reversal strategies for ironic purposes available and known to fellow linguist list readers. Since this is a somewhat of a side road in my study, I am not really au fait with such literature.

Any comments or references are much appreciated.

Kind regards,
Lot Brems

K.U. Leuven
Departement Lingu=EFstiek
Assistent Engelse Taalkunde
Blijde-Inkomststraat 21
B-3000 Leuven
e-mail: Lieselotte.Brems@arts.kuleuven.ac.be
http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.html
LL Issue: 17.758
Date posted: 13-Mar-2006



Back

Sums main page