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

New from Oxford University Press!


Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology

Edited by Jacques Durand, Ulrike Gut, and Gjert Kristoffersen

Offers the first detailed examination of corpus phonology and serves as a practical guide for researchers interested in compiling or using phonological corpora

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History

By Bernard Spolsky

A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.

New from Brill!


Indo-European Linguistics

New Open Access journal on Indo-European Linguistics is now available!

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
LL Issue: 17.758
Date posted: 13-Mar-2006


Sums main page