irony, pun, zeugma, malapropism

Мейрамгуль Мурат 2014 M03 9

Last week we talked about SDs with comic effect: irony, pun, zeugma and malapropism. Irony- is a figure of speech by means of which a word or words express the direct opposite of what their meanings...

Last week we talked about SDs with comic effect: irony, pun, zeugma and malapropism.

Irony- is a figure of speech by means of which a word or words express the direct opposite of what their meanings denote. For example: We often say "How clever!" when a person says or does something foolish.

Examples of Irony from Literature

Example #1

We come across the following lines in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Act I, Scene V.

“Go ask his name: if he be married.
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”  

Juliet commands her nurse to find out who Romeo was and says if he were married, then her wedding bed would be her grave. It is a verbal irony because the audience knows that she is going to die on her wedding bed.

Example #2

Shakespeare employs this verbal irony in “Julius Caesar” Act I, Scene II,

CASSIUS: “‘tis true this god did shake”  

Cassius, despite knowing the mortal flaws of Caesar, calls him “this god”.

Example #3

In the Greek drama “Oedipus Rex” written by “Sophocles”,

“Upon the murderer I invoke this curse – whether he is one man and all unknown,
Or one of many – may he wear out his life in misery to miserable doom!”  

The above lines are an illustration of verbal and dramatic irony. It was predicted that a man guilty of killing his father and marrying his own mother has brought curse on the city and its people. In the above-mentioned lines, Oedipus curses the man who is the cause of curse on his city. He is ignorant of the fact that he himself is that man and he is cursing himself. The audience, on the other hand, knows the situation.

Example #4

Irony examples are not only found in stage plays but in poems too. In his poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Coleridge wrote:

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”  

In the above stated lines, the ship, blown by the south wind, is stranded in the uncharted sea. Ironically, there is water everywhere but they do not have a single drop of water to drink.

Function of Irony

Like all other figures of speech, Irony brings about some added meanings to a situation. Ironical statements and situations in literature develop readers’ interest. Irony makes a work of literature more intriguing and forces the readers to use their imagination and comprehend the underlying meanings of the texts. Moreover, real life is full of ironical expressions and situations. Therefore, the use of irony brings a work of literature closer to the life.

I used the site :

Zeugma is a SD, typical of English, on which one word is used in relation to two or more , other words in a different sense: "...a lively boarding house with a billiard table and low prices".

Pun , quibble,paronomasia -a play on words- the use of two different applications/meanings, or the use of two different words, which are pronounsed alike.

It is difficult to tell zeugma from pun. The only reliable distinction is a structural one: Zeugma is the realization of two meanings with the help of a verb. Pun is more independent: it depends on the context.

Malapropism (also called a Dogberryism) is the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance.

An example is Yogi Berra's statement: "Texas has a lot of electrical votes," rather than "electoral votes".

Bushisms are unconventional words, phrases, pronunciations,malapropisms , and semantic or linguistic errors that often occur in the public speaking of former President of the United States George W. Bush and of his father, former president George H. W. Bush.

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What SD of them do you use in your speech more often?
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