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StanceSociolinguistic Perspectives$
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Alexandra Jaffe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331646

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331646.001.0001

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Moral Irony and Moral Personhood in Sakapultek Discourse and Culture

Moral Irony and Moral Personhood in Sakapultek Discourse and Culture

Chapter:
(p.92) 5 Moral Irony and Moral Personhood in Sakapultek Discourse and Culture
Source:
Stance
Author(s):

Robin Shoaps

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331646.003.0005

This chapter presents an ethnographically sensitive analysis of irony in Sakapultek Maya. It is argued that Sakapultek irony is an indirect stancetaking resource that plays a key role in moral discourse. Examples from naturally occurring talk are analyzed to illustrate how irony reflects, contests, and reproduces Sakapultek notions of personhood. Thus, due to their primary interactional function, the Sakapultek constructions are dubbed “moral irony.” The morpho-syntactic composition and semiotic processes involved in moral irony are described, the latter making use of Goffman's distinction between author, animator, and principal as dimensions of the speaker role. The semiotic function of Sakapultek moral irony is unattested in analyses of irony in the linguistics literature. It is contrasted with published examples of irony from Anglo-American discourse in order to offer a general means by which ironic expressions can be subcategorized based on the target of the irony and the nature of evaluative work that they do.

Keywords:   irony, indirection, stance, evaluation, moral discourse, personhood, Sakapultek Maya

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