Article
Diacronia 10, November 7, 2019, A144 (1–17)https://doi.org/10.17684/i10A144en

Irony, humour and culture in George Mikes’ How to Be a Brit: relevance-theoretical perspectives

María Angeles Ruiz-MonevaORCID

Affiliations

Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, University of Zaragoza, 12 Calle de Pedro Cerbuna, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain

History

Received August 5, 2019
Accepted September 16, 2019
Published November 7, 2019

Key words

pragmatics
rhetoric
stylistics

Abstract

This paper aims to analyse the role played by humour and irony in the interpretation of George Mikes’ How to Be a Brit. It will be contended that these resources are important for the reader to understand and enjoy the meaning intended to be communicated by the author. Mikes must have sought to show the inconsistencies and incongruities of the British society and culture, under the perspective of an ‘alien’, of an outsider. Therefore, irony and humour become stylistic resources that guide the reader’s interpretation of the text. The framework applied will be relevance theory, a pragmatic approach which highlights the inferential processes involved in the understanding of a message. However, its views on culture have often been neglected or misunderstood.

This paper will therefore seek to trace whether relevance theory as a whole, and concretely, its proposals concerning humour, irony and culture can help the reader to cope with the meaning of the work under analysis. It will be contended that a proper balance between the reader’s inferential derivation of the meaning conveyed by the speaker and his freedom to reach his own conclusions (which are in any case constrained by the text) helps to a better understanding and interpretation of the text.

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    Text:Ruiz-Moneva, M. A. (2019). Irony, humour and culture in George Mikes’ How to Be a Brit: relevance-theoretical perspectives, Diacronia 10 (November 7), A144 (1–17), https://doi.org/10.17684/i10A144en
    BibTeX:@ARTICLE{angeles ruiz-moneva2019,
     author = {María Angeles Ruiz-Moneva},
     title = {Irony, humour and culture in George Mikes’ How to Be a Brit: relevance-theoretical perspectives},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2019},
     month = {November},
     number = {10},
     eid = {A144},
     doi = {https://doi.org/10.17684/i10A144en},
     pages = "(1–17)",
     url = {http://www.diacronia.ro/journal/issue/10/A144/en}
    }

Copyright

© 2019 The Authors. Publishing rights belong to the Journal. The article is freely accessible under the terms and conditions of the CC-BY Open Access licence.

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