UNDERSTANDING HUMOUR AND IRONY IN POLITICAL DISCOURSE: PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH
1 Moscow State Linguistic University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2 People/s Friendship University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Attaining a mastery over understanding and using a foreign language includes the ability of grasping the implied meaning of the text, i.e. comprehending the speaker’s / author’s communicative intention. In this respect, grasping the nuances of humor is one of the most difficult aspects of foreign language acquisition, requiring pragmatic, discursive and sociocultural competency, as also testifying the learner’s language proficiency. Our research deals with humour and irony in political discourse and is based on authentic media and political texts which constitute an integral part of contemporary language teaching and learning process. The study of humour as a rhetorical device in political speeches has attracted considerable attention of scholars in interdisciplinary fields (e.g. Gornostaeva 2016, 2017, Kayam et al 2014, Săftoiu and Popescu 2014, Shilikhina 2018 and others) and shows that both political discourse and humour have their culture specific features which should be taken into consideration. Ignoring culturally bound differences related to humour and irony in political discourse can lead to dramatic and unfortunate consequences (the tragedy in Charlie Hebdo in 2015 is a vivid example). The present paper focuses on modern British and American political discourse and explores the role of irony as a strategy of persuasion in the speeches of politicians. Drawing on critical discourse analysis and constructivist approach we offer a methodology of teaching how best to understand and interpret irony in a foreign language classroom. Our methodology is aimed at involving the students in discourse analysis and linguistic research to enable them to become reflective and critical thinkers. The paper aims to contribute to a better and deeper understanding about the role of humour and irony in political discourse and their cultural specificities. The results of the study can be applied in second language learning as well as in educating public speakers.
Keywords: Political discourse, humour, irony, interpretation, persuasion, second language learning.