“Lui ha detto che”. Un approccio filosofico alla pratica del discorso indiretto sarcastico / “He said that”. A philosophical approach to the practice of sarcastic indirect report

  • Caterina Scianna
Keywords: Indirect reporting, Irony, Context, ERPs, P600


Indirect reporting – reporting an expression in an indirect way – is a polyphonic micro narration, through which speaker B reports what speaker A said in a specific situation, prior to the time of reporting. The difference between direct and indirect report is that indirect report is a paraphrase – necessarily briefer – of the original expression. This is a potentially problematic aspect: in the reported expression there has been a transformation that could possibly eliminate elements of context, relevant for interpretation.

In this paper, I would investigate what happens when the reported expression is an expression that the original speakers proffered in an ironic way. Speaking in a non-serious way is a linguistic game with specifics rules. These sentences undergo contextual transformation – what Goffmann defines changes in footing – allowing the Hearer to understand speaker’s intentions, thus avoid mistaken such as interpreting the sentence in a literal way.

To report an expression that has a non-literal meaning (according to speaker’s intentions) is a difficult task (Levinson 1988). In this case, not only have words to be reported in the most faithful way possible, but also has the reporter, conforming to the non-serious speech injunction, to transmit to the hearer the original speaker’s intentional meaning, integrating his report with annotative aspects – clues necessary for interpretation – which usually are not reported.

This social practice runs the risk of wrong interpretations, in case the reporter produces a literal report, that doesn’t depart from the original sentence, but also in case that the report is a paraphrase showing the reported speaker’s sarcastic intentions.

I will show how pragmatic-theoretical investigation of indirect report of non-serious speech can be a further step in the development of the neuro-pragmatic framework. Inside this framework, it is possible to understand to what extent the results from investigation about elaboration of non literal meanings are in full agreement with the hypothesis, at this point confirmed, according to which, context helps, or better makes possible, unification of words in a coherent representation of discourse.


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How to Cite
Scianna, C. (1) ““Lui ha detto che”. Un approccio filosofico alla pratica del discorso indiretto sarcastico / ‘He said that’. A philosophical approach to the practice of sarcastic indirect report”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 00. Available at: http://www.rifl.unical.it/index.php/rifl/article/view/455 (Accessed: 23October2021).