The Pragmatic Relevance of Ironical Utterances in Yoruba Interactive Discourse

Adegbite, Wale (1999)


In this paper we have maintained that ironical utterances are features of communicative interaction generally. They characterize conversations, interviews, drama dialogues, orations and stories. We thus observed the need to collect and study the occurrences of the utterances both within and outside literary studies. It was observed that ironical utterances performed referential, expressive, conative and phatic functions; did not perform poetic and metalinguistic functions. The utterances were also used to give remarks, scold, warn, tease, assure, tickle and greet. Thus, contrary to earlier impressions about what ironical utterances were used for, it was observed that these utterances were used to express both contemptuous and salutary intentions. It was observed that the utterances revealed a lot of cultural stereotypes among the Yoruba regarding the fear of the evil eye, sociability and social control and morality. They thus serve as a linguistic window through which attitudes and beliefs of the society can be viewed.