On the expression of verbal irony : pragmatic use of reduplication in Malay
Khuzaimah Mohamad Yuni
Date of Issue2016-03-08
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Studies of Malay reduplication have shown that it carries the semantic meaning of plurality, repetition and diversity. This paper examines reduplication in Malay from a pragmatic viewpoint. Parliamentary discourse from the 13th Malaysian parliament was used as a source of data. This paper demonstrates that reduplication contributes to the expression of verbal irony in conversational context. Irony is expressed in reduplicated constructions to function as reminders, an enforcement strategy and a co-operative device. These functions are analysed using the theory of politeness (Brown and Levinson, 1987). It is observed that reduplication can mitigate face-threats and protect the face of speakers. Verbal irony portrayed in reduplication becomes a socially motivated strategy for speakers to present themselves in a certain way in Parliament. These pragmatic uses of reduplication in Malay are comparable to Estonian and Russian reduplication; in all three languages reduplicated and non-reduplicated pairs are equally plausible, yet, their meaning and interpretation differs.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University