The next seminar of the Northumbria Language and Linguistics Research Seminar Series will take place on Wednesday 26th April at 12:00 in Lipman 121.

The speaker is Professor Paul Simpson from the University of Liverpool and his talk will be on ‘Irony and its consequences in the public sphere‘ (there’s an abstract below)

The seminar will be delivered in a hybrid format so join us in person or online (more info on each below).

All welcome! 

You can find directions to the campus and a campus map here:

Please email Rola Naeb for the link to join online:

Paul is a world-leading researcher in stylistics and linguistics, with a large number of influential projects and publications on a wide range of areas, including pragmatics, humour, satire, critical linguistics and English Language pedagogy. He has been Chair of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) and held a number of important editorships and role on editorial boards. His textbook Stylistics: A Coursebook (second edition, 2014) is very popular, including at Northumbria.

We are very much looking forward to his talk!

Title: Irony and its consequences in the public sphere


This talk explores the social, political and legal consequences of irony usage. It focuses on irony in the ‘public sphere’ as opposed to irony found in more intimate or private interchanges between individual speakers. Following an overview of some influential contemporary linguistic-pragmatic models of irony, the talk aims to demonstrate how irony in more public communicative spaces becomes transformed and how this transformation is negotiated strategically by different actors such as politicians, the media and, especially, the legal system.

Three interlocking distinctions inform the talk: that between the powerful and the less powerful, that between the private and public spheres, and that between irony and ‘nonirony’. With these distinctions at the fore, authentic instances of irony are analysed, looking at how irony has been debated or contested and at the outcomes of these debates and contests for real people. Highlighting a gap in the coverage of Critical Discourse Analysis, the presentation makes a case for the serious consideration of irony in the analysis of discourse, power and ideology. 

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