Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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It is claimed that there are no lexical items in English which are carries of ironic meanings (Myers 1978). Thai is, to determine whether an expression is ironic or not depends on context. Similar to English, most cases of verbal irony in Thai are context-dependent (Panpothong 1996). Yet Thai has expressions which always convey the opposite of literal meaning. In this paper, I refer to them as context-free ironies. Like dead metaphors, these expressions start life as conversational implicature before by-passing their literal meaning. Thus, they are appropriately viewed as conventionalized ironic implicatures. The paper consists of three sections. In the first section, the definition of verbal irony adopted in this paper shall be provided. In the second section, examples of context-free irony in Thai shall be presented. And in the last section, the context-free ironies shall be viewed on the basis of Grice's theory.

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