Despite valuable studies into the uses/functions of sarcasm, no previous investigation
has focused on the semantics of “sarcasm” as an emic metapragmatic category. We provide a contrastive lexical study of English and Danish using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach. We find that the English noun sarcasm has been undergoing semantic innovation and is now polysemous, as is its corresponding adjective. Roughly, older sarcasm1 expresses a positive message with an obvious negative intention, while newer sarcasm2 expresses a negative message with the aim of being amusing. For Danish, sarkasme is shown to closely align with sarcasm1, but semantic innovation has been happening in Danish too. A new expression sarkastisk humor overlaps with sarcasm2 but is tailored to fit into Danish humor discourses. The study sheds light on insider understandings and metapragmatic discourses in Anglo and Danish linguacultures. There are cautionary implications for the use of “sarcasm” as a second-order concept.
Drawing on cross-cultural pragmatics, this paper examines an intercultural interaction in French between a Finn and two French people, during which meta-pragmatic comments related to finger pointing by the Finn occurred. This language-anchored, bottom-up study combined multiple methods: the interaction was transcribed using multimodal conversation analysis, evaluated by Finnish and French informants through a questionnaire, and a post-interaction follow-up interview was conducted with the original Finnish interactant. Although the results reveal a discursive dispute related to finger pointing, the L2 speaker did not fully understand the ‘problem’ with her behaviour. A cross-cultural difference appeared as finger pointing in general was evaluated more negatively by French informants than by Finnish informants. This study emphasises the importance of examining multimodality in cross-cultural pragmatics and the usefulness of a multi-method approach to allow the voices of both cultural insiders and outsiders to be heard.
Translational science describes a process of transferring basic science into applied science. While it carries the term “translation” in its name, the original concept of translation refers to a process of re-contextualisation between languages. In this paper, we try to find out which differences and similarities exist between translating between languages and translating in science. When using this analogy, it becomes evident that applying concepts with a long tradition in translation between languages to translation in science can help structure the path from basic research to applied innovation, e.g. in the area of biomedical science, where the path from preclinical research to novel therapeutics can bring benefit to patients. This means that the methodologies developed for translation between languages can themselves be re-contextualised into another domain.
Like many other languages, in Finnish the alternative conjunction vai (‘or’) can be used in a turn-final position without the presence of an (explicit) alternative. This article discusses the contribution of turn-final vai ‘or’ in requests for confirmation. It argues that there are two main contexts of use. The forward-looking vai-turn seeks confirmation for something that is not based on the previous talk. In this case, vai marks the content of the question as merely one possible alternative. In backward-looking use, the vai-turn offers an interpretation of something that was implied in the previous talk and typically contrasts with a previously held, alternative assumption. The former type enables a (dis)confirmation with elaboration, whereas the latter type makes relevant a (dis)confirmation with minimal specification/explanation. The study contributes to the cross-linguistic research on turn-final particles and specifically, the particle ‘or’.
In Yus (2022a, 2022b), a corpus of humorous interactions on the messaging app WhatsApp was analysed, aiming to isolate their recurrent turn-taking variations. The analysis yielded several patterns depending on the quality of the first turn in the messaging conversation: (a) humorous text, (b) humorous text plus emoji, (c) non-humorous text, (d) non-humorous text plus emoji, (e) image, (f) image plus humorous text; (g) image plus non-humorous text; and (h) video. The objective of the present study is to compare these humorous interactions with those carried out in a different cultural environment (China), and a different messaging application (WeChat). The analysis will first focus on the (dis)similarities in the “interface affordances” of these two applications and then will address the ways in which the users from these cultures (Spain, China) carry out their humorous messaging interactions.