Rhetorics of Ironic Discourse of the Qur'an

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Shehda R.S. Abuisaac
Ahmed Arifin Sapar
Hans Volker Wolf


This paper first investigates types and functions of verbal irony in the Qur’an, and second extracts and interprets the multi-meanings and interpretations of all dissociative thoughts hidden behind speaker’s (s’) intention. Qualitative research method is used in interpreting the data samples. Speech Acts Theory of Irony by Henk(1990) is used to categorize all ironic texts; Allusional Pretence Theory by Nakamura (1995)  is used to help extract and interpret the dissociative thoughts resulting from irony interface with other figures of speech. The study shows that  in many cases irony as a prominent figure of speech interacts with metaphor, hyperbole, metonymy, understatement, parody, paradox, humor and satire. This paper claims  that syntactic (grammatical) variations and semantic interpretations play a major role in determining  the intended  meaning of the speaker’s utterance, which influences and therefore  conveys all other emotive meanings ( i.e. cultural, psychological, social and connotative meanings) resulting from the complex process of intersecting irony with other  figures of speech in one utterance. The study concludes that sarcasm is the most frequent type of irony found in the Qur’an, followed by parody, paradox and satire etc. The study shows that ironic utterances and expressions are open to a wide range of interpretations affected by situational and contextual environment as well as discourse parameters. This thus shows that irony is inter-linguistically, culturally and contextually diverse in its potential realizations and forms.


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Research Article (English)