Sarcastic evaluation in mass media as a way of discrediting a person: Greta Thunberg case


linguistic praxeology
speech representation

How to Cite

Konyaeva, Y. M., & Samsonova, A. A. (2021). Sarcastic evaluation in mass media as a way of discrediting a person: Greta Thunberg case. The European Journal of Humour Research, 9(1), 74–86.


The article is devoted to the analysis of a sarcastic evaluation of a person, which leads to their discrediting in media texts. Sarcastic evaluation is considered in terms of linguistic praxeology: the language and compositional means of nomination, description, and actions are analyzed. In a media text, these means interact with the means of expressing the category of deviance and forming semantic nodes. The category of deviance can manifest itself, on the one hand, in exuberance or the absurd, while on the other, in simplification or insufficiency of the sign revelation. Also, specific sarcastic speech techniques are identified. They are based on the discrepancy of referent and illocutionary meanings in the person’s speech portrait. The study of Russian media discourse about Swedish eco-activist Greta Thunberg revealed the active use of linguistic means expressing sarcastic evaluation to demonstrate the opposing viewpoint in relation to the transmitted semantic position of “Other”. When the media represents Greta in the totality of her disadvantages, this enters into a polemic against those who support the ideas of this person. With the help of sarcasm, the media shows the absurdness and failure of these ideas. In this case, a sarcastic evaluation becomes an instrument of discrediting not only the person him/herself, but also his/her views and associates. Linguistic means of sarcastic evaluation are widely represented in discrediting media texts. The most important of them are means such as absurdity, hyperbole, alogism, simplification, etc.


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