Chapter published in:Figurative Language – Intersubjectivity and Usage
Edited by Augusto Soares da Silva
[Figurative Thought and Language 11] 2021
► pp. 139–174
Metaphor and irony
Messy when mixed
We address metaphor/irony mixing, as in ironic “What a rocket!” about a very slow train. We agree that the final meaning is often better viewed as resting ironically on metaphorical meaning (the train is very fast) than metaphorically resting on ironic meaning (the train is far from being a [literal] rocket). However, we discover that matters are much messier than previously discussed. The reverse meaning dependence can be supported; it can sometimes be preferable; and there is parallel mixing, with irony and metaphor mutually independent. Also, even when hearers do metaphoric processing mostly before ironic processing, they can benefit from first of all detecting the utterance’s ironicity. This in turn suggests metaphor processing that involves contrast-based, as well as similarity-based, mappings.
Keywords: irony, metaphor, mixtures of figures of speech, serial mixing, parallel mixing, contrast in figures of speech, meaning composition, cognitive processing, attitudes in irony, affective processing
Published online: 19 May 2021
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