Two layers of overt untruthfulness
When irony meets metaphor, hyperbole or meiosis
This philosophical-pragmatic paper discusses several forms of irony which rest on other figures of speech contingent on overt untruthfulness, namely the figures arising as a result of flouting the first maxim of Quality. It is argued that an ironic implicature may be piggybacked on another implicature, called “as if implicature”, originating from flouting the first maxim of Quality occasioned by metaphor. Metaphorical irony, which is subject to the irony-after-metaphor order of interpretation, exhibits a number of manifestations depending on the nature and scope of irony, and the scope of the subordinate metaphor. On the other hand, rather than giving rise to an as if implicature distinct from the irony-based one, hyperbole and meiosis, which are inherently evaluative, most typically overlap with ironically evaluative expressions, promoting meiotic and hyperbolic irony, frequently (wrongly, as will be claimed here) considered by researchers to rely on flouting Quantity maxims. However, cases of independent use of hyperbole or meiosis in ironic environment are also possible. Such invite two levels of untruthfulness and two implicatures.
Keywords: overt untruthfulness, hyperbolic irony, meiotic irony, metaphorical irony, flouting, evaluative implicature, first maxim of Quality, irony
Published online: 20 July 2017
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