Edited by Marta Dynel
[Review of Cognitive Linguistics 16:1] 2018
► pp. 48–71
Perceptual opposites and the modulation of contrast in irony
This paper proposes a new way of analyzing the contrast between an ironic comment and the referent context by focusing on the structure of the dimension which the contrast belongs to. This new approach was stimulated by previous experimental studies demonstrating that dimensions are perceptually made up of two opposite poles and an intermediate region consisting either of point or range properties. Applying this schema it became clear that, on the one hand what previous evidence-based literature mostly focuses on is the idea that for an ironic meaning to be detected there must be a contrast between two poles or within a pole; on the other hand, that there is room for new investigations concerning whether it is possible to make ironic comments containing poles to refer to intermediate situations (i.e. situations perceived as neither one pole nor the other) or, vice versa, to make ironic comments containing intermediates to refer to polarized situations.