Publication details [#15441]

Pálinkás, István. 2014. Blending and folk theory in an explanation of irony. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 12 (1) : 64–98.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


This paper casts a critical glance at the traditional pragmatic view of irony as well as the most definitive theories of the 1980s and 1990s, and shows that most of these conceptions are incomplete: they have a limited sphere of explanatory sway, as attested by the occurrence of instances of ironic speech not conforming to these models. In order to avoid the uncertainties induced by previous approaches, this paper takes a cognitive stance and treats irony as a mode of thought rather than as a figure of speech. As a cognitive-conceptual phenomenon, this study argues, irony cannot be explained in one single definition but rather it should be treated as a matter of folk psychology. The paper also concludes that the ironies discussed in this study are related by the process of conceptual integration. Through a discussion of three ironies, this paper introduces a different way of thinking about irony.