Publication details [#3591]

Colston, Herbert L. 1999. The pragmatic functions of rebuttal analogy. Metaphor and Symbol 14 (4) : 259–280. 22 pp.
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Article in journal
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Rebuttal analogy takes the form, "Doing X is like doing Y" (e.g., "Choosing to burn fossil fuels instead of developing solar power is like volunteering to urinate in your drinking water"). It has two pragmatic functions: an argument and social attack against X and its advocates (Whaley & Holloway, 1996). The analogy's base level of irony can be controlled by a speaker. This study investigates whether this variation in irony provides speakers with control over the degree to which these pragmatic functions are performed. Three experiments are reported that support this proposal about the effect of variation in the irony in rebuttal analogies. (Herbert Colston)