Publication details [#8813]

Pexman, Penny M., Todd R. Ferretti and Albert N. Katz. 2000. Discourse factors that influence online reading of metaphor and irony. Discourse Processes 29 (3) : 201–222. 22 pp.
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Statements such as "children are precious gems" can be interpreted as either a metaphor (children are valuable) or as a sarcastic comment on the metaphor (children are a burden). Katz and Pexman (1997) identified several constraints that biased readers toward either the metaphorical or the sarcastic-ironic interpretation: nature (occupation) of the person making the statement, whether the statement was counterfactual to information in the preceding discourse context, and whether the root metaphor instantiated in the statement was familiar. This experiment investigated whether these constraints would be used online during normal reading. In a moving window reading task, results showed that readers used the constraints early in processing the target statement and took longer to resolve the ironic (relative to the metaphorical) sense of the target statement. Also, data from the online reading measures were strongly correlated with ratings and memory data obtained by Katz and Pexman. (LLBA 2001, vol. 35, n. 1)