24.361, Diss: Cognitive Science/ Discourse Analysis/ Philosophy of Language/ Pragmatics: Kapogianni: ' Irony and the Literal Versus Nonliteral Distinction...'

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LINGUIST List: Vol-24-361. Mon Jan 21 2013. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 24.361, Diss: Cognitive Science/ Discourse Analysis/ Philosophy of Language/ Pragmatics: Kapogianni: ' Irony and the Literal Versus Nonliteral Distinction...'

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Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 11:56:16
From: Eleni Kapogianni [kapogiane322 at yahoo.co.uk]
Subject: Irony and the Literal Versus Nonliteral Distinction: A typological approach with focus on ironic implicature strength

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Institution: Cambridge University 
Program: PhD in Linguistics 
Dissertation Status: Completed 
Degree Date: 2012 

Author: Eleni Kapogianni

Dissertation Title: Irony and the Literal Versus Nonliteral Distinction: A
typological approach with focus on ironic implicature
strength 

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                     Discourse Analysis
                     Philosophy of Language
                     Pragmatics
                     Semantics


Dissertation Director(s):
Napoleon Katsos
Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis approaches the phenomenon of verbal irony from a definitional and 
typological perspective, with the aim of detecting the principal factors that affect 
the derivation and strength of ironic meaning. 

A preliminary step for this analysis is the treatment of the definitional problem of 
verbal irony, achieved through the postulation of a set of necessary and jointly 
sufficient conditions for the presence of the phenomenon. Subsequently, with 
evidence from the study of a wide array of irony strategies, two main types of the 
phenomenon are distinguished on the basis of the relationship between the 
expressed and the intended meaning of the ironic utterance. The proposed irony 
types are examined in relation to different factors that may affect the strength of 
the ironic implicature, i.e. the level of confidence of the hearers about an ironic 
interpretation of the utterance and the difficulty by which the speaker can cancel 
(in the Gricean notion of explicit cancellability – Grice 1975) this interpretation. 
Five main factors are examined both theoretically and experimentally: derivation 
syllogism, necessary assumptions, context dependence, co-textual 
reinforcement, and the use of discourse frameworks (particularly the 
humorous/ironic framework).

The results of this examination show that the influence of different factors of 
strength on the derivation of the two main irony types and their subtypes 
correlates with the observation of significant differences in (ironic) implicature 
strength. These results lead to the consideration of factors of implicature strength 
as a helpful means of categorisation of inferential meaning, which cuts across 
the literal-nonliteral divide, being able to provide distinctions within levels of 
meaning that had so far been considered rather unified.






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