Embedding Irony and the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction


Authors
Mihaela Popa-Wyatt
University of Birmingham
Abstract
This paper argues that we need to re-think the semantics/pragmatics distinction in the light of new evidence from embedding of irony. This raises a new version of the old problem of ‘embedded implicatures’. I argue that embedded irony isn’t fully explained by solutions proposed for other embedded implicatures. I first consider two strategies: weak pragmatics and strong pragmatics. These explain embedded irony as truth-conditional content. However, by trying to shoehorn irony into said-content, they raise problems of their own. I conclude by considering how a modified Gricean model can explain that irony embeds qua implicature. This leads us to prefer a local implicature model. This has important consequences for how we draw the semantics/pragmatics distinction.
Keywords embedded irony  truth-conditional compositionality  embedded implicatures  local implicatures  semantics/pragmatics distinction  embedding
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DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2018.1446048
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References found in this work BETA

Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):487-492.
Context and Logical Form.Jason Stanley - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (4):391--434.
Conversational Impliciture.Kent Bach - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
Studies in the Way of Words.Paul Grice - 1989 - Synthese 84 (1):153-161.
Scalar Implicatures in Complex Sentences.Uli Sauerland - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (3):367-391.

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Ironic Metaphor Interpretation.Mihaela Popa - 2010 - Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics 33:1-17.
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