Intentionality, speaker’s attitude and the processing of verbal irony
- Camilo Rodriguez Ronderos, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
- Ira Noveck, Laboratoire de Linguistique Formelle, Université de Paris, Paris, France
- John Tomlinson Jr, Leibniz Centre for General Linguistics, Berlin, Germany
AbstractWhat makes an ironic sentence easier or harder to understand as compared to a literal equivalent? Though this question has been extensively discussed in the literature, the results are mixed(see eg. Filik & Moxey, 2010). The present work attempts to account for the differences in the literature by considering (a) the variable effect of anticipating the intentions of a speaker during comprehension of ironic utterances used to answer yes/no questions, and (b) the role of explicit cues regarding the attitude of a speaker. The results suggest that both of these factors interact and together modulate the interpretation of a sentence as ironic or literal as well as the utterance’s reading times. We interpret these results as broadly in line with the predictions made by the echoic mention account.
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