25th Apr 2012 4:30pm-6:00pm
Sallis Benney Theatre
Irony as Hybrid of Pretence and Echo, and its relation to Under-/Overstatement
Dr Michaela Popa
Liverhulme-funded project ‘Metaphor and Metonymy’
University of Birmingham
Two rival accounts of irony claim, respectively, that pretence and echo are independently sufficient to explain central cases. After highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of these accounts, I argue that an account in which both pretence and echo play an essential role better explains these cases and serves to explain the peripheral cases.
In the process, I distinguish between —weak‖ and —strong‖ hybrid theories, and advocate an —integrated strong hybrid‖ account in which both elements of pretence and echo are seen as complementary in a unified mechanism. Accordingly, by pretending to have a limited/defective perspective/thought 'F', an ironic speaker echoes a perspective/thought 'G' which is similar in content to the pretend perspective/thought 'F', thereby implying that 'G' is similarly limited/defective and mocking/criticising those who really/possibly entertain 'G'. Finally, I explore to what extent the consequences from the interpretation of irony hold for the interpretation of Under-/Overstatement, or whether distinct mechanisms are involved.