UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 15 (2003)

On verbal irony and types of echoing


This paper examines the different types of echoing used in actual examples of verbal irony. The examples all contain an appositional structure, indicating an equivalence relation. This contributes to the ironical interpretation, and especially to recognizing the victim of the irony. I will argue, first, that syntactic structure may be a clue to indirect meaning; second, that echoic mention may play a role even when the echoed beliefs are only implied; and third, that violations of Gricean maxims of truthfulness and informativeness are more a clue to the presence of irony than an essential part of the analysis.

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