Is a so-called "beach" a beach? An empirically based analysis of secondary content induced by ironic name use
Holden Härtl, Heiko Seeliger
August 2017

This paper investigates the source and status of contents involved in ironic utterances which contain the name-mentioning modifier 'so-called' as in 'The so-called "beach" was a thin strip of black volcanic grit'. Based on two experimental studies, we argue that the head nominal's non-literalness implicated in constructions of this sort is at-issue "the most", while the speaker's attitude to evaluate the head's denotatum negatively is treated as at-issue the least. It is further reasoned that the meaning that the head nominal's denotatum has been called by the quoted name tends to figure as a presupposition, which is compatible with an echo approach towards verbal irony. Our findings support the notion of at-issueness as a graded criterion and can be used to argue that verbal irony in general seems to be difficult to reject directly and, thus, be treated as at-issue.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003622
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted.
keywords: not-at-issue content, irony, quotation, pragmatics, semantics
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