Verbal Irony, Pretense, and the Common Ground
Reuben Cohn-Gordon, Leon Bergen
May 2019

We propose that verbal irony is a form of linguistic countersignaling, where agents engage in pretense about the state of the world or the perspective they hold in order to communicate about the common ground. We formalize this intuition using the Rational Speech Acts framework, by introducing a mechanism for pretense and a speaker whose goal is to be informative about the state of the common ground. In so doing, we resolve a number of the challenges facing Grice’s original account for verbal irony. We show that our model extends to several types of non-declarative content in a modular way.
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Reference: lingbuzz/004577
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted for publication
keywords: verbal irony, countersignaling, pragmatics, rational speech acts, semantics
previous versions: v2 [April 2019]
v1 [April 2019]
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