Many pragmatic accounts of irony were proposed over the last decades. The best known may be the Gricean approach (Grice 1989a, 1989b), the echoic account (Sperber and Wilson 1981, 1995 ; Wilson 2006, 2009) and the pretense theory (Clark and Gerrig 1984). These approaches state that irony consists in communicating the opposite, echoing or pretending, respectively. My aim here is to show that what defines verbal irony is something subtler: an overt clash between contents is the only thing that we shall find in every ironic utterance. On a different level, the relationships between irony and criticism on the one hand, and irony and humor on the other, have also been of great interest to authors working in the field. Different positions are defended regarding these two issues: here I will claim that criticism is an essential condition for ironic utterances, whereas humor is a consequence of some basic characteristics of irony.
About the author
Joana Garmendia obtained her PhD in philosophy from the University of the Basque Country in 2007, with a dissertation on the pragmatics of irony. From 2008 to 2010, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University, and she is now a researcher at the Institute for Logic, Cognition, Language and Information and a lecturer in the Department of Basque Language and Communication at the University of the Basque Country. Her main research interests include irony, non-literal speech, fictional discourse, and the semantics and pragmatics of Basque. Her recent publications have been devoted to those fields. She is the assistant secretary of GOGOA – the ILCLI journal that is devoted to the study of language, knowledge, communication, and action.
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