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Chapter OneIntroduction

1.1 Background
Verbal irony is a kind of figurative language, which has been discussed togetherwith metaphors, proverbs, and idioms. When it is used in our daily language, the literalmeaning always seems to be not true or not entirely true. Many theories and modelshave been set up to explain its nature, which mainly consist of pragmatic approachesand psycholinguistic approaches. The pioneering work of irony studies include Mueckeand Muecke (1969), Booth (1974), and Grice (1975), among which, Grice’s work shedsnew light on irony studies by his application of co-operative principles. So far, manyscholars have come up with different models and theories, such as direct access theoryor tinge theory.The theory given by Grice is named as standard pragmatic model (Grice, 1975;Searle, 1985), which held that irony comprehension had three stages. According to thisview, the literal meaning was activated, rejected, and finally the appropriate meaningfound. In 1980s, the pretense theory and echoic mention theory have rendered heateddiscussion of irony. The joint pretense theory (Clark, 1996; Clark & Carlson, 1982;Clark & Gerrig, 1984) held that an ironic speaker pretended to be an injudicious personand he or she expected the listener to see through the trick and attitude. The echoicmention theory was originated from the relevance theory, and it held that thecomprehension of ironic meaning came from the context by echoic interpretation(Sperber, 1984; Wilson & Sperber, 1992). However, both theories have poor empiricalevidences to support them and they mainly come from introspective methods.In 1990s, researchers approached to irony with psycholinguistic perspectives andmodels of greater explanatory power took appearance. Direct access model assumedthat a strong context would interact with lexical processes and therefore, with anironic-biasing context, the intended meaning would be activated immediately (Gibbs,1986, 2000; Gibbs & Colston, 2007). Kumon-Nakamura, Glucksberg, and Brown (1995)used allusional pretense hypothesis to emphasize the importance of pragmaticinsincerity, and the ironic meaning was understood by alluding to the violated socialnorms. Attardo (2000a) proposed that violation of contextual appropriateness at theinitial stage of irony comprehension was important, which was triggered by not onlyinsincerity, but also by cultural norms and expectations. Dews and his colleagues (Dews,Kaplan, & Winner, 1995; Dews & Winner, 1995, 1997, 1999; Dews et al., 1996) cameup with tinge hypothesis, which held that the literal meaning of irony muted theintended meaning, and they also tested irony comprehension by a series of experiments.The graded salience model given by Giora is more influential than other models, since itdescribed and explained the competition between lexical process and contextual process.Besides, it also integrated its rival models and explained empirical evidences (Giora,1995, 1997, 2001, 2003).

1.2 Significance
Irony is a kind of figurative language, which has been discussed together withmetaphors, proverbs and idioms, in which there is always a gap between what is saidand what is meant. Based on the framework of the graded salience theory, this thesistries to integrate cognitive foundations, hemisphere lateralization and other issues inirony studies.Figurative language is not as easy to process as commonly thought, even f论文英语论文网提供整理,提供论文代写英语论文代写代写论文代写英语论文代写留学生论文代写英文论文留学生论文代写相关核心关键词搜索。

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