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Hyperbolic Language and its Relation to Metaphor and Irony

Carston, RA; Wearing, C; (2015) Hyperbolic Language and its Relation to Metaphor and Irony. Journal of Pragmatics , 79 pp. 79-92. 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.01.011. Green open access

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Abstract

Hyperbolic use of language is very frequent but has seldom been thought worthy of serious analytical attention. Hyperbole is usually treated as a minor trope which belongs with one or the other of the two dominant figurative uses of language, metaphor and irony. In this paper, we examine the range of ways in which hyperbole is manifest, in both its ‘pure’ uses and its prevalent co-occurrences with other tropes. We conclude that it does not align closely with either metaphor or irony but is a distinctive figure of speech in its own right, characterized by the blatant exaggeration of a relevant scalar property for the purpose of expressing an evaluation of a state of affairs. The relative simplicity of hyperbole enables its exploitation of a range of independent mechanisms of non-literal linguistic communication including loose use, metaphor, simile, and expressions of ironical and other attitudes.

Type: Article
Title: Hyperbolic Language and its Relation to Metaphor and Irony
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.01.011
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2015.01.011
Language: English
Keywords: Hyperbole, Metaphor, Irony, Quantitative shift, Qualitative shift, Evaluative component
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461146
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