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0.

A General Introduction:
0.0. Introduction:
Language is the most important and efficient means of communication. It
ensures a mutual understanding among participants in a communicative activity.
According to Crystal (1990:247), «language is the most frequently used and most highly
developed form of human communication we possess». When we speak a language, we
characteristically perform speech acts. Crystal (1992:362) considers a “speech act” as "a
communicative activity defined with reference to the intentions of a speaker while
speaking and the effects achieved on a listener". However, speech acts can be either
simple and direct or complex and indirect. In a direct speech- act, the utterance has only
one intended meaning, which is the literal sentence meaning. This means that the
speaker utters a sentence and means exactly what he says. In an indirect speech act, the
intended meaning of the utterance is different from the literal sentence meaning. In this
case, the speaker utters a given sentence, means what he says, but he also means
something more, or something different from the literal sentence meaning. It is
important to note that, despite the difference between the literal meaning of a sentence
and the intended meaning of its utterance in indirect communication, understanding
between participants in a communicative activity remains ensured. The understanding
of indirect speech acts is based mainly on contextually relevant inferences. So, indirect
speech acts are worth studying because, first, they are more efficient than direct speech
acts in achieving our communicative goals, and, second, it is important to understand
the mental processes that the mind goes through in working out the indirect meaning of
indirect speech acts.

One aspect of the nonliteral or indirect use of language consists of figures of


speech. According to Crystal (1990: 135), a “figure of speech” is an “expressive use of
language where words are used in a nonliteal way to suggest illuminating comparisons
and resemblances.” This means that a figurative utterance is one which does not mean
what it says literally. Therefore, my research paper will be limited to the study of

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metaphorical irony as a special case of figurative use of language in the performance of
indirect speech acts for indirect communication. However, a study of metaphorical irony
requires a separate study of “metaphor” and “irony” .We assume that, in metaphor, the
intended meaning of the utterance is hidden and can only be inferred. In irony, the
intended meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning of the produced utterance. So, in
metaphorical irony, the hearer has first to work out the metaphorical meaning of the
utterance and then look for its ironical meaning, which is the opposite of the
metaphorical meaning.

0.1. Objectives:

In this research paper, I intend to achieve three main objectives: (a) To explain,
through illustrative examples, the difference between the literal meaning of an utterance
and its metaphorical or ironical meaning.(b)Provide an account of how metaphor and
irony function in language use and identify the pragmatic factors that contribute to the
mutual understanding between two interactants using such figure of speech as
metaphorical irony. And, finally, (c) provide a pragmatic analysis of a set of data in
which metaphor and irony are combined in linguistic utterances to achieve specific
communicative goals. Our objectives may be achieved by answering the following
research questions:

1. What is the difference between the literal meaning of an utterance and its
metaphorical or ironical meaning?

2. What is the difference between metaphor and irony?

3. What is metaphorical irony?

4. What are the processes involved in the understanding of metaphorical irony?

5. How is it possible for a speaker to say one thing and mean something else,
something more, or something different?

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6. How can the hearer understand the speaker's intended meaning, when the latter
means something different from what he says?

0.2. Methodology:
To answer the research questions above, I shall adopt a pragmatic approach ,
based essentially on Grice’s (1975)theory of linguistic communication and Searle’s
(1977,1979)theory of metaphor. Metaphor and irony will first be dealt with
independently from each other,using the aforementioned theories . To deal with the
phenomenon of metaphorical irony, I will develop a pragmatic approach based on
Grice’s (1975) theory of Conversational Implicature and Searle’s (1977,1979)theory of
metaphor. Our data are collected from genuine speech-acts performed in Moroccan
Arabic by Moroccan speakers.

0.3. Theoretical Framework:


The present research paper is about metaphorical irony, which is an aspect of
indirect language use, which in turn falls within the domain of Pragmatics. According to
the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (1995), “Pragmatics” is “the study of the way
in which language is used to express or to interpret real intentions in particular situations,
especially when the actual words used may appear to mean something different”.
Therefore, our study of metaphorical irony will be carried within a pragmatic
framework, the foundations of which are initially provided in Austin’s (1962,1975)How
to Do Things With Words , and further elaborated by such scholars as Searle
(1969,1979); Grice(1975),Sperber and Wilson (1981), Bergmann(1991),
Martinich(1991), and Davidson(1991). These works are important because they can help
us understand not only the difference between “direct speech acts” and “indirect speech
acts” ,but also the nature of indirect communication through the performance of indirect
speech acts, metaphorical speech acts, and ironical speech acts .Therefore, they will
make it easier for us to highlight the means by which the figurative meaning of
metaphorical irony is perceived ,and , finally, identify the processes by which a hearer
comes to understand metaphorical irony.

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0.4 Organization of the Work:
My research paper consists of three chapters, in addition to a general introduction
and a general conclusion. Chapter one provides a review of the relevant literature ,
focusing on the works of such scholars as Austin (1962,1975), Searle(1979),Grice(1975),
Sperber and Wilson(1981), Bergmann (1991),Martinich (1991) , and
Davidson(1991).This chapter starts with a review of the speech-act theory as initiated by
Austin (1962,1975) and developed further by Searle (1969,1979). This review will pave
the way for our discussion of indirect speech acts, in general, and metaphorical and
ironical speech-acts, in particular. Chapter two is devoted to a discussion of Searle’s
(1977, 1979) theory of metaphor, the status of irony in Grice’s (1975) theory of
conversational implicature, and Sperber and Wilson's theory of irony. This chapter also
attempts to develop a pragmatic approach whereby we can account for the rather
complex phenomenon of metaphorical irony in linguistic communication. This approach
aims at uncovering the mental processes involved in the production and understanding of
metaphorical irony. Chapter three aims at the examination of the explanatory power of
our pragmatic approach to the phenomenon of metaphorical irony. For this purpose, a set
of relevant data will be analyzed using a pragmatic approach based on Grice’s (1975)
theory of implicature and Searle’s (1977, 1979) theory of metaphor. The general
conclusion provides a summary of our findings about the use and comprehension of
metaphorical irony in addition to our comments on these findings.

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CHAPTER ONE:

Review of the Literature

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1.0 Introduction:

Our research paper is concerned with metaphorical irony, which falls within the
domain of Pragmatics. Pragmatics is concerned with the appropriate use of sentences as
utterances in the process of linguistic communication (lecture notes). Therefore, we need
to draw a distinction between the terms "sentence" and "utterance" before we provide a
working definition of Pragmatics, which is our domain of study. This constitutes one part
of our review of the relevant literature. The other part involves a brief discussion of the
speech-act theory. It focuses on such works as Austin (1962, 1975), Searle (1969, 1979),
and Grice (1975). In the third part, we review a number of works concerned with the
figurative use of language. Specifically, we focus on Searle (1977, 1979), Bergmann
(1991), Davidson (1991), and Martinich (1991), and Sperber and Wilson (1981) .The
aim behind this review is manifold: a) to familiarize ourselves and the reader with the
work of those scholars who initiated and developed speech-act theory, thereby
contributing to the development of Pragmatics as a new field of study , b) provide the
relevant theoretical background for our study of metaphorical irony, and c) select the
approach we believe to be most appropriate for our analysis of the phenomenon of
metaphorical irony as illustrated by the relevant data.

1.1. Sentence versus Utterance:


According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary(1961), a “sentence” is "a unit
of speech consisting of a meaningful arrangement of words, or merely a word, that
expresses an assertion, a question , a command , a wish, or an exclamation, and typically
containing a subject and a predicate( He played ball; It.parto. I depart) or only a
predicate (Go home). Such sentences are sometimes called full sentences, as
distinguished from minor sentences, which generally consist of a completive word or
phrase (Where is john?-At home), an interjection (Ouch!), or an exclamation (Heavens
above!)”. The same source defines the term “utterance” as (a)"vocal expression, style or
power of speaking" and (b)"that which is uttered, or spoken or published." Therefore, the
terms "sentence" and "utterance" refer to two different entities. Being a unit of

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grammatical analysis, a sentence means only what its combined words mean .In fact,
sentence meaning is independent of context and does not involve any intentions of the
speaker. However, an utterance is the actual use of a given sentence in a given context
with certain intentions on the part of the speaker. For instance, a sentence like (1):

(1) “It is cold in here”.

means what its words mean literally, namely that “It is cold” in the place being referred
to by “here". This sentence counts as a statement of a fact, or state of affairs. It can be
either true or false. However, when it is uttered in the process of communication, this
utterance may, depending on the context in which it is used, on the relationship between
the speaker and the hearer, their shared background knowledge, and the speaker’s
intentions, have a variety of functions. For example, it can be used to request, order, etc
the hearer to close the window, turn the central heating on, etc (lecture notes). We can
conclude that the meaning of an utterance depends on the context in which it is used with
the intentions to perform a given speech act. Therefore, it must be analysed
pragmatically, rather than grammatically or semantically.

1.2. A Working Definition of "Pragmatics":


“Pragmatics” is a branch of linguistics which studies the ability of language users
to pair sentences with the contexts in which they would be appropriate (lecture notes).
According to Levinson (1983:1), "The modern usage of the term Pragmatics is
attributable to the philosopher Charles Morris (1938), who was concerned to outline
(after Locke and Pierce) the general shape of a science of signs, or semiotics (or semiotic
as Morris preferred). Within Semiotics, Morris distinguished three distinct branches of
inquiry: Syntactics (or syntax), being the study of 'the formal relation of signs to one
another'; Semantics, the study of 'the relations of signs to the objects to which the signs
are applicable'(their designata); and Pragmatics, the study of 'the relation of signs to
interpreters'." Levinson (ibid: 5) admits that the term “Pragmatics” is very difficult to
define. Crystal (1990: 243) suggests that "Pragmatics studies the factors which govern
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someone's choice of language, when they speak or write. If we choose to say something,
there are all kinds of factors which constrain what we will say, and how we will say it. In
theory we can say anything we like. In practice, we follow a large number of social rules
(most of them unconsciously) which govern the way we speak". Crystal (1992:310)
defines “Pragmatics” as "the study of language from the point of view of the users -
especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in
social interaction, and the effects their use of language has on the other participants in an
act of communication."
From the preceding definitions, we can deduce the following facts about
"Pragmatics": First, Pragmatics must be distinguished from Semantics. Semantics deals
with the meaning of sentences with no reference to their users, the context of their use, or
their communicative functions. Pragmatics, by contrast, focuses on the context in which
language is used for special communicative purposes. It studies the meaning of
utterances and the way they are interpreted in special contexts, using extra- linguistic
factors that include the context, the speaker, and the hearer. The objective of Pragmatics
is the identification of the relationship between the linguistic utterance and the extra-
linguistic factors, as the understanding of the meaning of an utterance depends on the
context in which it is used. In short, pragmatics deals with those extra-linguistic elements
that determine the meaning of utterances as used in the process of communication.

1.3. Speech- Act Theory:


Speech-act theory is at the heart of Pragmatics. This theory was initiated by
Austin (1962) and further developed by Searle (1965). Searle (Ibid: 221-222) stresses the
importance of the study of speech acts by stating that it is not " the symbol or word or
sentence, or even the token of the symbol or word or sentence, which is the unit of
linguistic communication, but rather it is the production of the token in the performance
of the speech act that constitutes the basic unit in linguistic communication." It is
noteworthy that all the studies on speech-acts use the same terminologies initially
introduced by Austin in his (1962, 1975) pioneering work, How to Do Things with

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Words. These terminologies are, namely, “speaker”, “hearer”, “context”, “force”,
“performance”, “sentence”, “utterance”, etc. So, let us begin by reviewing his work.

1.3.1. Austin's Speech-Act Theory:


1.3.1.0. Introduction :

J .l.Austin is the father of modern pragmatics in general, and speech-act theory in


particular. In his (1962) work How to Do Things with Words, Austin begins by
questioning the assumption that “the business of a statement can only be to describe
some state of affairs, or to state some fact, which it must do either truly or
falsely"(Austin, 1962:1) .Prior to Austin’s (1962) work, it was widely assumed that to
say something is simply and always to state something. This led both philosophers and
grammarians to conclude that a statement of fact ought to be “verifiable”. Therefore,
many “statements” were considered only “pseudo-statements” and were shown to be
strict nonsense. Austin (ibid: 3) calls this assumption the “descriptive fallacy”, and he
undertakes to challenge it. Austin (ibid) argues that "not all true or false statements are
descriptions" .He proposes to use the term “constative” instead of “descriptive”. So, the
first thing he does is to draw a distinction between performative utterances and constative
utterances.

1.3.1.1. Performatives versus Constatives


Austin uses the term “performative” utterance to refer to those utterances which were
considered by the “logical positivists” a type of nonsense because, in their view, they are
not statements of fact. Austin (1975:5) points out that such utterances are not (or not
merely) cases of saying something, but of doing something .And they are not a true or
false report of something. Performatives resemble statements, at least in their
grammatical form, but they can not be true or false. To illustrate, let us consider Austin's
example:

(2) "I do (take this woman to be my lawful wedded wife)".

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Utterance (2), which is pronounced in the course of a marriage ceremony, is not a
description of the doing of the action or a statement that the action is done; it is doing the
action. Here, the issuing of the utterance is the performing of an action (not just saying
something).This is different, for example, from the statement:

(3) "The weather is hot".

This statement is verifiable in terms of truth and falsity.

Since Performatives, unlike constatives, cannot be assessed in terms of truth


conditions, Austin (ibid: 14-15) proposes to assess them in terms of what he calls
“felicity conditions”. These conditions consist of the things which are, besides the
uttering of the words, necessary for the "happy" functioning of a performative. For
example,

(4)"I promise that (the money will be yours)".

The preceding utterance requires appropriate circumstances of the uttering of the


words in addition to the performance of certain other actions, or even the performance of
acts of uttering further words. If one (or more) of these conditions is not realised, we do
not say that the utterance is false but void. Austin calls it an "unhappy" utterance.

These are the Felicity conditions for the happy performance of a speech-act, as
proposed by Austin (Ibid: 14-15):

A.1 There must exist an accepted conventional procedure having a certain


conventional effect, that procedure to include the uttering of certain words by certain
persons in certain circumstances.

A.2 The particular persons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for
the invocation of the particular procedure invoked.

B. 1. The procedure must be excuted by all participants correctly.

B.2. The procedure must be excuted by all participants completely.

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T.1. Where, as often, the procedure is designed for use by persons having certain
thoughts or feelings, or for the inauguration of certain consequential conduct on the part
of any participant, then a person participating in and so invoking the procedure must in
fact have those thoughts or feelings, and the participants must intend so to conduct
themselves, and further

T.2. must actually so conduct themselves subsequently.

If conditions A and B are not realized, the infelicity is called a “Misfire”. Here, the
act purported to be done is null or void, so that it does not take effect. If the two last
conditions are not realized, the infelicity is an “Abuse”. Here, the act is not void, and the
circumstances are in order. However, it is an abuse of the procedure because it is
insincere. Austin (ibid: 23) states that all the possible cases of infelicity are not mutually
exclusive.

1.3.1.2. Explicit Performatives Versus Implicit Performatives :


According to Austin (ibid: 32), all explicit performatives begin with or include
some highly significant and unambiguous expression, such as "I bet"," I promise","I
bequeath", etc. These expressions make it plain how the utterance is to be taken or
understood. Therefore, the explicit performative rules out equivocation and keeps the
illocutionary force, relatively, fixed. Implicit (or primary) peformatives, on the other
hand, do not make explicit the precise force of the utterance or “how it is to be taken”
(Austin, 1975:73) .They are characterized by the vagueness of meaning and uncertainty
of sure reception (ibid: 76), as the following example illustrates:

(5) “I shall help you”.

If somebody utters statement (5) above, he might be asked the question “Is that a
promise?”, and his answer might be either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

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Having made the previous distinction, Austin (ibid: 50) notices that statements,
which refer to something which does not exist, are not so much false as void. The
following utterance is a case in point.

(6) “The present king of France is bald”.

Moreover, Austin (1962:20) maintains that the more we consider a statement as


an utterance (not as a sentence), the more the whole thing can be considered as an
act. Therefore, the unhappiness affecting a performative utterance can be the same as the
unhappiness affecting a statement. To illustrate, let us assume that the one who utters (7)
does not believe that the cat is on the mat.

(7) “The cat is on the mat”.

The insincerity of this assertion is the same as the insincerity of a promise.

Upon a closer study of performatives, Austin (1975:61) finds that the verbs which
seem to be specially performative verbs serve the purpose of making explicit (not the
same as stating or describing) what precise action it is that is being performed by the
issuing of the utterance. He (ibid: 90) comes to the conclusion that, in pure explicit
performatives (such as “state” or “maintain”), the whole thing is surely true or false even
though the uttering of it is the performing of the action of stating or maintaining. So, a
distinction must be made between the performative opening part (I state that) which
makes clear how the utterance is to be taken (here a statement not a prediction) from the
that–clause which is required to be true or false. Therefore, the performative is not so
obviously different from the constative.

Finally, Austin(1975:62) finds out that for an utterance to be performative, it must be


used performatively.In fact, the same sentence can be used on different occasions of
utterance in both ways, performative and constative. Consider example (8) for
illustration:

(8) “It is yours”.

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This utterance can be a constative, meaning “It (already) belongs to you”, or a
performative, meaning "I give it to you”. Therefore, the initial distinction between
performatives and constatives, which was justified as a distinction between doing and
saying, collapses, because “considerations of the happiness and happiness type may
infect statements (or some statements) and considerations of the type of truth and falsity
may infect performatives (or some performatives)” (Austin, 1975:55).

1.3.1.3. Locutionary, Illocutionary, and Perlocutionary Acts:

After finding it very difficult to distinguish performatives from constatives,


Austin (1975:94) resorts to the fundamentals of language use, and decides to consider “
how many senses there may be in which to say something we do something, or in saying
something we do something, or even by saying something we do something”. This
consideration leads him (ibid: 94-103) to find out that there are three different senses of
the use of language in the performance of the speech act. These acts (or senses) are as
follows:

Locutionary Act: The act of saying something. This act has a meaning because it
consists of the uttering of a certain sentence with certain sense and reference, which is
equivalent to meaning.

Illocutionary Act: The performance of an act in saying something as opposed to the


performance of an act of saying something. This act has a certain conventional force. For
example, ordering, informing...

Perlocutionary Act: The consequential effects that the saying of something often
produces upon the feelings, thoughts, or actions of the audience, or of the speaker, or of
other persons. For example, convincing, persuading, deterring...

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Austin (1975:96-102) explains the difference between locutionary, illocutionary,
and perloctionary acts by illustrating the difference between “direct speech” and
“reported speech”. For example,

(9a) He said to me “Do your homework”.

This direct locutionary act can be reported, but we cannot report it using the
expression “said that”. Thus, we will have the illocutionary act (9b).

(9b) “He advised me to do my homework”.

If there are consequential effects produced on the hearer, we can talk about (9c):

(9c) “He convinced me to do my homework”.

The preceding example clearly demonstrates the difference between the locutionary,
illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts.

On the basis of the above, Austin (1975:114) has discovered that when we utter a
sentence, we necessarily perform both locutionary and illocutionary acts. This suggests
that there is no distinction between constatives and performatives, as both belong to a
general class of performatives. In fact, Austin (ibid: 147) concludes that “stating is only
one among very numerous speech-acts of the illocutionary class” because when we state
something, we perform the act of stating, and our utterance is liable to be happy or
unhappy (as well as true or false).

Austin (1975:151-163) suggests a classification of utterances on the basis of their


illocutionary force. He distinguishes five general categories:

1-Verdictives: They are typified by the giving of a verdict by a jury, arbitrator,


or umpire. For example, convicting, assessing, grading, describing…

2- Exercitives: They are the exercising of powers, rights, or influence. For


example, appointing, voting, ordering, urging, advising, warning...

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3- Commissives: They are typified by promising or otherwise undertaking.
They commit the speaker to doing something. For example, promising, undertaking,
vowing, swearing…

4- Behabitives: They have to do with attitudes and social behaviour. For


example, apologizing, congratulating, commending, condoling, cursing, challenging...

5- Expositives: They make plain how our utterances fit into the course of an
argument or conversation, how we are using words, or, in general, are expository.
Examples are “I reply”, “I agree”, “I concede”...

It is important to note that even Austin (ibid: 151) was not satisfied with this
classification, and he thought it is incomplete.

1.3.2.Searle’s Contribution to Speech- Act Theory:

1.3.2.1. Searle’s Assessment of Austin’s Classification:

According to Searle (1979: 11), Austin’s taxonomy involves (at least) six
weaknesses. For Searle, this is due to the fact that Austin’s was not a classification of
illocutionary acts but of English illocutionary verbs. The weaknesses identified by Searle
are as follows:

1-There is no consistent principle of classification.

2- Many of the verbs listed in the categories do not satisfy the definition given for the
category.

3- There is too much heterogeneity within the categories.

4-There is too much overlap of the categories.

5- Not all the verbs are illocutionary verbs.

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6- There is a persistent confusion between verbs and acts.

1.3.2.2. The Basis of Searle's Alternative Classification :

As an alternative to Austin’s (1962, 1975) classification, Searle (1979:2-5)


proposes a taxonomy of illocutionary acts based on three dimensions. These dimensions
concern the ways in which illocutionary acts differ from one another, and involve the
“illocutionary point”, “direction of fit”, and the “expressed sincerity conditions”.

A-Differences in the Point (or Purpose) of the (Type of) Act:

Searle (ibid: 2-3) calls "illocutionary point", the point or purpose of an illocution.
For him, the illocutionary point of an illocutionary act is part of but not the same as its
illocutionary force. The illocutionary force results from several elements, one of which is
the illocutionary point. For example, requests and commands have the same illocutionary
point: they are both attempts to get the heaver to do something. However, their
illocutionary forces are different.

B-Differences in the Direction of Fit Between Words and the World:

Searle (ibid: 3-4) states that some illocutions have as part of their illocutionary
point to get the words (more strictly, their propositional content) to match the world.
Statements, descriptions, assertions, and explanations are examples of this type. Others,
on the other hand, get the world to match the words. Cases in point are requests,
commands, vows, and promises. Searle calls this difference, a difference in the "direction
of fit". He represents the world -to- word direction of fit with an upward arrow (↑), and
the word -to- world direction of fit with a downward arrow (↓).

C- Differences in Expressed Psychological States:

According to Searle (ibid: 4-5), in the performance of any illocutionary act with a
given propositional content, the speaker expresses some attitude to that propositional
content. For example, to state that (p) is to express the belief that (p), to promise to do (a)
is to express an intention to do (a). Searle argues that the expressed psychological state
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holds even if the speaker is insincere. This psychological state constitutes the sincerity
condition of the act. Searle symbolizes the expressed psychological state with the
capitalized initial letter of the corresponding verb. For example, B,W, and I respectively
symbolize the expressed psychological states of “belief” , “want”, and “intention”.

1.3.2.3. Searle’s Alternative Taxonomy:

According to Searle (ibid: 12-20), there are five basic categories of illocutionary
acts:

A-Assertives:

Their point or purpose is to commit the speaker (in varying degrees) to something
being the case, to the truth of the expressed proposition. Assertives are assessable in
terms of truth and falsity and may be symbolized as follows: B (p). is the assertion
sign for the illocutionary point common to all the members of this class. The direction of
fit is word-to –world, and the psychological state expressed is Belief (that p). For
example, suggest, insist, conclude, state, deduce…

B-Directives:

Their illocutionary point is that they are attempts (of varying degrees) by the speaker
to get the hearer to do something. Directives may be symbolized as follows:! / W (H
does A). ! Indicates the illocutionary point of the members of this class. The direction of
fit is world-to -word and the sincerity condition is want (or wish or desire). Their
propositional content is always that the hearer H does some future action A. For
example, ask , order, command, request, beg, permit….

C- Commissives

Searle (ibid: 14) admits that Austin’s definition of commissives “seems


unexceptionable”. Commissives are those illocutionary acts whose point is to commit the

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speaker (in varying degrees) to some future course of action. We have the following
symbolism: C / I (S does A). C symbolizes the members of this class, the direction of fit
is world-to-word, the sincerity condition is intention, and the propositional content is
always that the speaker S does some future action A. For example, promise, vow….

D- Expressives:

Their illocutionary point is to express the psychological state specified in the


sincerity condition about the state of affairs specified in the propositional content. This
class may be symbolized as follows: E O (P) (S/H + property). “E” is the illocutionary
point common to all Exprissives. O indicates that there is no direction of fit. P is a
variable ranging over the different possible psychological states expressed in
performance of the illocutionary acts in this class. The propositional content ascribes
some property to either S or H. For example, thank, congratulate, apologize, condole…

D- Declarations:

In the case of Declarations, the state of affairs represented in the proposition


expressed is brought into existence by declaring it to exist. The successful performance
of one of its members brings about the correspondence between the propositional content
and reality (the world). Declarations are symbolized as follows: D O (P). D is the
declarational illocutionary point. The direction of fit is both word -to-world and world-
to-word. There is no sincerity condition. P is the usual propositional variable. For
example, “You are fired”, “I resign”, “You are guilty (as uttered by a judge in a
court)”…

1.3.2.4. Indirect speech Acts :

Searle (1979: 30-31) states that direct speech acts are cases where the speaker
utters a sentence and means exactly and literally what he says. However; in indirect
speech acts, the speaker’s utterance meaning and the sentence meaning differ. In fact, the

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speaker utters a sentence, means what he says, but also means something more or
something different. Searle (ibid: 36) suggests that, in the field of indirect illocutionary
acts, Directives are the most useful to study because ordinary conversational
requirements of politeness normally make it awkward to issue flat imperative sentences.
Thus, for Searle (ibid: 48), politeness is the chief motivation for indirectness.

Searle (ibid: 34) makes a distinction between the secondary illocutionary act, which
is literal, and the primary illocutionary act, which is not literal. He (ibid: 42) asserts that
the former is related to sentence meaning, while the latter is related to speaker meaning.
For example,

(10) “Can you pass me the salt?”

The primary illocutionary force of utterance (10) is a request .Its secondary


illocutionary force is that it is a question about the ability of the speaker to pass the salt.

Searle (1979: 32-35) proposes an inferential strategy that the hearer has to follow in
order to move from the secondary illocutionary act to the primary illocutionary act. This
inferential strategy is based on facts about the conversation, principles of conversational
cooperation, factual background information, and inferences. This strategy aims at, first
of all, establishing that the primary illocutionary force departs from the literal
illocutionary force, and second, what the primary illocutionary force is. Searle (ibid: 47)
points out that the first part of this strategy is established by the principles of
conversation operating on the information shared by the hearer and the speaker. The
second, on the other hand, is derived from the theory of speech-acts together with
background information.

Searle (ibid: 46-47) identifies ten steps that constitute the inferential strategy that a
hearer follows in order to grasp the primary illocution of an indirect speech-act. We can
apply these steps to the secondary illocution (11a), as uttered by a speaker X to a hearer
Y who is making too much noise:

(11a) “Can you keep quiet?”

19
The hearer goes through the following steps in order to get the primary illocution
(11b):

(11b) “I want you to keep quiet”

Step one: (fact about the conversation) X has asked me a question about my ability
to keep quiet.

Step two: (principles of conversational cooperation) I assume that he is cooperating


in the conversation and that therefore his utterance has some aim or point.

Step three: (factual background information) The conversational setting is not such
as to indicate a theoretical interest in my ability to keep quiet.

Step four: (factual background information) X probably already knows that the
answer to that question is yes.

Step five: (inference from steps 1-4) Therefore his utterance is probably not just a
question. It probably has some ulterior illocutionary point.

Step six: (theory of speech act) A preparatory condition for any directive
illocutionary act is the ability of the hearer to perform the act predicated in the
prepositional content condition.

Step seven: (inference from steps one and six) Therefore, X has asked me a question
the affirmative answer to which would entail that the preparatory condition for
requesting me to keep quiet is satisfied.

Step eight: (background information) I am making too much noise, my friend is


studying, studying needs concentration, etc.

Step nine: (inference from steps seven and eight) He has therefore alluded to the
satisfaction of a preparatory condition for a request whose obedience conditions it is
quite likely he wants me to bring about.

20
Step ten: (inference from steps five and nine) Therefore, in the absence of any other
plausible illocutionary point, he is probably requesting me to keep quiet.

It is important to note that Searle’s analysis of the phenomenon of indirect


speech-acts is based mainly on Grice’s (1975) theory of conversational implicature (see
1.4). Searle (1979:49) states that “the theory of speech-acts and the principles of
conversational cooperation do, indeed, provide a framework within which indirect
illocutionary acts can be meant and understood".

1.4. Grice’s Theory of Communication:

According to Grice (1975: 45), “Our talk exchanges do not normally consist of a
succession of disconnected remarks and would not be rational if they did. They are
characteristically, to some degree at least, cooperative efforts; and each participant
recognizes in them, to some extent, a common purpose or set of purposes, or at least a
mutually accepted direction.” This statement reveals that, in order for a conversation to
be purposive and rational, participants are expected to observe a general principle, which
Grice calls the “Cooperative Principle”.

1.4.1. The Cooperative Principle:


Grice (1975:45) gives a general formulation of the Cooperative Principle as
follows: “Make your contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by
the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.” He
(ibid: 45-46) states that the conversational maxims, on which the Cooperative Principle is
based, can be divided into four categories. These categories are Quantity, Quality,
Relation, and Manner.

1. Quantity: this category relates to the quantity of information to be provided,


and under it fall two sub-maxims:
21
A-Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purpose of
the exchange).
B-Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

2. Quality: under this category falls a supermaxim- "try to make your


contribution one that is true"- and two more specific maxims:
A-Do not say what you believe to be false.
B-Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

3. Relation: under this category falls a single maxim which is “Be relevant”.

4. Manner: this category is not related to what is said, but to how what is said is
to be said. Under the maxim of Manner falls the supermaxim "Be perspicuous" and
other four submaxims :
a-avoid obscurity of expression.
b-avoid ambiguity.
c-be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).
d-be orderly.

1.4.2. Implicature:
According to Grice (1975:46- 47), the generation of implicatures “seems to play a
role not totally different from the other maxims”. So, implicature is worth studying. First,
Grice makes a distinction between what is ‘said’ and what is ‘implied'. For example,

(12) “She is an ape”.

If a speaker S utters (12) to a hearer H, the utterance meaning (that she is ugly) is
conveyed to H by implication. The hearer grasps the implied meaning because he
assumes that though the maxim of quality is violated at the level of what is said, it is (or
at least the overall C. P is) is observed at the level of what is implicated.
22
Grice (ibid: 44 – 45) distinguishes two types of implicature: conventional implicature
and conversational implicature:
1.Conventional Implicature :
In the case of a conventional implicature, the conventional meaning of the words
used will determine what is implicated, besides helping to determine what is said .To
illustrate,

(13) “Even John loves Mary”

Utterance (13) implies that there are people other than John who love Mary. We can
determine this from the conventional meaning of the word “Even”.

2. Conversational Implicature:
It is a subclass of nonconventional implicatures. It is essentially connected with
some general features of discourse, and is based on the assumption that the participants
in a talk exchange observe the C. P.

Grice (ibid: 49) points out that talk exchanges “will be profitable only on the
assumption that they are conducted in general accordance with the C. P and the maxims".
However, a participant in a talk exchange may fail to fulfill a maxim in various ways,
which include the following:
1. He may quietly and unostentatiously violate a maxim, as in the case of lying,
for example.
2. He may opt out from the operation both of the maxim and of the C. P. That is
to say, he may express his unwillingness to cooperate in the way the maxim requires.
3. He may be faced by a clash. For example, he will be unable to fulfill the first
maxim of quantity without violating the second maxim of quality, especially if he lacks
evidence for the information that he wants to convey.

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4. He may flout a maxim. This means that he may blatantly fail to fulfill it. Here,
the speaker is able to fulfill the maxim without violating another maxim, is not opting
out, and is not trying to mislead. Therefore, he is undoubtedly exploiting that maxim.
This situation is one that characteristically gives rise to conversational implicature.

1.4.3.A General Inferential Strategy for Working out a Conversational


Implicature :
Grice (1975: 50) states that the following data are reliable for the hearer in
order to work out that a particular conversational implicature is present:
1. The conventional meaning of the words used together with the identity of any
references that may be involved.
2. The C. P. and its maxims.
3. The context of the utterance.
4. Other items of background knowledge.
5. The fact (or supposed fact) that all relevant items falling under the previous
headings are available to both participants, and both participants know or assume this
to be the case.

Grice (ibid) proposes an inferential strategy that a hearer, based on the data above,
can use in order to work out a conversational implicature. This strategy is as follows:
"He has said that p; there is no reason to suppose that he is not observing the maxims, or
at least the C. P.; he could not be doing this unless he thought that q ; he knows ( and
knows that I know that he knows ) that I can see that the supposition that he thinks that q
is required; he has done nothing to stop me thinking that q; he intends me to think that q,
or is at least willing to allow me to think that q; and so he has implicated that q."
Consider the following example for illustration:

(14a) X tells his friend Y that “Z is a wolf”.

24
Using Grice’s inferential strategy, Y can work out the conversational implicature as
follows: X has said that “Z is a wolf”. Since there is no reason to suppose that X is not
observing the maxim of Quality, X must think that:

(14b) “Z is cunning”.

X knows (and knows that Y knows) that the supposition that he thinks that (14b) is
required, and he has done nothing to stop Y thinking that this supposition is true. So, X
intends Y to think that (14b). Therefore, he has implicated that (14b) .

1.4.4. Certain Features of Conversational Imlpicature:


Grice (1975: 57-58) states that conversational implicature is characterized by four
features. The latter are as follows:
1- A generalized conversational implicature can be cancelled in a particular case .For
example, the speaker of (15a) can add the clause (15b) to show that a he has opted out of
the C.P.:
(15a)"you are a pig".

(15b) “I am just kidding”.

2 - The calculation that a particular conversational implicature is present requires,


besides contextual and background information, only a knowledge of what has been said.
3 – Conversational implicata are not part of the meaning of the expressions to the
employment of which they attach.
4- The implicature is not carried by what is said, but only by the saying of what is
said.
5- Many implicata are indeterminable, since many utterances are open to various
possible interpretations.

25
1.5. Metaphor:
1.5.1. Definition:

According to Hawkes (1989:1), “the word ‘metaphor’ comes from the Greek word
‘ metaphora’, derived from ‘meta’ meaning ‘over’, and ‘pherein’ , [meaning] ‘to carry’ .
It refers to a particular set of linguistic processes whereby aspects of one object are
‘carried over’ or transferred to another object, so that the second object is spoken of as if
it were the first.” The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1961) defines metaphor as
“a figure of speech in which a word or a phrase literally denoting one kind of object or
idea is used in place of another by way of suggesting a likeness or analogy between
them.” From these two definitions, we can deduce that, due to the transfer of the
properties of one element to another, the word or phrase used metaphorically acquires a
new meaning, which is different from its conventional literal meaning. However, this
word or phrase is not considered anomalous. So, what are the factors that make
metaphors conversationally acceptable and understandable by interlocutors? The answer
to this important question can be derived from the review of the following literature.

1.5.2 Searle’s Theory of Metaphor:

Searle (1977, 1979:77) distinguishes between the word (or sentence) meaning
and the speaker's utterance meaning. The former is the literal meaning of the utterance,
and the latter is its metaphorical meaning. According to Searle (ibid: 80-81), in literal
utterance, the speaker’s meaning coincides with sentence meaning. Consider example
(16) for illustration:

(16) “Sally in tall”.

The preceding literal utterance is characterized by three features. First, the speaker
means what he says; that is, the literal sentence meaning is the same as the speaker’s
utterance meaning. Second, the literal meaning of the sentence only determines a set of
truth conditions relative to a set of background assumptions which are not part of the

26
literal meaning. These assumptions must be shared with the hearer in order to have a
successful communication. Third, the notion of similarities plays a crucial role in any
account of literal utterance. Searle (ibid) asserts that in metaphor, the speaker’s meaning
is different from the sentence meaning. The speaker and the hearer know that the words
uttered do not exactly and literally express what the speaker meant. However,
communication is successful (ibid: 77). So, how is it possible to say one thing and mean
something else? And, how do speaker’s meaning and sentence (or word) meaning come
apart?

In Searle’s (ibid:77) view, the problem of metaphor concerns the relations


between word or sentence meaning, on the on hand , and speaker’s meaning or utterance
meaning , on the other. For him (ibid), the understanding of both literal and metaphorical
utterances requires the knowledge of the rules of language, awareness of the conditions
of the utterance, and a set of shared background assumptions. However, he (ibid: 84)
maintains that these are not enough for the understanding of the metaphorical utterance.
Searle (Ibid: 77) argues that, in metaphor, the sentence and the words have only their
literal meaning. In fact, when we talk about the metaphorical meaning of a word,
expression, or sentence, we talk about possible speaker’s intentions.

In order to identify the principles that relate literal sentence meaning to speaker's
utterance meaning, Searle (Ibid:83-84) provides a general characterization of the
metaphorical utterance as follows: “The speaker utters a sentence of the form ‘S’ is ‘P’
and means metaphorically ‘S’ is ‘R’ .” Therefore, a theory of metaphor must explain how
it is possible to utter ‘S is P’ and both mean and communicate ‘S is R’”. Searle (ibid:
107-111) proposes nine principles that can help us identify the values of R and as a result
grasp the intended meaning of metaphor. These principles are as follows:

Principle 1: Things which are P are by definition R; usually, if the metaphor


works, R will be one of the salient defining characteristics of P .For example ,

(17a) “Sam is a giant".

27
can be taken to mean

(17b) “Sam is big”.

because giants are by definition big .

Principle2: Things which are P are contingently R .Again, if the metaphor works,
the property R should be a salient or well- known property of P things. For instance,

(18a)“Sam is a pig” .

can be taken to mean

(18b) “Sam is filthy”.

Principle 3 : Things which are P are often said or believed to be R , even though
both speaker and hearer may know that R is false of P . For example,

(19a)"Richard is a gorilla"

can be taken to mean

(19b)“Richard is mean”

although zoologists have shown that gorillas are very gentle creatures.

Principle 4: Things which are P are not R, nor are they like R things, nor are they
believed to be R; nonetheless, it is a fact about our sensibility, whether culturally or
naturally determined, that we just do perceive a connection, so that P is associated in our
minds with R properties. To illustrate,

(20a)“Sally is a block of ice”

could metaphorically mean

(20b)"Sally is unemotional"

even though there is no literal similarity between "Sally" and the "block of ice".

28
Principle 5: P things are not like R things, and are not believed to be like R things;
nonetheless the conditions of being P are like the conditions of being R. For example,

(21) “you have become an aristocrat” .

This utterance can be said to a friend who has just received a promotion to mean that
he has become like an aristocrat.

Principle 6: There are cases where P and R are the same or similar in meaning, but
where one, usually P, is restricted in its application and does not literally apply to S. For
instance,

(22) “The parliament was addled”.

Principle 7 : This principle is a way of applying principles 1-6 to simple cases which
are not of the form S is P , but relational metaphors and metaphors of other syntactical
forms .In this case the hearer has to go from “SP- relation S” to “SR-relation S” (not
from “S is P “ to “S is R”). He has to find a relation (or property) that is similar to, or
otherwise associated with, the relation or property literally expressed by the metaphorical
expression P. For example,

(23) “The ship ploughs the sea”.

Principle 8: P and R may be associated by such relations as the part-whole relation,


the container- contained relation, or even the clothing and wearer relation. This
association allows us to say "S is P" and mean metaphorically “S is R”. For example,

(24) “The crown accepted the offer”.

Principle 9 : When we say “S is P” ,the different combinations of S and P create new


R's . The “S” term does not restrict the range of possible R’s generated by the P terms.
The associations with P terms are those of the principles 1-7. The different S terms
restrict the values of R differently. For example,

(25) “Sam's voice is mud”.

29
(26) “Kant’s second argument for the transcendental deduction is so much mud”.

According to Searle (Ibid: 112), if a speaker and a hearer have shared linguistic
and factual knowledge sufficient to enable them to communicate literal utterances, the
hearer can compute the metaphorical meaning of metaphorical utterances using a strategy
that involves three steps:

Step 1: The hearer recognizes that the utterance is not intended literally .He can do
so on the basis of the most common strategy that the utterance is obviously false if taken
literally.

Step 2: The hearer uses some shared principles that associate the P term with a
set of possible values of R.

Step 3: The hearer uses a set of strategies or principles in order to restrict the range
of the possible values of R to the actual value of R .Only those possible values of R
which determine possible properties of S can be actual values of R.

Searle (ibid: 88-90) maintains that the metaphorical assertion is not an assertion of
similarity, as the latter functions as a comprehension strategy and not as a component of
meaning.

1.5.3.Davidson’s Theory of Metaphor:


Davidson’s (1991) thesis is that “metaphors mean what the words, in their most
literal interpretation, mean, and nothing more” (Davidson, 1991:495). He (Ibid) states
that the interpretation of a metaphor depends on imagination. Therefore, it is a creative
effort that is little guided by rules. Davidson denies the idea that a metaphor has a special
meaning because metaphor adds to the ordinary an achievement that depends on the
same semantic resources as the ordinary .So, metaphor does not say anything beyond its
literal meaning. It can not be paraphrased because “there is nothing there to paraphrase”,

30
and not because it says “something too novel for literal meaning” (Ibid: 496).Therefore,
Davidson decides to analyze metaphor pragmatically.

Davidson (Ibid: 502) maintains that metaphor must be explained by appeal to the
literal meaning of the words. He (ibid: 496) draws a distinction between what words
mean and what they are used to do. He says that metaphor belongs exclusively to the
domain of use because its meaning does not concern the meaning of the words but their
use. He adds that metaphor is brought off by the imaginative employment of words and
sentences and depends entirely on the ordinary meaning of the sentences they comprise.
He (ibid) maintains that metaphor makes us notice some likeness, often a new or
surprising one, between two or more things even though this is not asserted explicitly. In
general, Davidson (Ibid: 502) maintains that it is only when a sentence is taken to be
false that we accept it as a metaphor and start looking for its hidden implication.

For Davidson (Ibid: 497), certain words (used metaphorically) take on new, or
what often called “extended” meanings. For example,

(27) “The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”.

Davidson (ibid) admits that , in this utterance, it is natural to posit unusual or


metaphorical meanings to help explain the similarities metaphor promotes. Davidson
argues that this account is not complete, for if the word “face” applies correctly to
waters, then waters really do have faces, and all sense of metaphor evaporates. Therefore,
if words in metaphors are applied directly to what they properly do apply to, there is no
difference between metaphor and the introduction of a new term into our vocabulary.
Davidson concludes that metaphor depends, in some way, on the original meaning.

Davidson (Ibid: 503-504) asserts that a metaphor expresses only what is given in
the literal meaning of its words. It usually expresses either a patent falsehood or an
absurd truth. Therefore, it can not be paraphrased. When we paraphrase a metaphor, we
31
do not attempt to give its meaning, which lies on the surface, but evoke what the
metaphor brings to our attention. In fact, there is no limit to what a metaphor calls to our
attention. Therefore, when we try to say what a metaphor “means”, we realize that there
is no end to what we want to mention.
To conclude, Davidson (Ibid: 504-505) considers that metaphor has a hidden
power and not a hidden meaning .It has effects on us but it does not contain these effects.
It makes us appreciate some fact, but not by standing for or expressing the fact.

1.5.4.Bergmann’s Theory of Metaphor :


Bergmann (1991) provides a theoretical account of the assertive use of
metaphor. She argues that “metaphors can be used and used successfully to make
assertions”(Bergmann, 1991: 485). She (ibid) admits that metaphors are rich, in the sense
that they invite many readings, or suggest many things, and diverse ones. Bergmann
(Ibid) argues that “ not only is the richness of metaphor compatible with its use in
making assertions; but, in addition, our assessments of the richness of metaphors are
based on the workings of the same linguistic mechanism which enables us to make and
understand specific assertions with metaphors.” Therefore, in her view, the richness of
metaphor does not preclude its use to make assertions.

For Bergmann (Ibid: 486), a person who uses metaphor to make an assertion
typically does not intend to assert everything that we can “read into” the metaphor, nor
does the audience typically attribute all of those readings to the author. She echoes
Davidson’s (1991) view that metaphors mean only what they literally mean and that the
provision of a well-defined context and a real author may make it possible to state
conclusively what metaphor “means” without drawing out all that it could mean.

Bergmann (Ibid: 487) is not of the opinion that metaphors are always used to
make assertions. She focuses on assertive metaphors that occur in conversational
contexts. She maintains that metaphor is related to the use of language and must not be

32
classified according to the illocutionary force, but according to three dimensions:
Sincerity (truth-telling or lying), purpose (illocutionary force), and manner (the
systematic relation between the words used and the content of the illocutionary act). So,
for her, the identification of a sentence as a metaphor is a classification according to
manner. In assertive metaphor, there are two distinct identifications as to use: The
sentence is being used as a metaphor, and to assert. She adds that propositions are
language independent entities. Therefore, when language is used literally to assert a
proposition, the proposition is the meaning of the sentence used. In other words, the
words literally express the proposition. In the case of metaphor, we do not assert the
proposition that is literally expressed by the sentence. Hence, a distinction must be made
between sentence meaning and speaker’s meaning (cf. Searle 1977, 1979)

Bergman (ibid: 487) maintains that, in metaphor, the content of what is


communicated is a direct function of salient characteristics associated with (at least) part
of the expression rather than of the literal meaning of that part. She (ibid) points out that
the salient characteristics of a thing are those which we would typically list immediately
if asked to state what we believe is distinctive of that thing .For example,

(28) “John is an Einstein”.

In (28), the proposition asserted is a function of the literal meaning of “John” and of
salient characteristics, such as intelligence, associated with “Einstein”. For her (Ibid:
489), metaphorical assertions are distinguishable from literal ones not by the content of
what is said, but by the manner of saying it .She (Ibid: 488) stresses the idea that
“salience is context-dependent”, and that the properties or relations may be ephemerally
rather than eternally salient. This context includes the proposition asserted, in addition to
the background knowledge about parties to the conversation. Therefore, salience relation
with the expressions in metaphor is the basis for determining the content of metaphorical
assertions. To illustrate,

33
(29) “Life is a game”.
To understand utterance (29),we try to find the characteristics which are distinctive
of games and attribute them to life.

Bergmann (Ibid: 484) concludes that metaphors may be used to make assertions.
An assertion is true if the proposition asserted is true, and false otherwise. This truth or
falsehood must be tied to the assertion made, not to the sentence used. However, for an
assertive metaphor to be successful, it has to fulfil three conditions, which are as follows:

1. The audience must recognize that the literal content of the sentence is
conversationally inappropriate and that the author’s utterance is a metaphor.

2. The audience must recognize the author’s utterance as an assertion.

3. The audience must properly identify the proposition the author intended to assert.
This can be done by choosing salient characteristics that are believed to be mutual
knowledge in the conversational setting.

Bergmann (Ibid: 489-490) gives five arguments to substantiate her claim


concerning the relation between the richness of metaphor and its assertive use:
1. The salience relation distinguishes metaphor from other tropes.
2. Understanding metaphor involves more than understanding word meaning.
3. A metaphor used assertively may not admit of a simple paraphrase either
because there is a lexical gap in our vocabulary, or because there is no literal
paraphrase that can capture the suggestiveness of a metaphor or give its insight.
4. There is no one answer to the question “Why do we use metaphors?”
5. The assessment of the richness of metaphors is based on the workings of the same
linguistic mechanism that makes it possible to make specific assertions with metaphor.
In fact, this mechanism is the salience relation between the expression used and the
content of what is communicated.
34
Bergmann (Ibid: 492) concludes that it is the reliance on the associated salient
characteristics rather than the purpose for which an expression is used that makes a
linguistic act a metaphorical one. So, metaphors can be used successfully to make
assertions.

1.5.5.Martinich’s Theory of Metaphor:

According to Martinich (1991:507), “metaphor is pragmatically and not


semantically based”. He (Ibid: 517) maintains that the literal or metaphorical use of a
sentence depends on the context of its use. This leads him to rely on Grice’s (1975)
theory of communication in order to explain metaphor. Following Grice, Martinich (Ibid:
508) makes a distinction between “saying-that” and “making –as-if-to-say”. The former
is closely tied to the words actually uttered and their ordinary meaning. The latter,
however, is realized by flouting the maxim of quality. Martinich notes that in the case of
metaphor, the speaker is not speaking falsely. He aims at the truth because he does not
say-that anything but only makes-as-if-to-say something, and his words are not taken
literally. Also, Martinich draws a distinction between what the speaker says (or makes-
as-if-to-say) and what he implies. He (Ibid: 508-509) points out that Bergmann’s view
that metaphors are typically used successfully to make true assertions is defective
because it conflates the previous elements. Martinich (ibid) rightly observes that
Bergmann (1991) does not distinguish between what is conversationally implied by a
metaphor, and what a speaker asserts by a metaphor. For example,

(30) “Mary is a butterfly".

This utterance is patently false if it is an assertion, what is not false is its implication.

35
Martinich (Ibid: 509) argues that conversational implication is crucial to the
understanding of metaphor. In fact, saying that P conversationally implies that Q just in
case:
1. The speaker has said (or made-as-if-to-say) that P.
2. The speaker is observing the conversational maxim or at least the
cooperative principle.
3. The satisfaction of conditions (1) and (2) jointly makes it highly plausible
that the speaker means that Q.

Martinich (Ibid: 504) states that “the audience must use reasoning in order to
calculate what implication has been made". Therefore, Grice’s (1975) conversational
maxims are not enough to understand what has been implicated. Martinich adds
“inference” as an important feature of a conversational implication.

For Martinich (Ibid: 510), every metaphor is (or is thought to be) either literally
false or supposed to be false. Therefore, he concludes that there are two types of
metaphor:
a-Standard Metaphors: They are literally false and cannot be asserted. They
flout the second maxim of quality because they are cases of making-as-if-to-say.
b-Nonstandard Metaphors: They are supposed to be false. This does not mean
that they are intended to be false but are treated as if they were false in order to consider
their consequences. They are rare and would be literally true if asserted. For example, if
Princess Grace of Monaco is speaking with an American friend about her daughter
Caroline, she might say:

(31) “Caroline is our princess”.

For Martinich (Ibid: 514), utterance (33) would be literally true if asserted
because it is obvious that Caroline is from a princely family. Therefore, the utterance
must be intended metaphorically in order not to flout the maxim of Quantity and be
36
defective .So, the speaker must be implying something else. The audience can calculate
the intended meaning of the utterance by supposing that the utterance is false (it flouts
the maxim of quality) and test the consequences.

In general, Martinich (Ibid: 514-515) observes, “if the metaphorical proposition


does not appear to be patently false, the audience is led to suppose that the literally true
proposition must be supposed to be false in order to understand what the speaker means
and interpret it as a standard metaphor”. In Martinich’s view standard and nonstandard
cases of metaphor are united by two elements: (a) the role that falsity plays in generating
the metaphor, and (b) the characteristic form of conversational implication. In every
metaphor, the speaker utters one thing and means something inconsistent with what he
said. So, every metaphorical proposition is false .However, its point is not false. It is
typically true and conversationally implied in virtue of the fact that the speaker flouts the
first maxim of Quality.
Martinich (Ibid: 510-511) makes a distinction between “metaphor” and a “lie”. For
him, “no metaphor is a lie", because while metaphor flouts the maxim of Quality, a lie
violates it. In fact, the hearer relies on the ostentatious falsity of the utterance as one
important clue that the speaker is speaking metaphorically. Furthermore, Martinich
maintains that a falsehood would make sense in the context only if it were disguised and
the audience is justified in believing that the speaker is observing the conversational
maxims. The speaker signifies by an implicature which is worked out using what
Martinich calls “salient features” which help the audience determine the properties of the
metaphorical term that the speaker is thinking of. Martinich notes that not all salient
properties are meant by the speaker. Therefore, these properties must be further reduced
using two more principles:
1. Inference, to determine what the speaker conversationally implies. This
inference involves the maxim of relation.
2. The properties intended are only those that contribute to a true conclusion.

37
Martinich (Ibid: 516) identifies three principles that constrain the premises that
are added to a metaphor in order to infer its point:
a-Salience: These premises must involve features that are salient to the
metaphorical term.
b-Relevance: They must fulfil the maxim of relation by being relevant to the
topic of the conversation .
c-Truth-production: They must form a premise that ends to yield a true
conclusion.

Martinich (Ibid: 512) disagrees with Davidson’s (1991:495) idea that sentences
used metaphorically retain their literal meaning. He (ibid) further argues that the
comparison theory of metaphor is false because not all metaphors "trade on similarity".
Moreover, Martinich (Ibid: 515-516) rightly observes that Grice’s (1975) formulation of
the maxim of quality is too narrow because it applies only to speech acts that have truth
values. Therefore, he replaces this maxim by his maxim: “Do not participate in a speech
act unless you satisfy all the conditions for its successful and nondefective
performance.” The preceding observation explains why Martinich considers Searle's
(1977, 1979) theory of metaphor weak. In fact, Searle has dealt only with standard cases
of metaphor, which flout the maxim of Quality.

1.6.Irony:
1.6.0. Introduction:

In his work (1970:4), Muecke agrees with Kierkeguard’s claim that “no authentic
human life is possible without irony.” He (ibid), following Goethe, emphasized the
importance of irony by describing it as “that little grain of salt that alone renders the dish
palatable.” This importance comes from the fact that Irony produces “a supreme effect
through means the least extravagant.” This effect is achieved by the contrast between the
reality and appearance, which irony promotes. Irony, according to Ernest Behler
(1990:111), is an “attempt to transcend the restrictions of normal discourse
38
and straightforward speech”. It also accomplishes “what lies beyond the reach of direct
communication”. Muecke (ibid: 35) notes that in deceptions, the reality is withheld.
However, in irony, the real meaning is meant to be inferred .In fact, it is not completely
withheld because it is implicit and not meant to be immediately apprehensible.

Muecke (ibid: 7) admits that “the concept of irony is vague, unstable


and multiform”. He (ibid: 56) identifies two types of irony: observable and verbal.
Observable irony involves a disparity between what might be expected and what actually
happens. The ironist presents something ironic, such as a situation, a sequence of events,
etc. For example, a robber who was robbed. Verbal irony involves semantic inversion. In
this case, the ironist says something in order to have it rejected as false. In our research,
we will focus on verbal irony.

1.6.1. Definition:

According to Muecke (1970: 15-17), “Irony” comes from the Greek word
“Eironeria”. This term was first recorded in Plato’s Republic and it seems to have meant
‘a smooth, low-down way of taking people in’. Later, this term was applied to the
deceptive use of language before becoming a figure of rhetoric. This term did not appear
in English literature until 1502, and it was until the eighteenth century that it came into
general literary use. Muecke (ibid) adds that the concept of irony developed very slowly.
It is regarded now as a figure of speech which is defined as ‘saying the contrary of what
one means’. This definition is confirmed by the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
(1995) and Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1961). According to the former,
“irony” is “the expression of one’s meaning by saying the direct opposite of what one is
thinking but using tone of voice to indicate one’s real meaning”. The latter defines
“irony” as a “sort of humour, ridicule, or light sarcasm, the intended implication of which
is the opposite of the literal sense of the words”.

39
From the above, we can conclude that irony is a figure of speech by which one
intends to convey the opposite of what one says and the hearer understands the contrary
of what the speaker says .So, how is the intended meaning of an ironical utterance
worked out?

1.6.2. The Concept of Irony:

The idea that the literal and the intended meaning of an ironical utterance are
contradictory is accepted by many scholars. Searle (1977, 1979:113) notes that, in irony,
“the utterance if taken literally is grossly inappropriate to the situation. To render it
appropriate, the hearer has to interpret it as meaning the opposite of its literal form”.
Bergmann (1991:489) observes that “the relation in irony is one of inversion: what is
meant is the opposite of what is literally expressed”. Grice (1975:53) explains irony in
terms of conversational implicature. For him, irony is a case of flouting the maxim of
Quality .Therefore, the intended meaning of an ironical proposition is the contradictory
of its literal meaning. Martinich (1991:513) echoes Grice’s view. For him, ironical
utterances are cases of making-as-if-to-say. So, the contravention of the maxim of
Quality is only apparent and not genuine and the speaker means just the opposite of what
he makes-as-if-to-say.

This view is shared by many other scholars, including Muecke (1970:33), who
points out that “the basic feature of every irony is a contrast between reality and
appearance”. Similarly, Behler (1990:76) considers that “the most basic characteristic of
all forms of classical irony is always that the intention of the speaker is opposed to what
he actually says”.

1.6.3. Sperber and Wilson’s Theory of Irony:

Sperber and Wilson's (1981) account of irony explains why ironical utterances are
made, and why they occasionally (but not always) implicate the opposite of what they

40
literally say. Their theory is not based on the assumption that the literal meaning of an
ironical utterance is the opposite of its intended meaning. Also, their theory makes no
reference to the notion of figurative meaning and involves no substitution mechanism
(Sperber and Wilson, 1991:551). They (ibid: 550-551) argue that both the existing
semantic and pragmatic accounts of irony are seriously defective. In their view, the
traditional semantic theory analyzes irony as literally saying one thing and figuratively
meaning the opposite. However, this theory neither provides a definition of figurative
meaning and a mechanism for deriving it, nor does it explain why figurative utterances
exist. Concerning the pragmatic approach, Grice (1975) asserts that ironical utterances
would conversationally implicate, rather than figuratively mean, the opposite of what
they literally say. Sperber and Wilson (ibid) maintain that "Grice's purely pragmatic
account of irony also fails", because it differs from traditional theories only in the
substitution mechanism, which is not semantic but pragmatic.

Sperber and Wilson (1981: 552) strongly reject the notion of figurative meaning.
For them, almost every utterance is ambiguous even if we consider the literal meaning
only, and it is the context that allows the choice of a single interpretation. Moreover,
their analysis (ibid: 557) differs from Grice's analysis in two main respects. First, the
violation of the maxim of truthfulness is not necessary for ironical interpretation because
of the existence of ironical questions, ironical understatements, and ironical references to
the inappropriateness or irrelevance of an utterance rather than to the fact that it is false.
Second, patent falsehood or irrelevance is not a sufficient condition for irony because not
every false or irrelevant utterance can be interpreted as ironical.

To provide a better account of irony, Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 551) suggest that
rhetorical judgements are ultimately based on intuition and they may be affected by
explicit teaching or conscious theorizing. Consider example (32) for illustration:

(32)"what lovely weather".

41
Sperber and Wilson's preceding example shows that anyone who has been taught the
traditional definition of irony (saying one thing and meaning the opposite) would
consider utterance (32), which is said by someone caught in a downpour, ironical.
However, it is the definition of irony which is directly responsible for the judgements
which confirm it. Sperber and Wilson opt for looking for intuitive relationships among
the data and intuitive ways of grouping them, which must not simply reflect conscious
explicitly defined categories.

According to Sperber and Wilson (1981: 552), the abstractness of the notion of
irony results in the mistake of not taking irony itself as the object of investigation and
confining the study to standard cases of irony. They add that there are many utterances
that can be "more or less loosely called ironical". So, the basic facts to be accounted for
are the particular effects produced by particular utterances, and the perceived similarities
among them. Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 553) provide eight cases of utterances exchanged
between two people caught in a downpour in order to make their analysis explicit.
Utterance (32) is reproduced here as (33).

(33) What lovely weather.

(34) It seems to be raining.

(35) I'm glad we didn't bother to bring an umbrella.

(36) Did you remember to water the flowers?

(37) What awful weather.

(38) It seems to be thundering.

(39) I'm sorry we didn't bother to bring an umbrella.

(40) Did you remember to bring in the washing?

42
Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 554) consider that the speaker of (33)-(36) dissociates
himself from the content of his utterance because it is clearly false (33 and 35) or clearly
irrelevant (34 and 36). They add that (33) – (36) express an attitude of the speaker to the
content of his utterance, whereas (37)-(40) express an attitude of the speaker to what his
utterance is about. This crucial distinction is missed by both standard semantic and
pragmatic accounts of irony .The latter do not make a distinction between the ironical
utterance (33) and the literal utterance (37). Sperber and Wilson call this distinction a
distinction between the “use” and “mention” of an expression. The first involves
reference to what the expression refers to, and the second involves reference to the
expression itself. Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 555) point out that mention can be of a
linguistic expression or a proposition, and it can be either implicit or explicit. They add
that mention of a proposition is harder to identify than the mention of a linguistic
expression, and implicit mention is harder to identify than explicit mention .Therefore,
the most difficult case to identify is the implicit mention of a proposition. Sperber and
Wilson (ibid) maintain that ironical utterances are an example of implicit mention of
propositions which have so far been overlooked or misinterpreted, because they are
difficult to identify.

For Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 556-558), it is more accurate to interpret irony as
an echoic mention. In general, echoic mention is used to indicate that the preceding
utterance has been heard and understood .It expresses the hearer's immediate reaction to
it and does not intend to inform anyone of the content of a preceding utterance. Sperber
and Wilson (ibid) add that when the echoic character of the utterance is not immediately
obvious, it is nevertheless suggested. On the basis of the above, they (ibid:559) maintain
that all standard cases of irony ,and many that are not standard from the traditional point
of view , involve (generally implicit) mention of a proposition . These cases of mention
are interpreted as echoing a remark or opinion that the speaker wants to characterize as
ludicrously inappropriate or irrelevant. In their view, this account, which makes no
appeal to the notion of figurative meaning, gives a more detailed description of a much
wider range of examples of irony than the traditional account can handle.

43
Sperber and Wilson (1981: 557) assert that the recognition of an ironical utterance
as a case of mention (not use) is crucial to its interpretation, and that once the speaker has
recognized this, and has seen the speaker's attitude to the proposition mentioned, the
implicatures follow by standard reasoning processes. The speaker's attitude to the
proposition mentioned is indicated by his choice of words, his tone, and the immediate
context. Therefore, their account, as they claim, fits more naturally into Grice's overall
framework than the account he himself proposes.

To conclude, Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 562) consider that their theory, unlike
Grice's, assumes that there is a necessary semantic condition for an utterance to be
ironical. It must be a case of mention in order to be distinguished from cases where the
same proposition is used in order to make an assertion, ask a question, and so on. This
semantic distinction is crucial to the explanation of how ironical utterances are
interpreted, and why they exist. Furthermore, their analysis differs from both the
semantic and the logical-pragmatic approaches which claim that an ironical utterance
consists solely of propositions intended by the speaker and recoverable by the hearer. In
fact, Sperber and Wilson maintain that ironical utterances convey not only propositions,
but also vaguer suggestions of images and attitudes. The latter cannot be made entirely
explicit in propositional form. Therefore, their analysis of irony as a case of echoic
mention crucially involves the evocation of an attitude of the speaker to the proposition
mentioned, and it appeals to independently motivated concepts, such as literal use,
implicature, etc. Thus, the understanding of irony has nonpropositional and nondeductive
aspects.

Finally, Sperber and Wilson suggest that a logical-pragmatic theory dealing with
the interpretation of utterances as an inferential process must be supplemented by what
they call a " rhetorical-pragmatic", or "rhetorical" theory dealing with evocation.

44
1.7. Conclusion:

The previous review of the literature reveals that the understanding of any utterance
depends on the context in which it is used. Therefore, we have seen that “sentence
meaning” is not always the same as “utterance meaning”. We have also shown how
“metaphor” and “irony” are examples of the nonliteral use of language. In these two
cases, “sentence meaning” is different from “utterance meaning”. In addition to that, we
examined different strategies for working out both the metaphorical meaning and the
ironical meaning. These strategies are based, mainly, on Grice’s principles of linguistic
communication, which regulate our talk exchanges.

Our task in the next chapter is to deal with the thorny issue of metaphorical irony.
For this purpose, we are going to provide a detailed discussion of Searle's (1977, 1979)
theory of metaphor. After that, we are going to discuss the phenomenon of “irony” and
choose an adequate pragmatic approach that can handle it effectively. Finally, we are
going to synthesize the preceding approach and Searle's (1977, 1979) inferential strategy
for working out the metaphorical meaning of a metaphorical utterance. This synthesis
will hopefully yield the principles on which metaphorical irony is based, the inferential
strategy for computing the meaning of a metaphorical utterance that is used ironically,
and how this utterance is used in rational communicative activities.

45
Chapter two:

Combining Searle's Theory of Metaphor


and Grice's Theory of Implicature.

46
2.0.Introduction :

In this chapter, we attempt to develop an adequate theory that would enable us to


account successfully for a rather illusive aspect of pragmatic meaning, namely,
metaphorical irony .For this purpose, we shall rely on Searle's (1977,1979) theory of
metaphor, Grice's (1975) notion of irony, and Sperber and Wilson's (1981) theory of
irony. Our ultimate goal is to develop an adequate approach to the analysis of
metaphorical irony by formulating the type of inferential strategy which the hearer, in
principle, uses for working out the intended meaning of a metaphorical utterance that is
used ironically.

2.1. Searle's Theory of Metaphor:

The main goal of Searle's (1977, 1979) theory of metaphor is to determine the
principles that relate the literal sentence meaning to the metaphorical utterance meaning.
This allows Searle to formulate the inferential strategy on which the metaphorical
interpretation is based. In order to achieve his goal, Searle starts by providing a clear
characterization of the concept of "metaphor". He begins by drawing a distinction
between the "literal meaning" and the "metaphorical meaning" of a metaphorical
utterance. In a next step, he proposes a clear and general formulation of the problem of
metaphor that is consistent with the task and objectives of his theory of metaphor before
he attempts to relieve metaphor of a number of misconceptions, such as that metaphor is
equivalent to a statement of similarity, or that metaphor is paraphrasable.

2.1.1. Literal Utterance versus Metaphorical Utterance:

Searle (1979:76-77) states that in metaphorical utterances, the speaker means


metaphorically something different from what the sentence means literally. This leads
him to draw a distinction between “word (or sentence) meaning” and “speaker’s
utterance meaning”. Searle (ibid) maintains that the metaphorical meaning of a sentence
depends on its literal meaning, and that the sentences and words, used metaphorically,

47
have only the meanings that they have because the metaphorical meaning represents
“possible speaker’s intentions”.

Searle (ibid: 76-81) asserts that, in most cases, a sentence only determines a set of
truth conditions against certain factual background assumptions that are not explicitly
realized in the semantic structure of the sentence. Thus, even in literal utterances, the
speaker must contribute more to the literal utterance than just the semantic content of the
sentence. To illustrate, let us consider example (1):

(1) “Sally is tall”.

The preceding literal utterance contains the relative term “tall”. The latter only
determines a definite set of truth conditions against a background of factual assumptions
which are not explicitly realized in the semantic structure of the sentence. Thus, Sally
can correctly be described as “tall” even though she is shorter than a giraffe that could
correctly be described as short.

Searle (ibid: 81) notes that literal utterances are characterized by three aspects:

1. The literal sentence meaning and the speaker’s utterance meaning are the
same.

2. The literal meaning of a sentence only determines a set of truth


conditions relative to a set of background assumptions that are not part
of the semantic content of the sentence.

3. The notion of similarity plays a crucial role in any account of the literal
predication.

Searle (ibid:84) concludes that the understanding of literal utterances, unlike


metaphorical utterances, does not require any extra knowledge beyond the

48
knowledge of the rules of language, the awareness of the conditions of utterance,
and the set of shared background assumptions. However, in metaphorical utterances,
sentence meaning and utterance meaning are different. Thus, the hearer needs other
principles, or some factual information that would enable him to figure out that
when the speaker says “S is P”, he means “S is R”. Searle (1977, 1979) makes it his
task to identify and formulate such principles.

2.1.2.The Problem of Understanding Metaphor :

According to Searle (1979:76-77), the problem of explaining how metaphors


work is a "special case of the problem of how it is possible to say one thing and mean
something else". In fact, in metaphor, sentence meaning and speaker's meaning are
different. However, there is a relation between them .For Searle (ibid), the main
problem of metaphor concerns the relations between word or sentence meaning , on
the one hand , and speaker's meaning or utterance meaning , on the other.

In order to solve this problem, Searle (ibid: 83-84) proposes a general formula
of the metaphorical utterance as follows: "A speaker utters a sentence of the form S is P
and means metaphorically that S is R ". Therefore, he (ibid) identifies three specific
elements in the analysis of metaphorical predication:

1. The subject expression “S” and the object or objects it is used to refer to.

2. The predicate expression “P” that is uttered and the literal meaning of that
expression with its corresponding truth conditions, plus the denotation if there is any.

3. The speaker’s utterance meaning “S” is “R” and the truth conditions
determined by that meaning.

Using this general formulation, Searle (ibid) concludes that the identification of the
principles that relate sentence meaning to utterance (metaphorical) meaning can be

49
achieved by answering the following two questions: How is it possible for the speaker
to say metaphorically “S is P” and mean “S is R “, when P plainly does not mean R? And
how is it possible for the hearer who hears the utterance “S is P “to know that the speaker
means “S is R “?

From the above , Searle(ibid) comes to the conclusion that the problem of metaphor
concerns the characterization of the relations between the three sets S, P , and R, in
addition to the specification of other information and principles that enable the speaker
to go from " S is P " to "S is R" .Let us consider the following example for illustration:

(2a)"Ahmed is a lion".

In the case of the metaphorical utterance (2a), the speaker means and wants to
communicate that:

(2b) "Ahmed is courageous".

According to Searle's generalization, the problem of explaining the metaphorical


utterance (2a) concerns the relations between " Ahmed", the "lion", and "courage",
and how do we move from the metaphorical utterance (2a) to the literal one
(2b).Searle's task, therefore, is to determine the principles that speakers and hearers
exploit when they utter "S is P" and both mean and communicate "S is R ".

50
2.1.3.Metaphor and Similarity:

Searle (1979:85) maintains that both the comparison theories, which hold that
metaphorical utterances involve a comparison or similarity between two or more
objects, and the semantic interaction theories, which claim that metaphor involves a
verbal opposition or interaction between the semantic content of the expression used
metaphorically and that of the surrounding literal context are inadequate. He (Ibid:
106) asserts that the first theory is best construed as an attempt to answer the
question of "how do we compute the possible values of R?" The second, however, is
best construed as an answer to the question of "given a range of possible values of R,
how does the relationship between the S term and the P term restrict that range?"

According to Searle (1979:86), the statement of similarity is not part of the


meaning of a metaphorical utterance; rather it is the "principle of inference" or a
"step in the process of comprehending" metaphors. Searle (ibid: 88) argues that
"similarity has to do with the production and understanding of metaphor, not with its
meaning ". Therefore, a statement of similarity cannot be considered a necessary
feature of metaphor because similarity functions as a comprehension strategy, not as
a component of meaning.

Searle (1979: 88-95) provides many arguments to substantiate his claim.


First, he considers similarity as a "vacuous predicate" because, for him, "any two
things are similar in some respect or other". This explains why he regards similarity
as playing a crucial role in the analysis of both literal and metaphorical utterances.
Second, the meaning of a metaphorical statement cannot always be given by an
explicit statement of similarity, as in utterance (3a):

(3a)" Sally is a block of ice".

51
The preceding utterance can be taken to mean:

(3b)" Sally is unemotional".

However, there do not seem to be any literal similarities between objects which are
cold and people who are unemotional. Third, though similarity often plays a role in
the comprehension of metaphor, the metaphorical assertion is not an assertion of
similarity. In fact, even where there are objects of comparison, the metaphorical
assertion is not necessarily an assertion of similarity. Finally, the metaphorical
assertion can remain true even though it turns out that the statement of similarity on
which the inference to the metaphorical meaning is based is false. For example,
utterance:

(4a)"Richard is a gorilla"

can be taken to mean:

(4b)"Richard is fierce"

even though gorillas are timid. This shows that utterance (4a) is just about Richard;
it is not literally about gorillas.

2.1.4. Paraphrasing and Metaphor :

According to Searle (1979:81-83), the paraphrase of a metaphorical utterance


expresses a large part of speaker's utterance meaning because the truth conditions of

52
the metaphorical utterance and its paraphrase are the same. To illustrate, the
metaphorical utterance (5a):

(5a) "It's getting hot in here"

corresponds to the paraphrase :

(5b) "the argument that is going on is becoming more vituperative".

In this example, the paraphrase (5b) expresses literally what the speaker means
when he utters the first sentence (5a) and means it metaphorically. In other words,
paraphrasing is a procedure that consists in the literal expression of the intended
meaning of a metaphorical utterance.

According to Searle (ibid: 82), "the speaker's metaphorical assertion will be true
if, and only if, the corresponding assertion using the "PAR" [paraphrase] sentence is
true". Therefore, the paraphrase must approximate the speaker's intended meaning,
but it can not fully express it. Searle (ibid) states that when we paraphrase an
utterance, we "feel that the paraphrase is somehow inadequate, that something is
lost". In fact, paraphrasing a metaphorical utterance makes it lose its power. This is
due to the fact that if paraphrased, a metaphor loses its effect on the hearer. The latter
does not need, in this case, to go through any inferential strategy in order to grasp the
intended meaning of the utterance. In fact, this intended meaning will be expressed
directly by the corresponding paraphrase.

Searle (ibid: 83) points out that, in some cases, we may have an indefinite
range of paraphrases. To illustrate, Romeo's saying:

53
(6a) "Juliet is the sun"

can have many paraphrases, such as:

(6b) "Juliet is beautiful",

(6c) "Juliet is far from being reached", etc.

In other cases, however, even if we feel that we know exactly what the metaphor
means, we find it difficult to give it a literal paraphrase because there are no literal
expressions that convey its meaning. A simple example provided by Searle is:

(7) "The ship ploughed the sea".

The latter metaphorical utterance can not be paraphrased even if it contains no


obscurity. Searle (ibid) asserts that metaphors compensate for these semantic gaps.

Searle (ibid: 114) explains the unparaphrasability of metaphorical utterances by


the fact that the semantic content which occurs in the hearer's comprehension of the
utterance cannot be reproduced without using the metaphorical expression. In
metaphorical utterances, Searle notes, we do more than just state that S is R, we state
that S is R by way of going through the meaning of S is P. Searle (ibid) argues that
the paraphrase can no more than reproduce the truth conditions of the metaphorical
utterance. However, the metaphorical utterance does not only convey its truth
conditions, but it does so by way of another semantic content, whose truth conditions
are not part of the conditions of the utterance.

54
2.1.5. The Principles of Metaphorical Interpretation:

According to Searle (1979:104), when a speaker utters "S is P" and means
metaphorically that "S is R" , "the utterance of P calls to mind the meaning and ,
hence, the truth conditions associated with R , in the special ways that metaphorical
utterances have of calling other things to mind". Searle (ibid : 107-111) thus attempts
to identify the principles according to which the utterance calls the metaphorical
meaning to mind and proposes nine such principles for the computation of the values
of R . These principles are as follows:

Principle 1 : Things which are P are by definition R. Usually , if the metaphor


works, R will be one of the salient defining characteristics of P . Using this principle,
the metaphorical utterance:

(8a) “Sam is a giant"

can be taken to mean the paraphrase:

(8b) “Sam is big”

because giants are by definition big.

Principle2: Things which are P are contingently R .Again, if the metaphor works,
the property R should be a salient or well- known property of P things. To illustrate,

(9a) “Sam is a pig”

will be taken to mean

(9b) “Sam is filthy, gluttonous, and sloppy, etc"

Searle (ibid: 107) notes that the principles 1 and 2 correlate metaphorical
utterances with literal similes. In our case, for example,

(8c) "Sam is like a giant"

55
and

(9c) "Sam is like a pig".

He (ibid: 108) maintains that, in connection with principles 2 and 3, small variations in
the P term can create big differences in the R terms. In example (9a), if we replace the P
term "pig" by "hog ", the meaning will be different. In fact,

(10a) "Sam is a hog"

might mean

(10b) "Sam is fat, lazy, etc".

Principle 3 : Things which are P are often said or believed to be R , even though
both speaker and hearer may know that R is false of P . For example,

(11a) "Richard is a gorilla"

can be taken to mean

(11b)“Richard is mean, prone to violence, etc”

although both speaker and hearer know that gorillas are , in fact , timid and sensitive. So,
metaphor works in spite of the falsity of the shared background assumptions between a
speaker and a hearer .

Principle 4: Things which are P are not R, nor are they like R things, nor are they
believed to be R; nonetheless, it is a fact about our sensibility, whether culturally or
naturally determined, that we just do perceive a connection, so that P is associated in our
minds with R properties. For example, the metaphorical utterances:

(12a) "I am in a black mood".

(13a) "Mary is sweet".

(14a) "John is bitter".

56
(15a) "The hours crawled (dragged/ sped/ crept/ whizzed/…) by as we
waited for the plane

Can respectively mean:

(12b) "I am angry and depressed".

(13b)"Mary is gentle, timid, pleasant, etc".

(14b) "John is resentful".

(15b)"The hours seemed (of varying degrees of duration) as we waited for


the plane.

In all the preceding examples, there are no literal similarities on which these

metaphors are based.

Principle 5: P things are not like R things, and are not believed to be like R things;
nonetheless the conditions of being P are like the conditions of being R. Thus, the
metaphorical utterance:

(16) “You have become an aristocrat”

can be said to someone who has just received a huge promotion. Utterance (16) does not
mean that the person has personally become like an aristocrat, but that his new status is
like that of being an aristocrat.

Principle 6 : There are cases where P and R are the same or similar in meaning , but
where one , usually P , is restricted in its application and does not literally apply to S .To
illustrate, we can metaphorically say:

(17) “That parliament was addled”

57
or

(18)" His brain is addled"

even though the adjective "addled" is only said literally of eggs.

Principle 7 : This is not a separate principle but a way of applying principles 1-6 to
simple cases which are not of the form S is P , but relational metaphors, and metaphors
of other syntactical forms such as those involving verbs and predicate adjectives .In this
case the hearer has to go from “SP- relation S” to “SR-relation S” (not from “S is P “ to
“S is R”). He has to find a relation (or property) that is similar to, or otherwise associated
with, the relation or property literally expressed by the metaphorical expression P. For
example, utterances:

(19a) "Sam devours books ".

(20a) "Washington was the father of his country"

can be paraphrased as:

(19b) "Sam reads a lot" (devouring is associated with a lot of


consumption)

(20b) "Washington cared a lot for his country" (the relation of a father
to his children involves a lot of care and attention)

Principle 8: P and R may be associated by such relations as the part-whole relation,


the container-contained relation, or even the clothing and wearer relation. This
association allows us to say "S is P" and mean metaphorically “S is R”. For example, we
can refer to the British monarch as "the crown" and say metaphorically:

(21) “The crown signed the treaty”.

Principle 9 : When we say “S is P” ,the different combinations of S and P create new


R's . The “S” term does not restrict the range of possible R’s generated by the P terms.

58
The different S terms restrict the values of R differently. In this case, the hearer can use
the principles 1-7 in order to compute the possible values of R. For example,

(22) “Sam's voice is mud (gravel/ sandpaper/ …)"

and

(23)“Kant’s second argument for the transcendental deduction is so


much mud(gravel/ sandpaper/ …)”.

The second set gives different metaphorical meanings from the first. This shows that
the different combinations of S and P create new R's. The latter can be true of a
special S term but not of another S term which is different from the first. In our
examples, the values of R which are true of voices can not be true of arguments.

2.1.6. Searle's Inferential Strategy:

Searle (1979:78) states that "the knowledge that enables people to use and
understand metaphorical utterances goes beyond their knowledge of the literal
meanings of words and sentences". He (ibid: 105-106) proposes a strategy that
involves three steps whereby the hearer can compute the metaphorical meaning of a
metaphorical utterance. Searle (ibid: 112) notes that this strategy can be applied
provided that the speaker and hearer have shared linguistic and factual knowledge
sufficient to enable them to communicate literal utterances. The strategy and the
steps it involves are as follows:

Step 1: Where the utterance is defective if taken literally, look for an


utterance meaning that differs from sentence meaning. For example, someone who
hears our utterance (9a), reproduced here as (24):

(24) "Sam is a pig"

recognizes that it is not intended literally because it is obviously false. Therefore,


this hearer is led to seek a different meaning which is metaphorical.

59
Step 2 : When you hear "S is P " , to find possible values of R , look for
ways in which S might be like P, and to fill in the respect in which S might be like
P , look for salient , well-known , and distinctive features of P things. In the
preceding example, the salient and well-known features of pigs is that they are
gluttonous, slovenly, filthy, etc. The latter features represent the possible values of
R. However, the range of these features is indefinite. So, the hearer has to go
through the third step in order to restrict the range of possible R's and understand the
metaphorical utterance.

Step 3: Go back to the S term and see which of the many candidates for the
values of R are likely or even possible properties of S.

Searle (ibid: 106) notes that "the hearer has to use his knowledge of S things and
P things to know which of the possible values of R are plausible candidates for
metaphorical predication". This knowledge allows the hearer to interpret the
following metaphorical utterances, for example, differently:

(24) "Sam is a pig"

and

(25) "Sam's car is a pig".

2.2. Irony:

2.2.1. Redefining Irony:

As we have seen in 1.6.1, "irony" is a figure of speech that involves a


contradiction between what is said and what is implied. In fact, most scholars
maintain that irony involves the preceding semantic inversion. Therefore, we are
going to assume that, in the case of irony, sentence meaning and utterance meaning
are contradictory.
60
Metaphorical irony, the object of our study, is a special type of irony. It
consists of a metaphorical utterance which is used ironically. Therefore, we are going
to base our analysis of metaphorical irony on two main approaches. The first is
Searle's (1977, 1979) approach to the phenomenon of metaphor. We have selected
this approach because it seems to be more systematic. In fact, Searle (1977, 1979)
has identified the steps in addition to the principles that can be used in metaphorical
interpretation. The second is Grice's (1975) approach to the phenomenon of irony.
The latter approach is the one that can be integrated in our overall pragmatic
framework. Therefore, we are not going to use Sperber and Wilson's (1981) theory of
irony because this theory analyzes irony as a case of echoic mention, which is a
semantic condition for an utterance to be ironical.

2.2.2. The Status of Irony in Grice's Theory of Implicature:

Grice (1975:53) analyzes irony in terms of his conversational implicature,


and considers it as a case of flouting the maxim of Quality. For him (ibid), in the
case of irony, "the most obviously related proposition is the contradictory of the one
he [the speaker] purports to be putting forward". His statement reveals that an
ironical utterance like :

(26a) "It is very hot",

as uttered by a speaker on a freezing day, would conversationally implicate the literal


utterance:

(26b) "It is very cold".

61
In this example, it is clear that the literal sentence meaning (26a) is the contradictory
of the ironical utterance meaning (26b).

Grice's characterization of the phenomenon of irony yields two main facts:


First, the speaker of an ironical utterance intends to get across the contradictory of
what he has literally said. Second, the hearer uses a pragmatic inference, based on the
assumption that the utterance is patently false if taken literally, in order to grasp the
speaker's intended (or ironical) meaning. In short, Grice views the flouting of the
maxim of Quality as a necessary condition for any ironical interpretation.

2.2.3. Searle's Approach to the Phenomenon of Irony:

Searle (1979:112-113) points out that there are similarities between the
principles on which metaphor and irony work. In fact, both in irony and metaphor,
speaker's meaning and sentence meaning are different. Also, these two figures of
speech do not require any conventions, extralinguistic or otherwise. Their basic
principles are provided by the principles of conversation and the general rules for
performing speech-acts. The difference between metaphor and irony concerns the
mechanisms by which they work. According to Searle (ibid), in the case of irony,
"the utterance, if taken literally, is obviously inappropriate to the situation. Since it is
grossly inappropriate, the hearer is compelled to reinterpret it in such a way as to
render it appropriate, and the most natural way to interpret it is as meaning the
opposite of its literal form". Let us consider example (27a) for illustration:

(27a) "You are very clever".

62
Using Searle's mechanism, utterance (27a), as said to somebody who has just given a
stupid idea, must be interpreted as meaning:

(27b) "You are very dull".

It is important to note that Searle's analysis of the phenomenon of irony is based


on the same mechanisms used by Grice (1975).

2.2.4.Sperber and Wilson's Theory of Irony:

Unlike Searle's (1977, 1979) and Grice's (1975) approaches to the


phenomenon of irony, Sperber and Wilson (1981) assert that ironical utterances do
occasionally (but not always) implicate the opposite of what they literally say. For
them (ibid: 553), if the main point of an ironical utterance is to convey the opposite
of what is said, irony would be uninformative both on the level of what is said and
what is implicated. So, the interpretation of ironical utterances can not be reduced to
the search for conversational implicature. They (ibid ) further argue that the idea
that the implicature could contradict the literal sense of an utterance (as in irony) is
not consistent with Grice's claim that implicatures act as premises in an argument
that establishes that the speaker has observed the maxims of conversation. In fact,
Sperber and Wilson (1981) do not consider the violation of the maxim of Qualitya
necessary feature for ironical interpretation. They (ibid: 552) further argue that the
study of irony must take into consideration the effects that particular utterances
produce, and the perceived similarities among these effects.

As we have seen in 1.6.3, Sperber and Wilson (1981) analyze irony as a case
of echoic mention because, in their opinion (ibid: 554), irony is a case of implicit
mention of a proposition. For them (ibid: 556), echoic mention expresses the
hearer's immediate reaction to an utterance and does not intend to inform anyone of
the content of a preceding utterance. Therefore, an implicit mention is interpreted as
echoing a remark or opinion that the speaker wants to characterize as ludicrously
inappropriate or irrelevant. Sperber and Wilson (ibid: 557) maintain that, after the

63
recognition of irony as a case of mention, the implicatures follow by standard
reasoning processes. So, their analysis involves the evocation of an attitude of the
speaker to the proposition mentioned. In short, Sperber and Wilson's (1981) theory
assumes that there is a necessary semantic condition for an utterance to ironical: It
must be a case of mention. This is the reason why we have not included this theory
in our pragmatic approach to metaphorical irony.

2.3. Building a Relevant Inferential Strategy for


Computing Metaphorical Irony:

Grice (1975:53) argues that "it is possible to combine metaphor and irony by
imposing on the hearer two stages of interpretation". Bergmann (1991:490) states
that "metaphor does not interfere with other tropes or figures, but it should not be
confused with them". The statements of these two scholars reveal that the existence
and use of metaphorical irony in the process of communication is possible. Our task
is to determine the principles on which metaphorical irony is based, and how it can
be interpreted.

According to Grice (ibid), the computation of the intended meaning of


metaphorical irony consists of two stages of interpretation. The first stage allows the
hearer to reach the metaphorical meaning of the utterance. The second stage, on the
other hand, helps the hearer determine the ironical meaning. To illustrate,

(28a) "You are the cream in my coffee".

In order to analyze metaphorical irony (28a), Grice (ibid) asserts that the hearer has
first to go through the metaphorical meaning

(28b) "You are my pride and joy"

before he reaches the ironical meaning

(28c) "You are my bane".

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So, let us begin by working out an adequate inferential strategy that makes the
interpretation of metaphorical irony possible.

In general, the hearer has, first, to use Searle's (1977, 1979) inferential strategy
for computing the metaphorical meaning (see 2.1.6). This strategy allows the hearer
to determine the metaphorical meaning of the utterance. After that, the hearer
recognizes that this metaphorical meaning is patently false if taken literally. This
leads him to reinterpret the metaphorical meaning of the utterance by doubling back
so as to reach the inference that the speaker's ultimate meaning is the opposite of his
metaphorical meaning. To do so, the hearer relies on Grice's general strategy for
working out a conversational implicature (see 1.4.3.).For example, a speaker X
might talk to a hearer Y about Aicha (who is known for her ugliness, stupidity,
ignorance, obesity, etc.), and say:

(29a) "Aicha is the rose of our village".

In order to calculate the intended meaning of utterance (29a), the hearer goes
through the following steps:

Step 1: The hearer recognizes that utterance (29a) is not literal because it would
be obviously false if taken literally. Therefore, he is led to seek an utterance
meaning that differs from literal sentence meaning.

Step 2: The hearer begins by computing the metaphorical meaning of the


utterance. To do so, the hearer looks for ways in which "Aicha" might be like a
"rose". First, he determines the salient, well-known, and distinctive features of a
rose. Some of these features are, for example, beauty, elegance, lightness, etc.
Therefore, the hearer interprets (29a) as:

(29b) "Aicha is the most elegant girl in our village".

65
Step 3: The hearer recognizes that the metaphorical interpretant (29b) flouts the
maxim of quality. Therefore, assuming that the speaker observes the conversational
maxims, the hearer is led again to the search for another meaning which differs from
the metaphorical meaning (29b).

Step 4: The hearer, based on the shared factual background assumptions,


concludes that, unless the speaker's utterance is pointless, he must be implying the
opposite of the metaphorical meaning of his utterance. Therefore, the hearer
reinterprets (29a) as:

(29c) "Aich is the ugliest girl in our village".

Our preceding example illustrates how the hearer understands that the speaker
wants to convey the idea that (29c) by way of going through the metaphorical
meaning (29b). The initial utterance is (29a), which is obviously false. Based on the
preceding analysis, we can easily construct a general inferential strategy that can
effectively account for metaphorical utterances that are used ironically .

2.4. The Constructed Inferential Strategy :

From the analysis above, we can conclude that the computation of the intended
meaning of metaphorical irony involves two main levels of interpretation. The first
level concerns the computation of the metaphorical meaning .The second, however,
consists of the reinterpretation of the metaphorical meaning in such a way as to reach
the intended ironical meaning. These two levels of interpretation can be summed up
in the following four steps:

66
Step 1: The hearer recognizes that if the utterance is taken literally, the
proposition it expresses will be obviously false. This is the major reason that leads
the hearer to look for an utterance meaning that is different from the literal sentence
meaning.

Step 2: The hearer begins by computing the metaphorical meaning of the


utterance using Searle's principles of metaphorical interpretation (see2.1.5.). First,
he tries to determine the salient, well-known, and distinctive features of P in order to
determine the possible values of R. Then, he restricts the range of possible R's to the
ones that are most likely to be properties of S in context and, in this way ,he works
out the intended metaphorical meaning of the utterance.

Step 3: After having worked out the intended metaphorical meaning of the
utterance, the hearer realizes that this meaning is inappropriate to the situation
because it flouts the maxim of Quality. The latter states that participants in a talk
exchange should "try to make [their] contribution one that is true" ( see 1.4.1). Since
the hearer assumes that the speaker observes the cooperative principle, he is led
again to the search for another meaning which differs from the metaphorical meaning
of the utterance.

Step 4: The hearer, based on the shared factual background assumptions,


recognizes that, unless the speaker's utterance is pointless, he must be implying the
opposite of the metaphorical meaning of his utterance. Therefore, the hearer
concludes that the speaker's utterance is not only metaphorical, but also ironical.

2.5. Conclusion:

In this chapter, we have developed an inferential strategy for working out the
intended meaning of metaphorical irony. We have attempted to combine two
inferential strategies. The first is Searle's (1977, 1979) inferential strategy for
working out the metaphorical meaning of an utterance. The second, on the other

67
hand, is Grice's (1975) strategy for computing the ironical meaning. We have
selected the preceding strategies because they seem to be systematic and are
integrated in our overall pragmatic framework.

In the next chapter, we are going to apply our approach to metaphorical irony
to a sample of data from Moroccan Arabic. Our purpose is to test the explanatory
power of this strategy and examine its limitations.

68
Chapter three:

Application of the Suggested Inferential


Strategy

69
3.0. Introduction:

Based on Searle's (1977, 1979) inferential strategy for working out the
metaphorical meaning of metaphorical utterances, on the one hand, and on Grice's
(1975) theory of Implicature on the other, we have attempted in the preceding
chapter to develop an inferential strategy for working out the intended meaning of
metaphorical utterances that are used ironically. We have come to the conclusion that
in order to compute the intended meaning of metaphorical irony, the hearer has to
follow four steps. The first two steps enable the hearer to work out the metaphorical
meaning, whereas the last two allow him to compute the ironical meaning of the
utterance (see 2.4).

In this chapter, we intend to apply the inferential strategy that we have


constructed in chapter two to a set of data from Moroccan Arabic. Our data which
consist of metaphorical utterances used ironically are collected by writing down
genuine speech acts performed by Moroccan speakers in natural situations. The
purpose is to test the explanatory power of our inferential strategy and identify its
limitations.

3.1.Presentation of Data:

Our data consist of speech-acts performed by Moroccan Arabic speakers. They


are transcribed according to the transcription system provided on page (V) of this
monograph. The contexts in which the examples are used are also provided. The
Moroccan Arabic data are translated semantically into English.

(1) tbark LLah çlik ! rak musuça w Safi ("God bless you! You are a real
encyclopedia").This is uttered by the speaker S to the hearer H,who has just said that
"Paris is the capital of Italy".

70
(2) hadu huma ?usud l?aTLaS wa ?illa fa la !("These are the real Atlas lions!"),
as uttered by a TV viewer after a terrible defeat of the Moroccan national football
team.

(3) Hasan Teyyara fleqraya. ("Hassan is a jet in studying".). This is uttered by a


husband to his wife in the presence of their son Hassan. The husband comments on
Hassan's failure in the final high school exam, bearing in mind that the wife used to
defend Hassan, saying that he was studying hard.

(4) jamal mummu çiniha (Jamal is the pupil of her eye). This is uttered by S to
H about Jamal's step-mother. Both the speaker and the hearer know that the step-
mother hates Jamal and treats him very badly.

(5)jilali qalbu Hlib (Jilali's heart is milk). This is uttered by S to H in the


presence of Jilali, who maitains that his ultimate goal in life is to help the others.
Both S and H know that Jilali is, in fact, a very selfish, treacherous, and grudging
person.

(6)Daher leHya çla wjeh eTTeRRaH (Shyness shows on the baker boy's face").
This utterance is said by S to H, who feins shyness .

(7) jalal w jawad xut (Jalal and Jawad are brothres ).This is said about Jawad
and Jalal, who are known to be sworn enemies.

(8) xelSa smina &adi yeçTewak (They will really offer you a fat salary).This is
uttered by S to H, who has accepted a very low-paying job.

(9)xadija kaTeyer Lurdinatur ("Khadija flies the computer") . This is said by S


to H about Khadija, who is very slow in word processing.

(10) Hmed kayTHen lektuba (Ahmed grinds books). This is said about Ahmed,
who, in fact, does not like reading at all.

71
(11) lHukuma &adi txeddem jmiç lmuçaTTalin (The government will employ
all the jobless degree holders). This is a response by a hopeless S to an H, who is
happy about the news that the government will employ fifty percent of the
unemployed degree holders by the end of the year 2005.

(12) mirikan m§at lçiraq ba§ teHmi Huquq l?insan (America went to Iraq in
order to defend human rights).This is said by S to his friend H, as they are watching
the news bulletin showing all kinds of abuse committed against the Iraqi prisoners
by the American soldiers at the "Abu-gharib" prison .

(13) had ttemrin dyal lmaT Hlu bezzaf (This math exercise is very sweet). This
utterance is made by a student who could not find the right solution to a difficult
math problem.

(14) hdertu Hluwa bezzaf ("His talk is very sweet"). This is said about
somebody whose talk is actually very boring and disgusting.

3.2. Data Analysis :

To test the explanatory power of our inferential strategy for working out the
intended meaning of metaphorical irony, we must apply it to the analysis of the data
presented above. As we have shown earlier (see 2.4. ),the hearer of such utterances
has first to work out the metaphorical meaning of the utterance, using Searle's
(1977,1979) principles of metaphorical interpretation , and , then, reinterpret the
metaphorical meaning of the utterance as intended to convey the opposite of the
metaphorical meaning. In this sense, the speaker's ultimate intended meaning is not
the metaphorical meaning, but rather the ironic meaning.

Searle (1979:105) states that "where the utterance is defective if taken


literally, [we should] look for an utterance meaning that differs from sentence
meaning". In fact, the first step in our inferential strategy consists in looking for a
relevant utterance meaning that is different from the literal sentence meaning,
because all the utterances above are false if taken literally.
72
From the above, we can deduce that utterance (1):

(1) tbark LLah çlik ! rak musuça w Safi

("God bless you! You are a real encyclopedia").

must not be taken literally because it flouts the maxim of Quality. In fact, we cannot
literally address a human being by the name "Encyclopedia", which stands for a thing.
Therefore, the hearer starts by interpreting the utterance metaphorically. Utterance (1) is
a case of simple metaphor of the form S is P meaning S is R. To work out the R value, H
relies on Searle's first principle of metaphorical interpretation, which states that "things
which are P are by definition R", and that R is "one of the defining characteristics of P".
In utterance (1), the defining characteristic of an encyclopedia is that it contains a lot of
information. Therefore, H interprets (1) as:

(1a)"You are a very learned person".

However, in the light of the shared knowledge between S and H , H will realize that the
interpretation of (1) as (1a) is inappropriate in context because only an ignorant person
would say that Paris is the capital of Italy. So, the hearer is forced to reinterpret (1a) as:

(1b) "You are a very ignorant person".

Similarly, utterances (2) and (3) are interpreted following the same steps as
utterance (1). However, in order to work out the metaphorical meaning, the hearer
uses principle two. This principle, which is based on the shared background
assumptions between the speaker and the hearer, states that "the property R should
be a salient or well-known property of P things". Therefore, the speakers of:

73
(2) hadu huma ?usud l?aTLaS wa ?illa fa la !

("These are the real Atlas lions!")

and

(3) Hasan Teyyara fleqraya

("Hassan is a jet in studying")

intend their hearers to grasp the intended meaning of their utterances by determining
the well-known properties of the "Atlas lions "and "jets" respectively. The well-
known properties of lions are strength, bravery, etc. So, when the speaker utters (2),
he means:

(2a)"These are the strongest players".

However, (2a) is grossly inappropriate to the situation because the football team has
just been defeated. This leads the hearer to the conclusion that the speaker's ultimate
intended meaning is:

(2b)"These are the weakest football players".

Concerning utterance (3), the well-known property of a "jet" is that it is the quickest
and most efficient means of transportation. Therefore, the hearer understands (3) as:

(3a) "Hassan is a quick and efficient learner".

Due to the ostentatious falsity of (3a), the hearer reinterprets this utterance as:

(3b) "Hassan is a slow learner"

Searle (1979) also states that there are cases where "things which are P are not R, nor
are they like R things, nor are they believed to be R; nonetheless, it is a fact about our
sensibility, whether culturally or naturally determined, that we just do perceive a

74
connection, so that P is associated in our minds with R properties". This statement
represents Searle's principle 4, which is relevant to our utterances 4 and 5. Therefore,
utterance:

(4) jamal mummu çiniha

(Jamal is the pupil of her eye)

is interpreted as :

(4a) " Jamal is very dear to her "

because , in our minds, the eye's pupil is associated with valuable elements. As the
step-mother is very unkind towards Jamal, H understands that S wants to convey the
idea that:

(4b) "Jamal is the object of her hatred".

Following the same strategy , the hearer interprets utterance:

(5)jilali qalbu Hlib

(Jilali's heart is milk)

as

(5a) "Jilali is very friendly"

because, in our minds, milk is associated with positive things . However, (5a) is
clearly a false description of Jilali. Therefore, the hearer computes the intended
meaning of (5) as:

(5b) "Jilali is very mean".

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Utterances:

(6)Daher leHya çla wjeh eTTeRRaH

(Shyness shows on the baker boy's face")

and

(7) jalal w jawad xut

(Jalal and Jawad are brothres)

can be interpreted using principle 5.The latter states that "P things are not like R
things, and are not believed to be like R things; nonetheless the conditions of being
P are like the conditions of being R". In our two cases, the hearer is not like a baker
and Jalal is not like Jawad's brother and are not believed to be so. However, in
utterance (6), the state or condition of H,which is represented by the reddening of
the face , is like the condition of a baker who always faces the fire. Utterance (7)
does not mean that Jalal and Jawad are like brothers , but that their relationship is
like that of brothers. Therefore , utterances (6) and (7) are interpreted as :

(6a) “You are a shy person”

and

(7a) “ Jalal and Jawad are good friends”.

Since the falsity of (6a) and (7a) is obvious in these two situations, the hearer
reinterprets them as:

(6b) “You are a bold person”

and

(7b) “Jalal and Jawad are enemies”.

76
Principle 6 applies successfully to utterance (8):

(8) xelSa smina &adi yeçTewak.

(They will really offer you a fat salary).

This principle states that “there are cases where P and R are the same or similar in
meaning, but where one, usually P, is restricted in its application and does not
literally apply to S”. In utterance (8), the adjective “smina” (fat) is not said literally
of salaries but, most of the time, of people. Therefore, H understands (8) as:

(8a) “You will be given a very big salary”.

Due to the ostentatious falsity of the metaphorical meaning (8a), H reinterprets (8a)
as:

(8b) “You will be given an insignificant salary”.

Utterances (9) and (10) can best be dealt with using principle 7, which states
that to determine the metaphorical meaning ,the hearer “has to find a relation or
property that is similar to , or otherwise associated with , the relation or property
literally expressed by the metaphorical expression P”. Therefore, utterances:

(9)xadija kaTeyer Lurdinatur

("Khadija flies the computer")

and

(10) Hmed kayTHen lektuba

(Ahmed grinds books)

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are interpreted as

(9a) “Khadija is a very quick typist”

and

(10a) “Ahmed reads books thoroughly and continuously”

because “flying” is associated with high speed and “grinding” is associated with
complete division and the seeing of the parts that are hidden. Again, these utterances
are inappropriate to their situations. This leads the hearer to work out the ultimate
intended meanings of (9) and (10), respectively, as:

(9b) “Khadija is a slow typist”

and

(10b) “Ahmed never reads”.

Principle 8 states that “P and R may be associated by such relations as the part-
whole relation, the container-contained relation, or even the clothing and wearer
relation”. Therefore, it is the most convenient to deal with utterances:

(11) lHukuma &adi txeddem jmiç lmuçaTTalin

(The government will employ all the jobless degree holders)

and

(12) mirikan m§at lçiraq ba§ teHmi Huquq l?insan

(America went to Iraq in order to defend human rights).

These two utterances mean :

(11a) “The political leaders will employ all the jobless degree holders”

78
and

(12a) “The American soldiers went to Iraq in order to defend human rights”.

In fact, the relation between the “government” and the “political leaders” is that of
the container-contained relation, and the relation between “America” and “the
soldiers” is a part-whole relation. The next step that the hearer goes through in order
to work out the ultimate intended meaning of utterances (11) and (12) is to
reinterpret them as the opposite of (11a) and (12a). Therefore, the hearers of (11)
and (12) grasp the ultimate intended meanings of these two utterances as:

(11b) “The political leaders will not employ anyone”

and

(12b) “The American soldiers have gone to Iraq in order to offend human
rights”.

Utterances:

(13) had ttemrin dyal lmaT Hlu bezzaf

(This math exercise is very sweet)

and

(14) hdertu Hluwa bezzaf .

("His talk is very sweet")

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can be interpreted (using principle 4 ) as:

(13a) “This math exercise is very easy”

and

(14a) “His speech is pleasant” .

Therefore, the adjective “Hlu” (sweet)is interpreted differently in these two


utterances. Searle’s principle 9 accounts for this difference. The latter states that
When we say “S is P” ,the different combinations of S and P create new R's. After
the computation of the metaphorical meaning, the hearers of (13) and (14) work out
the ultimate intended meanings of these two utterances as:

(13b) “This math exercise is very difficult”

and

(14b) “His speech is unpleasant”.

In all the examples above, we have dealt with metaphorical utterances that are
used ironically. All those examples are assessable in terms of truth and falsity, and
are literally true if asserted .Our inferential strategy for working out the intended
meaning of metaphorical irony proved to be powerful in dealing with this type of
utterances.

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3.3. Some Limitations of the Suggested Inferential Strategy:

Our task now is to apply our inferential strategy to two categories of utterances:
(1) Those that do not have a truth-value, and (2) those that are literally true if
asserted. Let us consider the following utterances:

(15) xalid weld nnaas ( Khalid comes from a good family). This is uttered by S
to H, who knows that Khalid cheated S.

(16) ra ma kayçaD§ ( It does not bite ).This is spoken to an H who hesitates to


hand a dictionary to his friend.

(17) wa§ hada Sarux wla §nu? (Is this a missile or what?) .This question is
asked by a viewer about a slow athlete who is lagging behind professional athletes
in a race.

(18) Teri a djaja Hta ltaza (You, the hen, fly till you reach Taza). This utterance
is said by S to H, who wants to prepare for the exam in one week .

Utterances (15) and (16) are literally true if asserted by the hearer: Utterance

(15) xalid weld nnaas( Khalid comes from a good family)

is true because the offspring of human beings is a human being. Utterance

(16) ra ma kayçaD§ ( It does not bite )

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is also true because , normally, there are no dictionaries that bite. Therefore, the first
step of our inferential strategy cannot be applied to these two utterances, which
represent what Marinich (1991:510) calls "nonstandard metaphors", which are
literally true if asserted.

In order to understand utterances (15) and (16) in their context of use, the hearer
supposes that the propositions they express are false and considers their
consequences. Therefore, he concludes that these two utterances must be intended
metaphorically in order for them not to flout the maxim of Quantity and thus be
defective. Once the hearer establishes that these two utterances are intended
metaphorically, he looks for the well-known properties of P. In utterance (15), "wlad
nnaas" (people coming from good families) are assumed to be gentle, kind, good-
mannered, helpful, etc. So the speaker gets the metaphorical meaning:

(15a) "Khaled is good-mannered, gentle, etc".

But this interpretation does not apply to Khalid who is known to be a mean person.
Therefore, because it is inappropriate to the situation, (15a) is reinterpreted as:

(15b) "Khaled is unkind, treacherous, etc".

In utterance (16) , the salient characteristics of the creatures that bite is that they are
animate creatures. So, the speaker might mean:

(16a) "the dictionary is not harmful".

However (16a) flouts the maxim of Quantity, namely "do not make your
contribution more informative than is required"(see 1.4.1) .Therefore, the hearer
assumes, on the basis of the shared background knowledge, that the speaker might
imply:

(16b) "There is no reason to hesitate in passing the dictionary".

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Utterance (17):

(17) wa§ hada Sarux wla §nu?

(Is this a missile or what?)

can not be assessed in terms of truth and falsity because it has the form of a
question. Therefore, the first step of our inferential strategy can not be applied to
this utterance. From the standard point of view, a question is a request for
information. However, on the basis of the relevant context and shared background
information, H knows that S does not mean his utterance as a question, the
appropriate answer to which would be "yes, he is ", or "no, he isn't". In fact, it is
obvious to H and S that the referent is not a missile. Therefore, a metaphorical
interpretation of (17) is sought which would be equivalent to the positive statement
that "The athlete is fast like a missile or something else which is perhaps faster".
This exaggerated implicit comparison stands in sharp contrast with the slow
movement of the referent. Therefore, H concludes that , in order for S's utterance to
make sense in the relevant context, it must be interpreted as meaning the opposite of
what it conveys metaphorically, that is to say, the athlete is as slow as a tortoise.

Similarly , utterance:

(18) Teri a djaja Hta ltaza

(You, the hen, fly till you reach Taza)

can not be assessed in terms of truth and falsity because it is a command. In the
preceding utterance, which is a kind of proverb, S addresses H by the word "djaja"
(hen). The salient characteristic of a hen is that it is weak and does not have the
ability to fly any significant distance. Therefore, H understands that S wants to
convey the idea that he (H) is weak and that it is impossible for him to prepare for

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the exam in one week. What is ironical about (18) is that H incites S to try preparing
for the exam in one week and , at the same time, tells him that he is unable to do so.

From the above, we can deduce that our inferential strategy for working out
the intended meaning of metaphorical irony cannot be applied to utterances that are
literally true if asserted and those that do not have a truth-value.

3.4. Improving the Inferential Strategy:

Our inferential strategy for computing the intended meaning of metaphorical


utterances that are used ironically is based on the assumption that if the utterance is
literally false, the hearer has to look for an utterance meaning that differs from
literal sentence meaning. Therefore, it is not surprising that this strategy fails to
account for utterances that are literally true and those that do not have a truth-value.
To improve our strategy, we can replace Grice's maxim of Quality by Martinich's
(1991:516) maxim: "Do not participate in a speech act unless you satisfy all the
conditions for its successful and nondefective performance". Therefore, our
inferential strategy will retain the four steps that we have presented in chapter two
(see 2.4). However, the condition of flouting the maxim of Quality in step1 and
step3, which was considered the major reason that leads the hearer to look for an
utterance meaning that differs from literal sentence meaning, must be changed. This
condition can be replaced by the requirement of the search for a different utterance
meaning when the literal sentence meaning is irrelevant or inappropriate to the
context.

3.5. Conclusion:

In this chapter, we have applied our inferential strategy for working out the
intended meaning of metaphorical irony to a set of data from Moroccan Arabic. Our
goal has been to test the ability of our strategy to account for a different type of

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utterances than the ones we have considered in chapter two .In fact, our data
analysis has revealed that this strategy succeeds in dealing with the utterances that
are literally false if asserted. However, when applied to utterances that are literally
true or to those that do not have truth-value, our strategy proves to be deficient. The
limitations of our inferential strategy are due to the fact that Searle's (1979) theory
of metaphor and Grice's (1975) analysis of irony have focused only on standard
utterances that flout the maxim of Quality. We can, therefore, conclude that the
flouting of the maxim of Quality, on which our inferential strategy is based, is not
involved in every metaphorical or ironical interpretation. In fact, it is, generally
speaking, the inappropriateness of an utterance in a special context that leads the
hearer to look for an utterance meaning that differs from literal sentence meaning.

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4. A General Conclusion:

The aim of this research paper has been to provide an account of the way in
which the phenomenon of indirect speech-acts, in general, and metaphorical irony, in
particular, are understood in every day language use. Our ultimate objective has been
to explain the mental processes involved in the production and understanding of
metaphorical irony, and how this figure of speech can successfully be used in the
process of communication. To understand the phenomenon of metaphorical irony,
we had first to understand "metaphor" and "irony", because metaphorical irony is a
metaphorical utterance that is used ironically.

In chapter one, we have shown that a distinction should be made between


“sentence meaning” and “utterance meaning”. We have come to the conclusion that
while a “sentence” is a unit of grammatical analysis, an “utterance” is a unit of
pragmatic analysis. This distinction has led us to provide a working definition for
Pragmatics, our domain of study. After that, we have reviewed Austin's (1962)
speech-act theory, Searle's (1977, 1979) "A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts", and
Grice's (1975) theory of linguistic communication. This review has helped us
understand speech-act theory and paved the way for the discussion of such
phenomena as indirect speech-acts, in general, and of metaphorical speech-acts, and
ironical speech-acts, in particular. To understand the phenomenon of indirect speech-
acts, we have reviewed Searle's (1975b, 1979) theory of indirect speech-acts.
Concerning metaphor, we have reviewed the works of such scholars as Searle (1977,
1979), Davidson (1991), Bergmann (1991), and Martinich (1991). For irony, we
have provided a general definition of the term before we undertook a review of
Sperber and Wilson's (1981) theory of irony.

The main objective of chapter two has been to develop an inferential strategy
for the purpose of working out the intended meaning of metaphorical irony. We have
attempted to build our strategy on the basis of Searle's (1977, 1979) theory of
metaphor and Grice's (1975) theory of conversational implicature, because, in our

86
view, these theories are more systematic and more appealing than the other theories
we have reviewed (cf. chapter1). In fact, both Searle (1977, 1979) and Grice (1975)
have provided us with the necessary steps for the computation of the intended
meaning of metaphor and irony, respectively. These steps are the basis of our
inferential strategy for the computation of the intended meaning of metaphorical
utterances that are used ironically. We have identified four steps that the mind goes
through in the process of computing the intended meaning of metaphorical irony.

In Chapter three, we have tested the ability of our inferential strategy to account
for a set of data from Moroccan Arabic. Our data analysis has shown that our
inferential strategy can successfully deal with those utterances that are literally false,
if asserted. However, when it comes to the utterances that are literally true if
asserted, and those utterances that do not have a truth-value, this strategy loses its
explanatory power. This explanatory deficiency is due to the fact that this strategy is
based on Searle's (1977,1979) theory of metaphor and Grice's (1975) theory of
conversational implicature, which are devised to deal exclusively with those
utterances that are literally false if asserted, thereby overlooking the other types of
utterances. Finally, we have tried to improve our strategy by replacing Grice's (1975)
maxim of Quality by Martinich's (1991) maxim: “Do not participate in a speech act
unless you satisfy all the conditions for its successful and nondefective
performance.” This maxim, which is inclusive of all kinds of utterances, considers
the irrelevance of an utterance in the course of a talk exchange as the major reason
that leads the hearer to seek an utterance meaning that differs from the literal
sentence meaning.

I would like to conclude my monograph by stating that metaphorical irony is


a very efficient means of communication. This is due to the fact that it is more
difficult to understand, and it requires a great deal of inferential power on the part of
the hearer. Therefore, its effect on the hearer's mind is greater because it forces him
to make an effort in order to grasp its intended meaning. The efficiency of
metaphorical utterances that are used ironically becomes apparent when comparing
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them to their literal counterparts. In fact, the meaning of literal utterances is readily
graspable. So, the latter utterances might fail to capture the hearer’s attention and
interest. We can conclude from this that literal utterances have little effect on the
hearer’s mind and are, therefore, not as powerful as the metaphorical utterances that
are used ironically.

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Behler, Ernst.(1990).Irony and the Discourse of Modernity. Seattle and London :


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Bergmann, Merrie. (1991). "Metaphorical Assertions". In Davis (1991: 434-494).

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Hawkes, Terence. (1989). Metaphor. London: Routledge.

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Searle, J.R. (1975a). "A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts". In Searle, J.R.(1979:1-29).

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Searle, J.R.(1979). Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts.
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Dictionaries:

Crystal, D. (1992). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Language and Languages. Oxford:


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