In figurative expressions meaning is not encoded in grammar, but must rather be inferred by reasoning about the situational and linguistic context and the speaker’s intentions. The processing of figurative language is therefore an exciting topic because it can greatly inform our understanding of the interaction between language and thought. In this course we will approach the phenomenon of non-literal language by looking into the cognitive processes that are (potentially) behind the comprehension of metaphors, irony, metonymy as well as verbal humor. Students will be required to engage in discussion as well as undertake weekly readings. Classes will be held in English, but students are free to make their contributions in German or English.
The following paper should be read before the semester starts:
Sedivy, J. and Carlson, G. (2011) Why Ads don’t Say what they Mean (Or Mean What they Say), in Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says about You, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.