In figurative expressions meaning is not understood through grammar, but rather inferred by reasoning about the speaker’s intentions given a specific context. Studying how figurative language is processed is therefore an exciting topic in as much as 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, and metonymy. 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.