Chapter published in:Metaphor and Metonymy in the Digital Age: Theory and methods for building repositories of figurative language
Edited by Marianna Bolognesi, Mario Brdar and Kristina Š. Despot
[Metaphor in Language, Cognition, and Communication 8] 2019
► pp. 175–198
Figurative reasoning in hedged performatives
This chapter combines a cognitive linguistic and a pragmatic approach to a specific class of speech acts known as hedged performatives, such as I can offer you a five-year contract, which, despite the modal hedge can on the illocutionary verb offer, conventionally counts as an offer. We demonstrate that analytical tools such as conceptual framing and metonymic inferencing shed light on the meaning and use of hedged performatives. Using corpus data, we show that the target meanings of indirect speech acts, including hedged performatives, are not coded, and therefore not compositionally computable. Rather, they are accessible through cognitive operations that humans perform spontaneously and automatically, making them a challenge to machine-based simulations of such mental processes.
Keywords: attitudinal hedge, conceptual framing, emotive hedge, entailment, illocutionary-force preserving, illocutionary-force canceling, metonymic inference, modal hedge
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