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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Both metaphor and hyperbole are akin to lying in saying something that is strictly speaking false (i.e., exhibits no world–word fit) and thus have deceptive potential. How close or distant the relationship metaphor/hyperbole versus lie is seen to be depends on the theoretical approach taken, which is illustrated by brief treatments of classical rhetoric, philosophy, Gricean pragmatics, relevance theory, and cognitive linguistics. From a functional perspective the overlap between metaphor/hyperbole and lying may be small, but nevertheless is present in various politeness functions of hyperbole and in using metaphors for reconceptualization and (euphemistic) disguising. Depending on the forms and contexts chosen, the distinction between hyperbole/metaphor and lying might be blurred or sharpened. The former is found, e.g., by diminishing the recognizability of the contrast between literal and non-literal forms in hyperbole, while the latter happens in case of extreme flouts or metalinguistic marking, which is possible for hyperbole/metaphors but not for lies.

Keywords: hyperbole, metaphor, intention, non-literal meaning, Gricean pragmatics, relevance theory, cognitive linguistics, politeness, euphemism, rhetoric

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