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On Our Mind – Salience, Context, and Figurative Language | Oxford Scholarship Online
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On Our Mind: Salience, Context, and Figurative Language

Rachel Giora


How do we learn to produce and comprehend non-literal language? Competing theories have only partially accounted for the variety of language comprehension evoked in metaphor, irony, and jokes. This book has developed a novel and comprehensive theory, the Graded Salience Hypothesis, to explain figurative language comprehension. The book contends that the salience of meanings (i.e., the cognitive priority we ascribe to words encoded in our mental lexicon) has the primary role in language comprehension and production.

Keywords: language comprehension, metaphor, irony, jokes, Graded Salience Hypothesis, figurative language comprehension

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780195136166
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195136166.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Rachel Giora, author
Tel Aviv University, Israel