Assuming identities: the workings of intertextual metaphors in dating ads

Carol Marley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article I propose an augmented pragmatic framework for interpreting metaphors of identity, built upon Grice's co-operative principle and incorporating Levinson's concept of uptake and Austin's notion of felicity. The framework is applied to a selection of intertextual identity metaphors drawn from The Guardian's dating ad column, ‘Soulmates’. First I provide a detailed exposition of the textual and discursive workings of a small selection of typical fictional metaphors in these dating ads, to show how co-textual selections steer interpretation and contribute to a metaphor's success, or felicity. Then discussion turns to consideration of how these textual and discursive processes might be mapped onto the proposed pragmatic framework of recognition, uptake and felicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-576
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • identity
  • metaphor
  • felicity
  • uptake
  • co-text
  • intertextuality


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