Truth values and truth-commitment in interdiscursive dating ads

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In this article, I explore issues of commitment to truth in dating ads that use apparently impossible categorizations to project identities for ad writers and their desired others. The article begins with a brief overview of relevant aspects of Text World Theory (especially Gavins's work on dating ads), Sinclair's model of fictional worlds and Routledge and Chapman's account of truth-commitment in discourse, and proposes the need for a framework that allows for a partial suspension of commitment to truth. I then draw on the work of Ivanič and Weldon on identity in writing, in order to develop an account that offers a discourse- and genre-based discussion of how the intertextual metaphors in such ads are interpreted in relation to truth values. I suggest the default stance is that of positive commitment to literal truth and that, when this is not possible, a fall-back mode of negative commitment to metaphorical truth is preferred over an interpretation in which questions of truth are truly suspended. Finally, I consider a related category, of apparently negative dating ad identities, in order to suggest a functional motivation for the inclusion of elements that cannot be interpreted in truth-committed mode. Copyright © 2008 SAGE Publications.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-154
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • fictional worlds, identity construction, intertextual metaphor, truth values


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