In echoic use of language speakers merely repeat utterances made by other speakers in order to achieve a specific communicative effect, typically to convey a specific attitude towards the relevant utterance such as surprise, pleasure, scepticism, mockery, disbelief, etc. (cf. Wilson 2006: 1730).
Echoic use of language has been claimed to be a key concept in the ironical use of language, esp. in the work done by Deirdre Wilson and Dan Sperber (e.g. Sperber & Wilson 1981, Wilson 2006). Alternatively, verbal irony is often regarded as primarily resulting from pretence.
Echoic use is a technical term in Relevance Theory.
- Sperber, Dan & Deirdre Wilson. 1981. Irony and the use-mention distinction. In Cole, P. (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, 295-318. New York: Academic press.
- Wilson, Deidre. 2006. The pragmatics of verbal irony. Lingua 116: 1722-1743.