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(Lexical Stylistic Devices)

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>lexical >stylistic >devices

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>Introduction

>Lexicalstylisticdevices

Metaphor

>Metonymy

>Pun,zeugma,semanticallyfalsechains,

>nonsense ofnon-sequence

>IronyAntonomasia

>Epithet

>Hyperbole andunderstatement

>Oxymoron


>Introduction

>Lexicalstylisticdeviceissuchtype ofdenotingphenomena thatserves tocreateadditionalexpressive,evaluative,subjectiveconnotations.Infactwe dealwith the >intendedsubstitution of theexistingnamesapprovedbylongusage andfixed indictionaries,promptedby thespeakerssubjectiveoriginalview andevaluation ofthings.Eachtype ofintendedsubstitutionresults in astylisticdevicecalledalso a >trope.

>Thisact ofsubstitutionisreferred to >transference thename ofoneobjectistransferredontoanother,proceedingfromtheirsimilarity (ofshape,color,function, etc.) orcloseness (ofmaterialexistence,cause/effect,instrument/result,part/whole relations, etc.).

>Lexicalstylisticdevices

>Metaphor

Themostfrequentlyused,wellknown andelaboratedamonglexicalstylisticdevicesis ametaphor transference ofnames >based on theassociatedlikenessbetween twoobjects,as in the >pancake, >ballfor the >sky or >silverdust, >sequinsfor stars.Sothereexist asimilaritybased onone ormore commonsemanticcomponent.And thewideris thegapbetween theassociatedobjects themorestriking andunexpected themoreexpressive is themetaphor.

>If ametaphorinvolveslikenessbetweeninanimate andanimateobjects,we dealwith >personification,as in the >face of London or thepain of theocean.

>Metaphor,as allotherlexicalstylisticdevices,isfresh,original,genuinewhenfirstused, andtrite,hackneyed,stalewhenoftenrepeated.In thelattercase itgraduallylosesitsexpressiveness.

>Metaphorcanbeexpressedby allnotionalparts ofspeech.Metaphorfunctions in thesentenceas >any ofits >members.

>When thespeaker (>writer) in hisdesire topresentanelaboratedimagedoesnotlimititscreation to asinglemetaphorbutoffers a group ofthem,thisclusteriscalled >sustained (>prolonged)metaphor.

>Metonymy

>Anotherlexicalstylisticdevice metonymyiscreatedby adifferentsemanticprocess.Itis >based oncontiguity (>nearness) ofobjects.Transference ofnames inmetonymydoesnotinvolve anecessityfor twodifferentwords tohave a commoncomponent intheirsemanticstructuresasis thecasewithmetaphorbutproceedsfrom thefact that twoobjects (>phenomena)have commongrounds ofexistence inreality.Suchwordsas >cup and >teahavenosemanticnearness,but thefirstonemayserve thecontainer of the second,hence theconversationalcliche >Willyouhaveanothercup?.

>Metonymyas allotherlexicalstylisticdeviceslosesitsoriginalitydue tolonguse.

Thescope oftransference inmetonymyismuchmore limitedthan that ofmetaphor,whichisquiteunderstandable: thescope ofhumanimaginationidentifying twoobjects (>phenomena,actions) on thegrounds ofcommonness oftheirinnumerablecharacteristicsisboundlesswhileactual relationsbetweenobjectsaremore limited.Onetype ofmetonymy namely theone,whichisbased on the relationsbetween thepart and thewhole isoftenviewedindependentlyas >synecdoche.

>As arule,metonymyis >expressedbynouns (>lessfrequently bysubstantivizednumerals) andisused insyntactical >functions >characteristic ofnouns (>subject,object,predicative).

>Pun,zeugma,

>semanticallyfalsechains

andnonsense ofnon-sequence

>Pun,zeugma,semanticallyfalsechains andnonsense ofnon-sequenceareunitedinto asmall groupastheyhavemuch in commonboth in themechanism oftheirformation and intheirfunction.

>In thestylistictradition of theEnglish-speakingcountriesonly thefirst two (>pun andzeugma)arewidelydiscussed. Thelattermaybeviewedasslightvariations of thefirstones. Thefoursomeperform thesamestylisticfunction inspeech andoperate on thesamelinguisticmechanism.Namely,oneword-formis >deliberatelyused in twomeanings. Theeffect oftheselexicalstylisticdevicesishumorous.Contextualconditionsleading to thesimultaneousrealization of twomeanings.

Theformation of >pun >mayvary.Onespeakersutterancemaybewronginterpretedby theotherdue to theexistence ofdifferentmeaning of themisinterpretedword oritshomonym.Forexample, >Haveyoubeenseeinganyspirits? >Ortakingany? Thefirst >spiritsrefers tosupernaturalforces, the secondone tostrongdrinks.Punningmaybealso theresult of thespeakersintendedviolation of thelistenersexpectation.

>We dealwithzeugmawhen >polysemanticverbs thatcanbecombinedwithnouns ofmostvaryingsemanticgroupsaredeliberatelyused >with two ormore >homogeneousmembers >whichare >notconnectedsemantically,as insuchexample: Hetook hishat and hisleave.Zeugmaishighlycharacteristic of Englishprose ofpreviouscenturies.

>When the >number ofhomogeneousmembers,semanticallydisconnectedbutattached to thesameverb >increases >we dealwithsemanticallyfalsechains,whicharethus avariation ofzeugma.As arule, itis the lastmember of thechain that >falls out of thesemantic group,producinghumorouseffect. Thefollowingcasemayserveanexample: AGovernesswanted.Mustpossessknowledge ofRumanian,Italian,Spanish,German, Music andMiningEngineering.

>Inmostexamples ofzeugma theverblosessome ofitssemanticindependence andstrengthbeingconsideredasmember ofphraseologicalunit orcliche.

>Nonsense ofnon-sequenceresults injoining twosemanticallydisconnectedclausesintoonesentence,as in: >EmperorNeroplayed thefiddle,sotheyburntRome.Twodisconnectedstatementsareforciblylinkedtogether.

>In allpreviouslydiscussedlexicalstylisticdeviceswedealtwithvarious >transformations of thedenotationalmeaning ofwords,whichparticipated in thecreation ofmetaphors,metonymies,puns,zeugmas, etc.Each oftheselexicalstylisticdevicesaddedexpressiveness andoriginality to thenomination of theobject.Theirsubjectivityrelies on the new andfresh lookat theobjectmentioned andshows theobjectfrom a new andunexpectedside.

>Irony

>Inironysubjectivitylies in the >evaluation of thephenomenon. Theessence ofironyconsists in theforegroundingnot of thelogicalbut of theevaluativemeaning.Ironythusis astylisticdevice inwhich the >contextualevaluativemeaning of aword >isdirectly >opposite toits >dictionary >meaning.

Thecontextisarrangedso that thequalifyingword inironyreverses thedirection of theevaluation and apositivemeaningisunderstoodas anegativeone and (>much-muchrare)viceversa. >Sheturnedwith thesweetsmile ofanalligator. Theword >sweetreversetheirpositivemeaninginto thenegativeonedue to thecontext.So,like allotherlexicalstylisticdevicesironydoesnotexistoutside thecontext.

>Thereare twotypes ofirony:verbalirony andsustainedirony.In thestylisticdevise of >verbalirony itisalwayspossible toindicate the >exactwordwhosecontextualmeaningdiametricallyopposesitsdictionarymeaning.Andwe dealwith >sustainedironywhen itisnotpossible toindicatesuchexactword and theeffect ofironyiscreatedbynumber ofstatementsby the >whole >text.Thistype ofironyisformedby thecontradiction of thespeakers (>writers)considerations and thegenerallyacceptedmoral andethicalcodes.

>Antonomasia

>Antonomasiais alexicalstylisticdevice inwhich a >propernameisusedinstead of a commonnoun orviceversa.Logicalmeaningserves todenoteconcepts andthus toclassifyindividualobjectsintogroups (>classes). Thenominalmeaning of apropernameissuppressedbyitslogicalmeaning andacquires the new nominal component.Nominalmeaninghasnoclassifying powerfor itapplies toonesingleindividualobjectwith theaimnot ofclassifying itconstituting adefinite group,but, on thecontrarywith theaim ofsingling it out of the group ofsimilarobjects, ofindividualizingoneparticularobject. Theword >Marydoesnotindicateif thedenotedobjectrefers to theclass ofwomen, girls,boats,cats, etc.But inexample: Hetooklittlesatisfaction intellingeachMary,something theattribute >each,usedwith thename,turns itinto a commonnoundenotinganywoman.Herewe dealwith acase ofantonomasia of the >firsttype.

>Anothertype ofantonomasiawemeetwhen a commonnounisstillclearlyperceivedas apropername.So,nospeaker of English todayhas it in hismind thatsuchpopular EnglishsurnamesasMr.Smith orMr.Brownused tomeanoccupation and thecolor.WhilesuchnamesasMr.Snake orMr.Backbiteimmediatelyraiseassociationswithcertainhumanqualitiesdue to thedenotationalmeaning of thewords >snake and >backbite.

>Antonomasiaiscreatedmainlybynouns,moreseldombyattributivecombinations (>as in >Dr.Fresh Air) orphrases (>as in >Mr.Whats-his-name).

>Epithet

>Epithetis alexicalstylisticdevice thatrelies on theforegrounding of theemotivemeaning. Theemotivemeaning of thewordisforegrounded tosuppress thedenotationalmeaning of thelatter. Thecharacteristicattached to theobject toqualify itisalwayschosenby thespeakerhimself.Epithetgivesopportunities ofqualifyingeveryobjectfromsubjectiveviewpoint,whichisindispensable increativeprose,publiciststyle andeverydayspeech.

>Likemetaphor,metonymy andsimileepithetsare >alsobasedon >similaritybetween twoobjects, on >nearness of the >qualifiedobjects and ontheir >comparison.

>Throughlong andrepeateduseepithetsbecome >fixed.Manyfixedepithetsarecloselyconnectedwithfolklore. Firstfixedepithetswerefound inHomerspoetry (>e.g. >swift-footedAchilles).

>Semantically,thereshouldbedifferentiated twomaingroups. Thebiggestoneis >affectiveepithets.Theseepithetsserve toconvey theemotionalevaluation of theobjectby thespeaker.Most ofqualifyingwordsfound in thedictionarycanbe andareusedasaffectiveepithets. The second group >figurativeepithets. The groupisformed ofmetaphors,metonymies andsimiles andexpressedpredominantlyby >adjectives (>e.g. thesmilingsun, thefrowningcloud), >qualitativeadverbs (>e.g. histriumphant look), orrarelybynouns inexclamatorysentences (>e.g. You,ostrich!) and >postpositiveattributes (>e.g. >Richard of theLion Heart).

>Two-stepepithetsaresocalledbecause theprocess ofqualifyingpasses twostages: thequalification of theobject and thequalification of thequalificationitself,as in >anunnaturallymildday.Two-stepepithetshave afixedstructure ofAdv+Adjmodel.

>Phrase-epithetsalwaysproduceanoriginalimpression (>e.g. >shutters-coming-off-the-shopsearlymorning).Theiroriginalityproceedsfromrarerepetitions.Phrase-epithetissemanticallyself-sufficientwordcombination oreven awholesentencewhichlosessome ofitsindependence andself-sufficiency,becoming amember ofanothersentence.

>Hyperbole andunderstatement

>Hyperboleis alexicalstylisticdevice inwhichemphasisisachievedthrough >deliberateexaggeration.

>Hyperboleisone of the commonexpressivemeans ofoureverydayspeech (>e.g. Ihavetold it toyou athousandtimes).Due tolong andrepeatedusehyperboleshavelosttheiroriginality.

>Hyperbolecanbeexpressed >by allnotionalparts ofspeech.

>Itisimportant thatbothcommunicantsshouldclearlyperceive that theexaggerationservesnot todenoteactualquality orquantitybutsignals theemotionalbackground of theutterance.Ifthisreciprocalunderstandingisabsent,hyperboleturnsinto amerelie.

>Hyperboleisaimedatexaggeratingquantity orquality.When itisdirected theoppositeway,when thesize,shape,dimensions,characteristicfeatures of theobjectarenotoverrated,butintentionallyunderrated,we dealwith >understatement. Englishiswellknownforitspreferenceforunderstatement ineverydayspeech. Iamratherannoyedinstead of >Iminfuriated, Thewindisratherstronginstead of >Theres agaleblowingoutsidearetypical of Britishpolitespeech,butarelesscharacteristic of American English.

>Oxymoron

>Oxymoronislexicalstylisticdevice thesyntactic andsemanticstructures ofwhichcome to >clashes (>e.g. >coldfire, >brawling love).

Themostwidelyknownstructure ofoxymoronis >attributive.Buttherearealsoothers, inwhichverbsareemployed.Suchverbalstructuresas toshoutmutely or tocrysilentlyareused tostrengthen theidea.

>Oxymoronmaybeconsideredas aspecifictype ofepithet.

>Originality andspecificity ofoxymoronbecomesespeciallyevident innon-attributivestructureswhichalso (>notinfrequently)areused toexpresssemanticcontradictionas in thestreetwasdamagedbyimprovements, >silencewaslouderthanthunder.

>Oxymoronsrarelybecometrite,fortheircomponents,linkedforcibly,repulseeachother andopposerepeateduse.Therearefewcolloquialoxymorons, all ofthemshow a highdegree of thespeakersemotionalinvolvement in thesituation,as in >awfullypretty.

1.Y.M.Skrebnev.Fundamentals of EnglishStylistics. M.V.Sh. 1994

2.I.R.Galperin.Stylistics. M.V.Sh. 1981

3.V.A.Kukharenko. ABook ofPractice inStylistics. M.V.Sh. 1986


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