What is metonymy?
Consider what is metonymy. This is a phrase in which one word is replaced by another. But one should not confuse metonymy with metaphor.
Marc Fabius Quintillian, known as the ancient Roman thinker, gave the classical definition of metonymy. He said that her essence is manifested in replacing what is described by its cause. This means that metonymy replaces one concept related to the first. For example:
- The material from which a certain thing is made, instead of the name of this thing ("ate on silver" instead of "ate on a silver plate").
- Instead of a specific noun, an abstract one (for example, a mother about a child: "Here comes my joy!").
- Instead of content — containing, instead of ownership — its owner (“I will eat another plate” instead of saying what exactly a person wants to eat).
- Instead of the subject, there is its attribute ("man in blue" instead of saying exactly what kind of blue clothing was the man).
Communication in metonymy
When considering what is metonymy, examples will help to better understand this.Metonymy establishes a related connection, and in this its essence is manifested.
Communication can be:
- Between a certain object and the material that was used to create it. For example, instead of a plate, they talk about the material from which it is made: “I didn’t wear silver, I ate gold” (Griboedov).
- From content to its containing. For example, instead of food, dishes are used in which the food is located: “Well, eat another plate, my dear!” (Krylov).
- Between some action and the instrument by which it is performed. For example, instead of writing a text, an object is used with which this text is written: “The feather of his place breathes” (Tolstoy).
- Between the author and the work which he wrote: “Apuleius read readily, but did not read Cicero” (Pushkin).
- Between people and the place where they are located: “But our bivac was quiet was open” (Lermontov).
Metonymy in literature
Consider what is metonymy in the literature. It implies the use of a replacement word in a figurative sense. Often metonymy in literature is confused with metaphor. Again, metonymy replaces a word by contiguity, and a metaphor by a similarity. Sinekdokh is a type of metonymy, for example: “All flags will be on a visit to us”, flags here replace ships of other countries.
In metonymy, the property of an object or phenomenon is highlighted, which replaces all the others. Therefore, metonymy, unlike metaphor, is, firstly, more realistically connected with substitutable members, and secondly, it limits or eliminates features that are insignificant for a given phenomenon. Both metaphor and metonymy are used in everyday speech. But the special meaning of metonymy is in the works of literary figures.
In Russian literature of the 20th century, constructivists made the most of their metonymy. They put forward the principle of “locality”, which meant the motivation of speech means by the idea of the work, limiting them to dependence on the topic. However, metonymy cannot be contrasted with metaphor. Both metonymy and metaphor complement each other, establish connections between phenomena and enrich the language of the work.
Types of Metonymy
- Spatial - transfers the physical, spatial interposition of objects, phenomena, names on objects closely associated with them. Example: audience applause. It means that they applaud people, but this action is transferred to the audience itself.
- Temporary - the name of a particular action is transferred to its result. Example: a new edition of the collection. Here publication is used in terms of result, not action.
- Logical - transfer of the name of the action, the name of the author, the name of the source substance, etc. to the final result of the action, product, product, etc. In this metonymy a clear logical connection is implied. Example: "watched by Ozhigov" - implies Ozhigov's dictionary.
Types of metonymy
- Common language - used by many people everywhere. Example: beautiful porcelain (meaning porcelain products).
- General poetic metonymy, popular in poetry. Example: azure sky.
- All-newspaper, also called all-media. Example: first page.
- Individual authoring. Example: Chamomile Rus.
When using metonymy, the expressiveness of the language of the work is consciously or unconsciously enhanced, and the richness of vocabulary is revealed. Metonymy helps to perceive the connection of several related concepts, which are often not homogeneous.
Lexicology, poetics, semantics, rhetoric and stylistics in the sphere of their concepts widely use metonymy. Metonymy is an effective means of both short-term and long-term speech effects, for example: the dove of peace.
Modern science is convinced that metonymy has not only speech,but also logical, and if to argue more widely, then also by cognitive properties, deeply participating in the process of thinking and cognition of the surrounding world.
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