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Metonymy Resources

Page history last edited by jamiso_t@... 14 years, 9 months ago
Source for the Below PowerPoint:
Def of Metonymy in Ancient Greece.pdf 

Elizabeth Jamison




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I chose metonymy because in my AP Language classes this term is a challenge to teach. Students have a hard time differentiating between metonymy, synecdoche, and metaphor.


Please find on this website scholarly articles, books (and a few older texts that you mind like), and website links.



Reflections on Metonymy:



One of the first definitions can be found in Rhetorical Ad Herenium:



Ø  “Metonymy is a trope that takes its scope from near and close things and by which we can comprehend a thing that is not denominated by its proper word” (141).

Ø  The author introduces an “associative or cognitive element” in the term which is similar to Aristotle’s process of remembering (141).



Aristotle’s Process of Remembering:

Ø  Track down the sequence of ideas by starting from the present moment and then thinking about something close to it, or similar. (141).

My thoughts: How might Metonymy be related to memory? First, an author might try to portray an idea: for instance, in Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates defines terms in order to achieve the ultimate goal of defining rhetoric. As Socrates and Gorgias discuss different occupations, (cobbler, musician, doctor, rhetorician, etc.) they try to find out what makes that person proficient at a certain occupation. The interesting aspect of this discussion lies in the possibility that we are (or are not) what we do. If I were to point to a doctor and say, “There is a doctor,” would I be speaking the truth? Actually, I should have said, “There is a person who works in the field of medicine.” The idea that we ARE what we DO, and thus making comparisons between our jobs/us and thus using these comparisons to remember and label people, is what characterizes Metonymy.

In our class, there are several communication majors. Or are there? No, there are several people who are focusing on classes within the communication department.

Metonymy and Bain:

“The third power of the Intellect, is retentiveness, or Acquisition. The ability to retain successive impressions without confusion, and to being them up afterwards, distinguishes mind; it is a power familiarly known by the name Memory. Now, the chief way that retentiveness or memory words is this: - impressions occurring together, become associated together, as sunrise with daylight; and we are reminded of the accompaniments. WE cannot think of the sun’s rising, without remembering daylight, and the other circumstances that go along with it. Hence, the mental association of things contiguously placed, is a prominent fact of the mind; and one of its many consequences is that we often name a thing by some one of its adjuncts; as “the throne” for the sovereign, “gold” for wealth. Such is the nature of the Metonymy. – From English Composition and Rhetoric

My thoughts: This is one of my favorite definitions of Metonymy because Bain, who used psychology to figure out how to “reach” young writers, sought to understand the nature of writing and of communication, much like Plato did. Bain took each aspect of the paragraph, for instance, and gave a name to the parts: topic sentence, body, transitions, conclusion, etc. Here, Bain discusses how we remember concepts; we cannot remember one concept without remembering things associated with it. I wonder if Metonymy in writing was created to help readers remember, or if people naturally started making associations between concepts, associations which developed naturally into Metonymy.

Metonymy and Blair:

“All tropes are founded on the relation which one object bears to another in virtue of which, the name of the one can be substituted instead of the name of the other, and by such a substitution, the vivacity of the idea is commonly meant to be increased…To tropes, founded on these several relations. Of cause and effect, container and contained, sign and thing signified, is given the name of metonymy.” – From On Rhetoric and Belles Lettres

Metonymy and Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Regarding “the charm of placing the abstract for the concrete”:

“Thus art teaches us to attribute to an instrument (in a facetious manner) that which is fact it is the user’s to do with it. What does dread produce? Turning pale. What does anger produce? Turning red. Or what does the plague of pride produce? Swelling. So, we rephrase: “Fear pales; wrath reddens; pride swells.”

Metonymy and Cicero:

“I am bereft of citadel and town”

“Dread Africa trembled with terrible tumult.”

“[called] metonymy because nouns are transferred. Aristotle, however, classifies them all under metaphor and includes also the misuse of terms.” Cicero continues to explain that Aristotle classified all instances of noun transferal under “metaphor.”

Rhetorica Ad Herennim:

“Metonymy is the figure which draws from an object closely akin or associated an expression suggesting the object meant, but not called by its own name. This is accomplished by substituting the name of the greater thing for that of the lesser.”





Metonymy Sources:



Arata, Luigi.  "The Definition of Metonymy in Ancient Greece. " Style  39.1 (2005): 55-73. Research   Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Buelens, Gert.  "Imagining Telegraphic Joy in the Canny Cage of Metaphor, Metonymy, and Performativity. " The Henry James Review  27.2 (2006): 126-139. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Barnes, Bernadine.  "Metaphorical painting: Michelangelo, Dante, and the Last Judgment. " The Art Bulletin  77.1 (1995): 64-81. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Alice Deignan.  "A Corpus Linguistic Perspective on the Relationship between Metonymy and Metaphor. " Style  39.1 (2005): 72-93. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Eubanks, Philip. "Globalization,"Corporate Rule,"and Blended Worlds: A Conceptual-Rhetorical Analysis of Metaphor, Metonymy, and Conceptual Blending." Metaphor & Symbol 20.3 (July 2005): 173-197. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. [Library name], [City], [State abbreviation]. 20 Sep. 2009

Philip Eubanks, and John D Schaeffer. "A Dialogue Between Traditional and Cognitive Rhetoric: Readings of Figuration in George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" Address. " Rhetoric Society Quarterly  34.2 (2004): 53-70. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Andrew Fleck.  "The Ambivalent Blush: Figural and Structural Metonymy, Modesty, and Much Ado About Nothing. " ANQ  19.1 (2006): 16-23. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Kurt Feyaerts, and Geert Brône. "Expressivity and Metonymic Inferencing: Stylistic Variation in Nonliterary Language Use. " Style  39.1 (2005): 12-38. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

"Metaphor and metonymy, color and space, in Lawrence's Sea an. " Twentieth Century Literature  41.2 (1995): 208-223. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

John R Reed.  "The Gentleman in the White Waistcoat: Dickens and Metonymy. " Style  39.4 (2005): 412-428. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.

Jules J Wanderer.  "HOBO SIGNS: Embodied Metaphors and Metonymies. " The American Journal of Semiotics  17.4 (2001): 131-146. Research Library, ProQuest. Web.  20 Sep. 2009.



Definitions and Links Scholarly Articles on Metonymy and Related Terms
Wiki-Definition   Metonymy goes cognitive-linguistic.pdf
Encyclopedia of L & L Metonymic Inferencing.pdf 
Cognitive Systems Research  good article met.pdf 
What is Metonymy?  figural and structural met.pdf 
Aristotle on Metonymy  Def of Metonymy in Ancient Greece.pdf 
  star trek.pdf   
  Very Cool Text from 1877: Metonymy in the Bible. 




    You now





Comments (3)

George Pullman said

at 3:42 pm on Sep 23, 2009

wow, I didn't know you could embed powerpoint presentations. Cool.

jamiso_t@... said

at 10:54 am on Sep 27, 2009

How did the University of Phoenix link to my word "classes" at the top of this page? When I went to edit it out, there was no hyperlink.

Jeanne Bohannon said

at 10:58 am on Sep 27, 2009

I like the interactiveness of your site. It would work well in a high school situation when you are presenting a lesson and wanting to progress up Bloom's Taxonomy from comprehension to Evaluation. It also provides links to visual rhetoric to help your students define a term, appealing to Gardner's multiple intelligences. In my view, the text on the right side runs off the page, making it unreadable. I encountered similar problems and had to modify settings in my uploaded documents.

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