Practical task answers Metonymy

Practical Task №1

Find outcolloquial, neutral, bookish, official, scientific, formal and jargon words.

child (neutral) – kid (colloq.) – infant (bookish, official) – offspring (bookish, scientific);

father (neutral) – daddy (colloq.) – male parent / ancestor (formal);

leave / go away (neutral) – be off / get out / get away / get lost (colloq., or familiar-colloq.) – retire / withdraw (bookish);

continue (neutral) – go on / carry on (colloq.) – proceed (bookish, formal);

begin / start (neutral) – get going /get started / Come on! (colloq.) – commence (formal).

There are phrases and constructions typical of colloquial style: What’s up? (= What has happened?); so-so(= not especially good); Sorry? Pardon? (= Please, repeat it, I didn’t hear you); See you (= Good-bye); Me too / neither (= So / neither do I), etc.

, e. g, for the terminological "driller" (буровик) there exist "borer", ^"digger", "wrencher", "hogger", "brake weight"; for "pipeliner" (трубопроводчик), "bender", "cat", "old cat",

Onomatopoeia ding-dong, buzz, bang, mew,ping-pong.

Alliteration tit for tat, blind as a bat. Sense and sensibility.


V. V. Vinogradov states:"...a metaphor, if it is not a cliche , is an act of establishing an individual world outlook, it is an act of subjective isolation... Therefore .a word metaphor is narrow, subjectively enclosed, imposes on the reader a subjective view of the object or phenome­non and its semantic ties."

The metaphor is often defined as a compressed simile. But this de­finition lacks precision. Moreover, it is misleading, inasmuch as the met­aphor aims at identifying the objects, while the simile aims at find­ing some point of resemblance by keeping the objects apart. That is why these two stylistic devices are viewed as belonging to two different groups of SDs. They are different in their linguistic nature.

True, the degree of identification of objects or phenomena in a meta­phor varies according to its syntactic function in the sentence and to the part of speech in which it is embodied.

Genuine metaphors are mostly to be found in poetry and emotive prose. Trite metaphors are generally used as expressive means in newspa­per articles, in oratorical style and even in scientific language. The use of trite metaphors should not be regarded as a drawback of style. They help the writer to enliven his work and even make the meaning more con­crete.

A metaphor becomes a stylistic device when two different phenomena (things, events, ideas, actions) are simultaneously brought to mind by the imposition of some or all of the inherent properties of one object on the other which by nature is deprived of these properties. Such an im­position generally results when the creator of the metaphor finds in the two corresponding objects certain features which to his eye have some­thing in common.

Mother and Nature are brought-together in the irtterplay^of their meanings, brings up the image of Nature materialized into but not likened to the image of Mother.

Metonymy is based on a different type of relation between the dictionary and contextual meanings, a relation based not on iden­tification, but on some kind of association connecting the two concepts which these meanings represent.

Metonymy and metaphor differ also in the way they are deciphered. In the process of disclosing the meaning implied in a metaphor, one image excludes the other, that is, the metaphor 'lamp' in the 'The sky lamp of the night', when deciphered, means the moon, and though there is a definite interplay of meanings, we perceive only one object, the moon. This is not the case with metonymy. Metonymy, while presenting one object to our mind, does not exclude the other. In the example given above the moustache and the man himself are both perceived by the mind.


Irony is a stylistic device also based on the simultaneous reali­zation of two logical meanings—dictionary and contextual, but the two meanings stand in opposition to each other.

Practical task answersa metaphor

"In the slanting beams that streamed through the open window the dust danced and was golden," (O, Wilde)

The movement of dust particles seem to the eye of the writer to be regular and orderly like the movements in dancing. What happens prac­tically is that our mind runs in two parallel lines: the abstract and the concrete, i.e. movement (of any kind) and dancing (a definite kind).

Sometimes the process of identification can decoded. Here is a metaphor embodied in an adverb:

"The leaves fell sorrowfully."

"To find affinities in objects in which no brotherhood exists to passive minds."

Here is a recognition of the unlimited power of the poet in finding com­mon features in heterogeneous objects.

"Try to be precise and you are bound to be metaphorical; you simply cannot help establishing affinities between all the provin­ces of the animate and inanimate world." г

"Dear Nature is the kindest Mother still" (Byron)

the notion Mother arouses in the mind the actions of nursing, weaning, caring for, etc., whereas the notion Nature does not. There is no true similarity, but there is a kind of identification, Therefore it is better to define metaphor as the power of realizing two lexical meanings simultaneously.

Practical task answers Metonymy

Here the noble lord inclined his knee to the Woolsack." (from Han­sard).

Here also the interrelation between the dictionary and contextual meanings should stand out clearly and conspicuously. Only then can we state that a stylistic device is used.

"There was something so very agreeable in being so intimate with such a waistcoat', in being on such off-hand terms so soon with such a pair of whiskers that Tom was uncommonly pleased with himself." (Dickens, "Hard Times")

In these two cases of genuine metonymy a broader context than that required by a metaphor is necessary in order to decipher the true mean­ing of the stylistic device. In both cases it is necessary to understand the words in their proper meanings first. Only then is it possible to grasp the metonymy.

In the following example the metonymy 'grape" also requires a broad context:

"And this is stronger than the strongest grape Could e'er express in its expanded, shape." (Byron)

1. A concrete thing used instead of an abstract notion. In this case the thing becomes a symbol of the notion, as in "The camp, the pulpit and the law For rich men's sons are free." (Shelley)

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