Figures of Quality

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Figures of replacement: classification . Divided into two classes: figures of quantity and figures of


Metonymy. This is applying the name of an object to another object

that is in some way connected with the first.

The kettle is boiling or The gallery

applauded, Metonymy is widely used as an expressive device visualizing the

ideas discussed.

Synecdoche. The term denotes the simplest kind of metonymy: using

the name of a part to denote the whole or vice versa. A typical example of

traditional (stereotyped) synecdoche is the word hands used instead of

the word worker(s) (Hands wanted) or sailors (All hands on deck!). See

also expressions like a hundred head of cattle.

Periphrasis. This does not belong with the tropes, for it is not a transfer

(renaming), yet this way of identifying the object of speech is related to

metonymy. Periphrasis is a description of what could be named directly;

it is naming the characteristic features of the object instead of naming

the object itself. What helps to differentiate periphrasis from metonymy

is that the former cannot be expressed by one linguistic unit (one word):

This device always demonstrates redundancy of lingual elements. Its

stylistic effect varies from elevation to humour.

Metaphor. This term (originally applied indiscriminately to any kind

of transfer) denotes expressive renaming on the basis of similarity of two

objects: the real object of speech and the one whose name is actually used.

But there is only affinity, no real connection between the two.

As they are disconnected, to find features in common, the speaker must

search for associations in his own mind, that is not as is the case with

metonymy, where both objects lie before our eyes.

Head of Government (metaphor), film-star.

Allusion. The term allusion denotes a special variety of metaphor.

As the very meaning of the word shows, allusion is a brief reference to

some literary or historical event commonly known.

Personification is another variety of metaphor. Personification is at-

tributing human properties to lifeless objects — mostly to abstract

notions, such as thoughts, actions, intentions, emotions, seasons of the

year, etc.

Antonomasia. Metaphorical antonomasia is, in a way, a variety of

allusion. It is the use of the name of a historical, literary,

mythological, or biblical personage applied to a person whose

characteristic features resemble those of the well-known original.

Thus, a traitor may be referred to as Brutus, a ladies' man deserves

the name of Don Juan.


There are at least two kinds of irony. The first represents utterances

the ironical sense of which is evident to any native speaker — utterances

that can have only an ironical message; A few examples: That's a pretty kettle of fishl (cf.: Хорошенькое дель-це Веселенькая история]). A fine friend you arel (cf.: Хорош друг, нече-

го сказать!; Ничего себе, удружил!).

To the second variety we can refer the overwhelming majority of

utterances which can be understood either literally, or ironically, espe-

cially when we deal with written texts. Thus we cannot say if the speaker

Is serious or ironical when he says: But of course we know, he's a rich

man, a millionaire.

As shown above, we distinguish between three types of transfer of names:

a) transfer by contiguity;

b) transfer by similarity;

c) transfer by contrast.

a) Transfer by contiguity is based upon a real connection between the

two objects: that which is named and that the name of which is taken.

Saying, for instance, J was followed by a pair of heavy boots, we do not

mean animate boots following the speaker, but something qualitatively

different, though connected with the boots — a man wearing those boots.

b) Transfer by similarity is based on likeness (common features) of the

two, there being no actual connection between them. In the sentence The

reception was cold we resort to this type of transfer. There is no connection

between people's attitude and temperature, there is only resemblance here:

a cold reception affects our mood in much the same way as cold weather

affects our bodies.

c) Transfer by contrast is the use of words, phrases, sentences and

complete texts with implied meanings that are directly opposite to those

which are primary, traditional, collectively accepted. This trope is not

infrequently used when we pretend to praise somebody or something

instead of directly expressing the opposite opinion: A fine friend you are!;

That's a pretty kettle of fish!


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