CHITIKA

Metonymy


Transfer by contiguity is based upon a real connection between two objects: that which is named and that the name of which is taken. For instance, the word love in the line above is applied to name the person who inspires this feeling in the poet, there being an actual connection between the objects, not an imaginary one as, for in­stance, in:
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun, etc. The transfer by contiguity is represented by the so-called m├ętonymie group.
Metonymy (Greek - "change of name") is a trope that consists in calling an object or phenomenon by a word or phrase it is closely associated with, there being an ac­tual connection between the two.
For example, 'My brass will call your brass, ' says one of the characters of A. Hailey's Airport to another, meaning 'My boss will call your boss/ The transference of names is caused by both bosses being officers, wearing uniform caps with brass cockades.
According to Kukharenko, the scope of transference in metonymy is much more lim­ited than that of metaphor, which is quite understandable: the scope of human imagi­nation identifying two objects on the grounds of commonness of one of their innu­merable characteristics is boundless while actual relations between objects are more limited. Many attempts have been made to pinpoint the types of relation which me­tonymy is based on. The table below is based on the classifications compiled by Galperin (first five items) and Screbnev.

The type of relation

1. the container for the thing contained

Presently the tribe returned noisily to the neck. ( Golding)

2. the relation of proximity

The round game table was boisterous and happy. (Dickens)

3. the material instead of the thing made of it

"Evelyn Glasgow, get up out of that chair this minute. /.../ Your satin. The skirt'11 be a mess of wrinkles in the back. "(Ferber)

4.    a concrete thing used instead of an abstract notion, becoming its symbol

I crossed a high tall bridge and negotiated a no man's land and came to the place where the Stars and Stripes stood shoulder to shoulder with the Union Jack. (Steinbeck)

5. names of tools instead of actions

As the sword is the worst argument that can be used, so should it be the last. (Byron)

6. consequence instead of cause

...he didn }t realize it, but he was about a sentence away from needing plastic surgery. (Clifford)

7 characteristic feature of the object instead of the object itself

Blue suit grinned, might even have winked. But big nose in the grey suit still stared.  (Priestley)

8. the name of the creator for the creation

Some remarkable pictures in this room, gentle¬men. A Holbein, two Van Dycks and if I am not mistaken, a Velasquez.(Christie)

There is a possibility of a reversed relation between the objects in metonymy. For instance, not only a concrete thing may be used as a symbol of an abstract notion, but an abstract notion can stand for a concrete thing as well. The lead-in example of metonymy taken from the Shakespeare is a possible illustration of such an association where a definite woman is named by love.
Genuine metonymies of the kind are infrequent, trite ones being mainly used. The latter instances are called either 'etymological* metonymy or metonymic antonomasia. They render no stylistic appeal and serve to name various objects of our everyday life as in these: I collect old china. I aw fond of Dickens. I need a pair of Wellingtons, etc. Such cases of metonymy are dealt in lexicology, not in stylistics.
The list is in no way complete but it covers the most common relations possible. There is one more type of metonymy, which is often viewed independently due to a considerable frequency of its usage in comparison with others.










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