Lexical stylistic device is such type of
denoting phenomena that serves to create additional expressive, evaluative,
subjective connotations. In fact we deal with the intended substitution of the existing names approved by long usage
and fixed in dictionaries, prompted by the speaker’s subjective original view
and evaluation of things. Each type of intended substitution results in a
stylistic device called also a trope.
This act of substitution is referred to transference – the name of one object is
transferred onto another, proceeding from their similarity (of shape, color,
function, etc.) or closeness (of material existence, cause/effect,
instrument/result, part/whole relations, etc.).
Lexical stylistic devices
The most frequently used, well known and
elaborated among lexical stylistic devices is a metaphor – transference of
names based on the associated likeness
between two objects, as in the "pancake”, "ball” for the "sky” or "silver
dust”, "sequins” for "stars”. So there exist a similarity based on one or more common semantic component. And the wider
is the gap between the associated objects the more striking and unexpected –
the more expressive – is the metaphor.
If a metaphor involves likeness between
inanimate and animate objects, we deal with personification, as in the "face of London” or "the pain of the ocean”.
Metaphor, as all other lexical stylistic
devices, is fresh, original, genuine when first used, and trite, hackneyed,
stale when often repeated. In the latter case it gradually loses its
Metaphor can be expressed by all notional parts of speech. Metaphor
functions in the sentence as any of
When the speaker (writer) in his desire
to present an elaborated image does not limit its creation to a single metaphor
but offers a group of them, this cluster is called sustained (prolonged)
Another lexical stylistic device –
metonymy is created by a different semantic process. It is based on contiguity (nearness) of objects. Transference of names in
metonymy does not involve a necessity for two different words to have a common
component in their semantic structures as is the case with metaphor but
proceeds from the fact that two objects (phenomena) have common grounds of existence in reality. Such words as "cup” and
"tea” have no semantic nearness, but the first one may serve the container of
the second, hence – the conversational cliche "Will you have another cup?”.
Metonymy as all other lexical stylistic
devices loses its originality due to long use.
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 (phenomena, actions) on the
grounds of commonness of their innumerable characteristics is boundless while
actual relations between objects are more limited. One type of metonymy –
namely the one, which is based on the relations between the part and the whole
– is often viewed independently as synecdoche.
As a rule, metonymy is expressed by nouns (less frequently – by
substantivized numerals) and is used in syntactical functions characteristic of nouns (subject, object, predicative).
and nonsense of
zeugma, semantically false chains and nonsense of non-sequence are united into
a small group as they have much in common both in the mechanism of their
formation and in their function.
stylistic tradition of the English-speaking countries only the first two (pun
and zeugma) are widely discussed. The latter may be viewed as slight variations
of the first ones. The foursome perform the same stylistic function
in speech and operate on the same linguistic mechanism. Namely, one word-form
is deliberately used in two meanings. The
effect of these lexical stylistic devices is humorous.
Contextual conditions leading to the simultaneous realization of two meanings.
The formation ofpunmay vary. One
speaker’s utterance may be wrong interpreted by the other due to the existence
of different meaning of the misinterpreted word or its homonym. For example,
"Have you been seeing any spirits?” "Or taking any?” The first "spirits” refers
to supernatural forces, the second one – to strong drinks. Punning may be also
the result of the speaker’s intended violation of the listener’s
We deal with zeugma when polysemantic verbs that can be combined
with nouns of most varying semantic groups are deliberately used with two or more homogeneous members which are
not connected semantically, as in such example: "He took his hat and his
leave”. Zeugma is highly characteristic of English prose of previous centuries.
When the number of homogeneous members, semantically disconnected but
attached to the same verb increases
we deal with semantically false chains, which are thus a variation of zeugma.
As a rule, it is the last member of
the chain that falls out of the
semantic group, producing humorous effect. The following case may serve an
example: "A Governess wanted. Must possess knowledge of Rumanian, Italian,
Spanish, German, Music and Mining Engineering”.
examples of zeugma the verb loses some of its semantic independence and
strength being considered as member of phraseological unit or cliche.
of non-sequence results in joining two semantically disconnected clauses into
one sentence, as in: "Emperor Nero played the fiddle, so they burnt Rome”. Two disconnected
statements are forcibly linked together.
In all previously discussed lexical
stylistic devices we dealt with various transformations
of the denotational meaning of words, which participated in the creation of
metaphors, metonymies, puns, zeugmas, etc. Each of these lexical stylistic
devices added expressiveness and originality to the nomination of the object.
Their subjectivity relies on the new and fresh look at the object mentioned and
shows the object from a new and unexpected side.
In irony subjectivity lies in the evaluation of the phenomenon. The essence
of irony consists in the foregrounding not of the logical but of the evaluative
meaning. Irony thus is a stylistic device in which the contextual evaluative meaning of a word is directly opposite to
its dictionary meaning.
The context is arranged so that the
qualifying word in irony reverses the direction of the evaluation and a
positive meaning is understood as a negative one and (much-much rare) vice
versa. "She turned with the sweet smile of an alligator”. The word ”sweet”
reverse their positive meaning into the negative one due to the context. So,
like all other lexical stylistic devices irony does not exist outside the
There are two types of irony: verbal irony and sustained
irony. In the stylistic devise of verbal irony it is always possible to
indicate the exact word whose
contextual meaning diametrically opposes its dictionary meaning. And we deal
with sustained irony when it is not possible to indicate such exact word
and the effect of irony is created by number of statements by the wholetext. This type of irony is formed by the contradiction of the
speaker’s (writer’s) considerations and the generally accepted moral and
Antonomasia is a lexical stylistic device in which a proper name is used instead of a common noun
or vice versa. Logical meaning serves to denote concepts and thus to classify
individual objects into groups (classes). The nominal meaning of a proper name
is suppressed by its logical meaning and acquires the new – nominal –
component. Nominal meaning has no classifying power for it applies to one
single individual object with the aim not of classifying it constituting a
definite group, but, on the contrary with the aim of singling it out of the
group of similar objects, of individualizing one particular object. The word
"Mary” does not indicate if the denoted object refers to the class of women,
girls, boats, cats, etc. But in example: "He took little satisfaction in
telling each Mary, something…” the attribute "each”, used with the name, turns it
into a common noun denoting any woman. Here we deal with a case of antonomasia
of the first type.
Another type of antonomasia
we meet when a common noun is still clearly perceived as a proper name. So, no
speaker of English today has it in his mind that such popular English surnames
as Mr.Smith or Mr.Brownused to mean
occupation and the color. While such names as Mr.Snake or Mr.Backbite
immediately raise associations with certain human qualities due to the denotational
meaning of the words "snake” and "backbite”.
Antonomasia is created mainly by nouns, more seldom by
attributive combinations (as in "Dr.Fresh Air”) or phrases (as in
Epithet is a lexical stylistic device that relies on the
foregrounding of the emotive meaning. The emotive meaning of the word is
foregrounded to suppress the denotational meaning of the latter. The
characteristic attached to the object to qualify it is always chosen by the
speaker himself. Epithet gives opportunities of qualifying every object from
subjective viewpoint, which is indispensable in creative prose, publicist style
and everyday speech.
Like metaphor, metonymy and simile epithets are also based on similarity between two objects, on nearnessof the qualified objects and on their comparison.
Through long and repeated use epithets become fixed.
Many fixed epithets are closely connected with folklore. First fixed epithets
were found in Homer’s poetry (e.g. "swift-footed Achilles”).
Semantically, there should be differentiated two main groups.
The biggest one is affective epithets. These epithets serve to convey
the emotional evaluation of the object by the speaker. Most of qualifying words
found in the dictionary can be and are used as affective epithets. The second
group – figurative epithets. The group is formed of metaphors,
metonymies and similes and expressed predominantly by adjectives (e.g. "the smiling sun”, "the frowning cloud”), qualitative adverbs (e.g. "his
triumphant look”),or rarely by nouns in exclamatory sentences (e.g.
"You, ostrich!”) and postpositive
attributes (e.g. "Richard of the Lion Heart”).
Two-step epithets are so
called because the process of qualifying passes two stages: the qualification
of the object and the qualification of the qualification itself, as in "an unnaturally
mild day”. Two-step epithets have a fixed structure of Adv+Adj model.
produce an original impression (e.g. "shutters-coming-off-the-shops early
morning”). Their originality proceeds from rare repetitions. Phrase-epithet is
semantically self-sufficient word combination or even a whole sentence which
loses some of its independence and self-sufficiency, becoming a member of
Hyperbole and understatement
Hyperbole is a lexical stylistic device in which emphasis
is achieved through deliberate
Hyperbole is one of the common expressive means of our
everyday speech (e.g. "I have told it to you a thousand times”). Due to long
and repeated use hyperboles have lost their originality.
Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech.
It is important that both communicants should clearly
perceive that the exaggeration serves not to denote actual quality or quantity
but signals the emotional background of the utterance. If this reciprocal
understanding is absent, hyperbole turns into a mere lie.
Hyperbole is aimed at exaggerating quantity or quality.
When it is directed the opposite way, when the size, shape, dimensions,
characteristic features of the object are not overrated, but intentionally
underrated, we deal with understatement. English is well known for its
preference for understatement in everyday speech. "I am rather annoyed” instead
of "I’m infuriated’, "The wind is rather strong” instead of "There’s a gale
blowing outside” are typical of British polite speech, but are less
characteristic of American English.
Oxymoron is lexical stylistic device the syntactic and
semantic structures of which come to clashes
(e.g. "cold fire”, "brawling love”).
The most widely known structure of oxymoron is attributive. But there are also others,
in which verbs are employed. Such verbal structures as "to shout mutely” or "to
cry silently” are used to strengthen the idea.
Oxymoron may be considered as a specific type of epithet.
Originality and specificity of oxymoron becomes especially
evident in non-attributive structures which also (not infrequently) are used to
express semantic contradiction as in "the street was damaged by improvements”,
"silence was louder than thunder”.
Oxymorons rarely become trite, for their components,
linked forcibly, repulse each other and oppose repeated use. There are few
colloquial oxymorons, all of them show a high degree of the speaker’s emotional
involvement in the situation, as in "awfully pretty”.
Реферат на тему: Lexical Stylistic Devices (реферат)