lexical stylistic devices
Lexical stylistic devices
Pun, zeugma, semantically false chains,
nonsense of non-sequence
Hyperbole and understatement
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
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
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 expressiveness.
Metaphor can be expressed by all notional parts of speech. Metaphor
functions in the sentence as any of its members.
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) metaphor.
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
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