Talk:Metonymy

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Simpler Introduction[edit]

I think the introduction has too much jargon and should be narrower and more direct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by OhDoTell (talkcontribs) 00:38, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

This concern appears to have been addressed. I was quite impressed with the simple opening sentences, especially with the non-traditional-Wiki example, using Hollywood. Some good thinking, there. Leptus Froggi (talk) 15:09, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Not the best example[edit]

I saw this example in the article...

On the other hand, asking for "All hands on deck" is a synecdoche because hands (A) are actually a part of the men (B) to whom they refer.

Dictionary.com defines "hand" as, among other things, "[o]ne who is part of a group or crew" [1]. Since the example above is not referring to the crew's hands, but rather to the crewmen themselves, is that really an example of synechdoche (or, for that matter, metonymy) at all? I suppose calling it synechdoche would be valid if that is how that usage of "hand" came about, but in that case the etymology should be noted. Thoughts? --bdesham  20:36, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

The fact that "hand" refers to the crewmen and not the crewmen's actual hands is what makes it an example of synecdoche. This is in fact the canonical example of synecdoche; referring to the worker as "the hand" is to refer to the whole as the part. It's such a common usage that it even found its way into the dictionary, as you note. Fumblebruschi 21:10, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. See also: plow or sail.--Loodog 03:34, 27 June 2007 (UTC)


The example, "to fish pearls" seems like a metaphor to me: am I mistaken that, "finishing for pearls" would have the exact same meaning? (And be employing the same linguistic devices.) Would the argument slightly farther down that it, "transfers the concept of fishing ... into a new domain" (namely hunting pearls instead of hunting fish). The charictarization of the activity of fishing as it is metaphorically being applied seems ill-written but perhaps not stricly incorrect. Paxfeline 03:39, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

"to fish pearls" (or "fishing for pearls", which you correctly note means exactly the same thing) is not a metaphor, since you are literally fishing. The metonymy in this case does not involve the word "fish" (or "fishing"), but the use of the word "pearls" as a metonym for the shellfish that contain pearls. Fumblebruschi 21:10, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
No -- the metonymy *does* involve fish. The point is that you are not getting fish, you are getting pearls -- but fishing and getting-pearls are both associated with going into the ocean and getting stuff out of it. Thus, you are maintaining the domain of usage (reinforcing an association) rather than transferring a concept to a new domain (as with "fishing for information"). There's an article linked to which explains this in depth. Tom
I don't agree. Oysters are shellfish. If you are pulling shellfish out of the ocean, then you are fishing. What you're fishing for is oysters; what you hope to get from the oysters is pearls; therefore, by metonymy, you might say that you are "fishing for pearls." Fumblebruschi 20:29, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Fumblebruschi. If I said I were fishing for trout or fishing for salmon I would clearly NOT be employing metonym. I would just be using the word "fishing" literally. The fact that fishing trout, salmon and oysters all require "getting things out of the ocean" is not grounds for establishing metonymy. Furthermore, if the claim is that getting pearls out of the ocean is similar to getting fish out the ocean, then you are making a comparison by similarity or analogy NOT making reference to a contiguity.
Just because the analogy is in the same domain (the ocean), does not mean that it is a metonym. For instance the expressions "to catch a wave" and "to catch a fish" are not related metonymically even if both can occur in the domain of the ocean. Rather, "to catch a wave" transfers the idea that fishing is hard and requires both skill and luck to the domain of surfing, an activity which is otherwise quite disimilar from fishing even if both require getting wet. In fact, I would argue that fishing for fish, fishing for pearls and catching waves are most likely separated by the ocean, not joined. To state otherwise is like arguing that "to climb a mountain" and "to climb the stairs" are related metonymically because they both occur in the domain of three dimensional space.
The passage is confusing, it should be revised. --Quaquaquaqua (talk) 04:36, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Right! It's especially clear that there's a problem in this passage: "we know you do not use a fishing rod or net to get pearls and we know that pearls are not, and do not originate from, fish." In fact, since oysters are shellfish, we know that pearls do, indeed, originate from fish. JM —Preceding unsigned comment added by 132.239.1.231 (talk) 09:35, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Dates as metonymy[edit]

What about dates, like "The Fourth of July" meaning "American Independence Day" or "May Fourth" meaning "The ideas in China about nationalism and modernization that resulted in and were a result of the 'May Fourth Incident'"? Another good one is "a September 11th" meaning "An incident of terrorism on a grand scale like what happened on 11 September 2011" 198.207.26.2 (talk) 20:31, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, yes, good idea. Leptus Froggi (talk) 15:11, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Arab Street[edit]

So the term Arab Street instantiates what--metaphorical toponymy? That's too many levels of abstraction to be wieldy (nevermind catchy).

Patronanejo (talk) 07:40, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Unclear citation style[edit]

I am loathe to remove the items from the "bibliography", but many of them have no footnotes or parenthetical citations to show what they are supposed to support. Please help clean up the citation style if you can. Otherwise, I will probably move the books to the further reading section, and mark various assertions in the article as needing citation for verification. Thanks, Cnilep (talk) 02:22, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Phonetic Transcription[edit]

The nucleus of the first syllable in metonymy is the DRESS vowel; [ɛ]. Not [i]. 192.76.7.216 (talk) 18:08, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

New Edit 3/5/14 Enthymeme example[edit]

Hello! When I learned about enthymemes, something clicked for me in figuring out the definition of metonymy I added the section relating metonymy to enthymemes in order to clarify this concept using the much more easily understood concept of syllogism for my fellow scholars who might have trouble making connections between the definition of metonymy and its use, much like I did. I'm a communication major working at a research university in a class on rhetoric and would appreciate any constructive comments or suggestions. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by KBB24 (talkcontribs) 04:31, 6 March 2014 (UTC)