[lit-ideas] Synecdoche As Conversational Implicature

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2013 03:17:59 -0400 (EDT)

Helm's Synechdoche

In a message dated  6/16/2013 1:10:01 A.M. UTC-02, 
lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
we in the  U.S. can’t seriously clash with China because if we did how 
would we eat?   How would we type these emails (Don’t hold me to literality 
these are  synecdoche’s J)?
... the radical Islamic force was doomed because Liberal  Democracy 
out-classed it in every way, and that the Middle East would inevitably  succumb 
Big Macks (another synecdoche J) 

Loved them!
From wiki:
"Synecdoche (συνεκδοχή, "simultaneous understanding") is a figure of 
speech  in which a term for a part of something is used to refer to the whole 
of  something, or vice-versa."
Don't you love the 'vice versa'?
And YES, I tend to see ALL synechdoches as implicatures (since Grice  
explicitly deals with implicature as a phenomenon 'akin to a figure of  
"Synecdoche is closely related to metonymy (the figure of speech in which a 
 term denoting one thing is used to refer to a related thing); indeed, 
synecdoche  is sometimes considered a subclass of metonymy. It is more 
related to  other figures of speech, such as metaphor."
Cfr. metaphtonymy.
"More rigorously, metonymy and synecdoche may be considered as sub-species  
of metaphor, intending metaphor as a type of conceptual substitution (as  
Quintilian does in Institutio oratoria Book VIII)."
"In Lanham's Handlist of Rhetorical Terms, the three terms have somewhat  
restrictive definitions, arguably in tune with a certain interpretation of 
their  etymologies from Greek."

metaphor: changing a word from its literal meaning to one not properly  
applicable but analogous to it; 
assertion of identity rather than, as with simile, likeness.

metonymy: substitution of cause for effect, proper name for one of its  
qualities, etc.

"Synecdoche" is derived from the Greek word συνεκδοχή, from the  
prepositions συν- + εκ- and the verb δέχομαι (= "I accept"), originally 
meaning  accepting a part as responsible for the whole, or vice versa.
Synecdoche can be used to emphasize an important aspect of a fictional  
character; for example, the X-Files character the Smoking Man. Sonnets and 
other  forms of love poetry frequently use synecdoches to characterize the 
beloved in  terms of individual body parts rather than a coherent whole. 
This practice is especially common in the Petrarchan sonnet, where the  
idealised beloved is often described part by part, from head to toe.
A part referring to the whole
Referring to people according to a single characteristic: "the gray beard"  
representing an older man or "the long hair" representing a hippie. This 
leads  to bahuvrihi compounds.

Describing a complete vehicle as "wheels"

Referring to people by a particular body part. 
For example, "head count", "counting noses", or "all hands on  deck!"

Referring to a country (or its government) using the name of its capital  

Describing a small portable radio as a "transistor" (though that may  
simply be an abbreviation for "transistor radio"), or a CRT-based television  
receiver as "the tube"

The Holy Roman Empire was commonly referred to as Germany, due to the  
domination of it by German leaders and that most of it was centred upon  
territory considered to be Germany. 
The Kingdom of Sardinia in the 19th century was commonly referred to as  
Savoy because its ruling house was from Savoy. 
Austria-Hungary was commonly referred to as Austria. 
The Soviet Union was commonly referred to by its largest and most  
well-known member, Russia. 
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia later named Serbia and Montenegro was  
commonly referred to by the name of its largest constituent republic,  Serbia.

Use of the name Great Britain (the geographical name of the main  island) 
to mean the entire United Kingdom.

Use of Holland, a region of the Netherlands, to refer to the entire  

Referring to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) system image as a "thin 
Using CPU to refer to the enclosure that houses all the core  components of 
a home desktop computer.
Saying bubbles to refer to Champagne  or any other Sparkling Wine
In Wordsworth's "We Are Seven", the speaker says, "Your limbs they are  
alive" (l. 34). "Limbs" represent the entire body, so the narrator is trying to 
 explain to the little girl that she is alive and breathing, unlike her two 
dead  siblings.[4]
In Coleridge's "Frost at Midnight", the speaker says "…or the redbreast sit 
 and sing/ Betwixt the tufts of snow…" (l. 67-8). This phrase symbolizes 
the  coming of spring, as robins are referred to as harbingers of spring.[4]
A  general class name used to denote a specific member of that or an 
associated  class"the good book", or "The Book" for the Bible ("Bible" itself 
comes from the  Greek for "book")
"truck" for any four-wheel drive vehicle (as well as  long-haul trailers, 
"He's good people". (Here, the word "people" is  used to denote a specific 
instance of people, i.e., a person. So the sentence  would be interpreted as 
"He's a good person".)
A specific class name used to  refer to a general set of associated 
things"John Hancock" for the signature of  any person
a genericized trademark, for example "Coke" for any variety of  cola, 
"Band-Aid" for any variety of adhesive bandage, or "Styrofoam" for any  product 
made of expanded polystyrene.
"bug" for any kind of insect or  arachnid, even if it is not a true bug
The material that a thing is  (actually, historically, or supposedly) made 
of referring to that thing"glasses"  for spectacles
"steel" for a sword
"strings" for string instruments The  strings come in together on the next 
"brass" for brass instruments The  brass section needs to tune their 
"ivories" for a piano The  maestro sure knows how to tickle the ivories.
"tin" for a container made with  tin plating
"willow" for a cricket bat
"pigskin" for an American or  Canadian football
"wood" for a type of club used in the sport of  golf
"irons" for shackles placed around a prisoner's wrists or ankles to  
restrict his movement
"plastic" for a credit card (asking a merchant) Do you  take plastic?
"lead" for bullets (e.g. They pumped him full of  lead.)
"silver" for tableware, cutlery or other dishes that were once made of  
silver metal
"rubber" for a condom
"threads" for clothing Yo, check out my  new threads!
"flint" (the sparking bit in a lighter) for ferrocerium (which  is not made 
of flint)
"lead" for the graphite core of a pencil
A container  is used to refer to its contents"barrel" for a barrel of oil
"keg" for a keg  of beer
"he drank the cup", to refer to his drinking of the cup's  contents

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