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Stage 3: A Depth Analysis at the Level of Mythic Meanings

My analysis in this chapter moves to a consideration of the linguistic features related to figurative language and connotation, that is, to expressions at the level of mythic meanings. For the BP data, metonymy and metaphor were of interest.

Feature 7: Metonymy

Definition and Analysis Method

I presented an outline of the rhetorical trope metonymy in the context of the semiotic level of connotation or myth. My definition of metonymy includes both the specific concept of metonymy (substitution according to contiguity) and synecdoche (whole for part and part for whole substitution). My analysis strategy for metonymic expressions was firstly to identify all instances of metonymy within my data sets. In this process of identification, I used for support and terminology the summary lists and categorisations of metonyms found in, amongst others, Chandler (2007), Lakoff and Johnson (1980), Cornelissen (2008) and © The Author(s) 2017

J. Gravells, Semiotics and Verbal Texts, Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-58750-3_10

Radden, Kopcke, Berg, and Siemund (2007), placing metonyms in groups such as ORGANISATION FOR MEMBER, CONTROLLER FOR CONTROLLED and so on. As well as using the guidelines offered in these works, I also followed the general principle outlined by Dirven (2002) that metonymic expressions can often be recognised by the use of an inanimate subject with a verb usually requiring an animate subject. Dirven gives as examples the verbs “mean” or “use”, and there are many usages of this type in my own data, for example “The US Census Bureau recently declared ...” (Canwest News Service, 27.4.2012). In discussing the functions of metonyms, I took into account that metonymic expressions select an aspect of the entity described for attention, and in doing this necessarily disregard other aspects of the entity that might have been selected.

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