Metonymy at the crossroads

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The chapter uses two small-scale studies to examine the effects of metonymy in political discourse. We re-examine some theoretical constructs proposed as definitional of metonymy, particularly pragmatic function (Barcelona, 2003a) and inclusion of the source and target in the same functional domain (ibid.). By analyzing the dysphemism chickenhawk as an instantiation of the metaphoric mapping humans are animals and the metonymic mapping part of a scenario for the whole scenario in the euphemism body count, we delineate the possibilities and limitations of metonymic inferencing (Panther and Thornburg­, 2003). The observed differences in the pragmatic effect of euphemistic and dysphemistic expressions ascribed to metonymy reveal its differing foregrounding and backgrounding force.


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