The role of metonymy in meaning construction at discourse level

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The process of meaning construction, as understood by Panther and Thornburg(Panther 2005), namely the determination of both explicit and implicit meaning, is to a large extent guided or facilitated by conceptual metonymy. The previously published research of the author of this chapter on the function of metonymy in guiding text-level implicatures has been mostly confined to the study of brief written dialogues. The present chapter reports on a case study dealing with this function of metonymy in a relatively extended portion of a narrative text. The findings in the study confirm the hypothesis that metonymy is also the main conceptual mechanism guiding the implicatures invited by this type of text. The study also shows that the metonymies guiding the implicatures respond to a finite set of generic types.


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