Volume 33, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238
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The paper focuses on non-literal uses of proper names in XYZ constructions, such as the use of the personal name in or ‘, and argues that such uses can be best accounted for by relevance theory. While in their primary use, proper names uniquely denote specific individuals and have no meaning on their own, in their secondary uses, they act as common nouns, capable of conveying non-literal meanings. In relevance theory, such non-literal uses can be explained in terms of lexical modulation or ad hoc concept formation. The analysis of selected examples shows that while some of the XYZ constructions can be seen as metaphors, others are better described as category extensions, and it substantiates the relevance-theoretic claim that there is no clear cut-off point between the two varieties of loose use.


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