EM and SD based on the interaction between the logical and emotive meanings

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EM and SD based on the interaction between the logical and emotive meanings

They are epithet, hyperbole and oxymoron.

Epithet is a SD which expresses a characteristic of an object both existing and imaginary. Its basic features are emotiveness and subjectivity, the characteristic, attached to the object to qualify it, is always chosen by the speaker himself.

The logical attribute is purely objective, non-evaluating. It is descriptive and indicates an inherent or prominent feature of the thing or phenomenon in question.

 E.g. white snow, round table, blue skies.

Epithet can be trite and original. Through low and repeated use epithet becomes trite or fixed. Many fixed epithets are closely connected with folklore and can be traced back to the folk ballads.

e . g . true love – верная любовь; Merry Christmas ; красна девица; чисто поле.

Those which were first fond in Homer’s poetry and have been repeated since are known as Homeric Epithets.

 e.g. swift-footed Achilles; rosy-fingered dawn.

Epithet may be classified from different standpoints: semantic and structural. The structure and semantic of epithet is extremely variable. Semantically, epithets may be divided into two groups: 1) affective (emotive) or associated with the noun following and 2) figurative or unassociated with the noun.

Affective (emotive)/associated epithets are those which point to a feature which is essential to the object they describe.

e.g. dark forest, nasty weather, fantastic terrors. 

Figurative or unassociated epithets are attributes used to characterize the object by adding a feature not inherent in it. This group falls into a) metaphoric e.g. the frowning sun; b) transferred epithets e.g. Most of the day she spent before the solitary fire = it was the girl who was solitary before the fire.

The structure of epithets can be of 6 types. Epithets can be:

- single;

- pair;

- chain;

- two-step;

- inverted;

- phrase.

Pairs are represented by two epithets joined by a conjunction or asyndetically

E.g. wonderful and incomparable beauty; a tired old town.

Chains, also called strings of epithets, present a group of homogeneous epithets

E.g. she was hopefully, sadly, vaguely, madly longing for something better.

Two-step epithets are so called because the process of qualifying seemingly passes two stages: the qualification of an object and the qualification of the qualification:

E.g. an unnaturally mild day.

Inverted epithets are based on the contradiction between the logical and syntactical: logically defining becomes syntactically defined and vice versa.

E.g. this devil of a woman:

 1. syntactically “of a woman” is defining, “devil” is defined;

 2. logically “of a woman” is defined and “devil” is defining.

An inverted epithet should not be mixed up with an ordinary of-phrase

E.g. The toy of the girl = the toy belonging to the girl;

        The toy of a girl = a small toy like girl;

         The kitten of the woman = the cat belonging to the woman;

         The kitten of a woman = a kitten like woman.

Phrase epithets always produce an original impression. The words in this kind of epithets are hyphenated e.g. a-move-if-you-dare expression.

Hyperbole is a SD which has the function of intensifying one certain property of the object described. It is a deliberate overstatement or exaggeration of a feature essential to the object or phenomenon. The use of hyperbole shows the overflow of emotions in the speaker and the listener is carried away by the flood. Hyperbole is one of the most common EM of our everyday speech. When we describe our anger or admiration we use trite hyperboles which have lost their originality and remained signals of the speaker’s roused emotions.

 E.g. I have told you a thousand times.

Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech. There are words which are used in this SD more often. They are such pronouns as all, every, everybody and the like; numeral nouns a million, a thousand; adverbs of time ever, never.

There is one more SD with the same mechanism. It is understatement. While hyperbole enlarges, understatement diminishes the size, shape, dimensions, characteristic feature of the object

E.g. The little woman, for she was of a pocket size, crossed her hands solemnly on her middle.

Oxymoron presents a combination of two contrasting ideas. It is a combination of two words in which the meanings of the two clash, being opposite in sense. One of the components discloses some objectively existing feature of quality while the other serves to convey the author’s (the character’s) personal attitude. The usual patterns of oxymoron are an adjective and a noun or an adverb and a verb.

E.g. It was you who made me a liar, she cried silently. (cried – subjective; silently – objective).

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