‘Whenever I put a black jacket on, I get dandruff ’—On metonymy as a device for constructive argumentation analysis

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Sigrell, Anders (2012)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508, eissn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v3i4.22052
  • Subject: metonymy, metaphor, argumentation analysis, rhetoric, teacher education

Mother-tongue teachers teach argumentation analysis. To this end, among other things, they use a stylistic meta-language, i.e. the tropes and figures of style, to analyse arguments as well as more aesthetic communication. The best-known trope is the metaphor. In this article it is argued that a more pragmatic view on the related figure metonymy could sharpen our tools for argumentation analysis. Metaphor is about resemblance or similarity; metonymy is about some kind of contextual togetherness or contiguity, “The White House has decided to decrease the military presence in Afghanistan”. Since the information focus in the metonymy is somewhere other than on the name shift, it makes it a potential carrier of possibly insidious assumptions and attempts to persuade. Such possible instances could be “Prices go up” or “Pensions go down”. The metonymy concept can help us see that pensions do not go down; someone has decided to lower them.Keywords: metonymy, metaphor, argumentation analysis, rhetoric, teacher education(Published: 1 December 2012)Citation: Education Inquiry Vol. 3, No. 4, December 2012, pp. 535–550
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