Hellenistic Roman rhetoric system — КиберПедия 

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Hellenistic Roman rhetoric system


1. Metaphor - the application of a word (phrase) to an object (concept) it doesn't literally denote to suggest comparison with another object or concept.

E. g. A mighty Fortress is our God.

2. Puzzle (Riddle) - a statement that requires thinking over a con­fusing or difficult problem that needs to be solved.

3. Synecdoche - the mention of a part for the whole.

E.g. A fleet of 50 sail, (ships)

4. Metonymy - substitution of one word for another on the basis of real connection.

E.g. Crown for sovereign; Homer for Homer's poems; wealth for rich people.

5. Catachresis - misuse of a word due to the false folk etymology or wrong application of a term in a sense that does not belong to the word.

E.g. Alibi for excuse; mental for weak-minded; mutual for common; disinterested for uninterested.

A later term for it is malapropism that became current due to Mrs. Malaprop, a character from R. Sheridan's The Rivals (1775). This sort of misuse is mostly based on similarity in sound.

E. g. 77гаI young violinist is certainly a child progeny (instead of prodigy).

6. Epithet - a word or phrase used to describe someone or some­thing with a purpose to praise or blame.

E. g. It was a lovely, summery evening.

7. Periphrasis - putting things in a round about way hi order to bring out some important feature or explain more clearly the idea or situation described.

E.g. I got an Arab boy... and paid him twenty rupees a month, about thirty bob, at which he was highly delighted. (Shute)

8. Hyperbole - use of exaggerated terms for emphasis.

E. g. A 1000 apologies; to wait an eternity; he is stronger than a lion.

9. Antonomasia - use of a proper name to express a general idea or conversely a common name for a proper one.

E. g. The Iron Lady; a Solomon; Don Juan.

Figures of Speech that create Rhythm

These expressive means were divided into 4 large groups:

Figures that create rhythm by means of addition1. Doubling (reduplication, repetition) of words and sounds.

E.g. Tip-top, helter-skelter, wishy-washy; oh, the dreary, dreary moorland.

2. Epenalepsis (polysyndeton) conjunctions: use of several conjunctions.

E. g. He thought, and thought, and thought; I hadn't realized until then how small the houses were, how small and mean the shops. (Shute)

3. Anaphora: repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more clauses, sentences or verses.

E. g. No tree, no shrub, no blade of grass, not a bird or beast, not even a fish that was not owned!

4. Enjambment: running on of one thought into the next line, couplet or stanza without breaking the syntactical pattern.

E.g. In Ocean's wide domains Half buried in the sands Lie skeletons in chains With shackled feet and hands.


5. Asyndeton: omission of conjunction.

E. g. He provided the poor with jobs, with opportunity, with self-respect.

Figures based on compression

1. Zeugma (syllepsis): a figure by which a verb, adjective or other part of speech, relating to one noun is referred to another.

E. g. He lost his hat and his temper, with weeping eyes and hearts.

2. Chiasmus-a reversal in the order of words in one of two parallel phrases.

E. g. He went to the country, to the town went she.

3. Ellipsis-omission of words needed to complete the construction or the sense.

E.g. Tomorrow at 1.30; The ringleader was hanged and his followers imprisoned.

Figures based on assonance or accord

1. Equality of colons-used to have a power to segment and arrange.

2. Proportions and harmony of colons.

Figures based on opposition

1. Antithesis - choice or arrangement of words that emphasises a contrast.

E. g. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, wise men use them; Give me liberty or give me death.

2. Paradiastola - the lengthening of a syllable regularly short (in Greek poetry).

3. Anastrophe - a term of rhetoric, meaning, the upsetting for effect of the normal order of words (inversion in contemporary terms).

E. g. Me he restored, him he hanged. Types of speech

Ancient authors distinguished speech for practical and aesthetic purposes. Rhetoric dealt with the latter which was supposed to answer certain requirements, such as a definite choice of words, their assonance, deviation from ordinary vocabulary and employment of special stratums like poetic diction, neologisms and archaisms, onomatopoeia as well as appellation to tropes. One of the most important devices to create a necessary high-flown or dramatic effect was an elaborate rhythmical arrangement of eloquent speech that involved the obligatory use of the so-called figures or schemes. The quality of rhetoric as an art of speech was measured in terms of skilful combination, convergence, abundance or absence of these devices. Respectively all kinds of speech were labelled and repre­sented in a kind of hierarchy including the following types: elevated; flowery IfloridI exquisite; poetic; normal; dry; scanty; hackneyed; tasteless.

Attempts to analyse and determine the style-forming features of prose also began in ancient times. Demetrius of Alexandria who lived in Greece in the 3d century ВС was an Athenian orator, statesman and philosopher. He used the ideas of such earlier theorists as Aristotle

and characterized styles by rhetoric of purpose that required certain grammatical constructions.

The Plain Style, he said, is simple, using many active verbs and keeping its subjects (nouns) spare. Its purposes include lucidity, clarity, familiarity, and the necessity to get its work done crisply and well. So this style uses few difficult compounds, coinages or qualifications (such as epithets or modifiers). It avoids harsh sounds, or odd orders. It employs helpful connective terms and clear clauses with firm endings. In every way it tries to be natural, following the order of events themselves with moderation and repetition as in dialogue.

The Eloquent Style in contrast changes the natural order of events to effect control over them and give the narration expressive power rather than sequential account. So this style may be called passive in contrast to active.

As strong assumptions are made subjects are tremendously amplified without the activity of predication because inherent qualities rather than new relations are stressed. Sentences are lengthy, rounded, well balanced, with a great deal of elaborately connected material. Words can be unusual, coined; meanings can be implied, oblique, and symbolic. Sounds can fill the mouth, perhaps, harshly.

Two centuries later a Greek rhetorician and historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus who lived in Rome in the 1stcentury ВС characterized one of the Greek orators in such a way: "His harmony is natural, stately, spacious, articulated by pauses rather than strongly polished and joined by connectives; naturally off-balance, not rounded and symmetrical." (43, p. 123).

Dionyssius wrote over twenty books, most famous of which are "On Imitation", "Commentaries on the Ancient Orators" and "On the Arrangement of Words". The latter is the only surviving ancient study of principles of word order and euphony.

For the Romans a recommended proportion for language units in verse was two nouns and two adjectives to one verb, which they called '<the golden line".

Gradually the choices of certain stylistic features in different combinations settled into three types - plain, middle and high.

Nowadays there exist dozens of classifications of expressive means of a language and all of them involve to a great measure the same elements. They differ often only in terminology and criteria of classification.

Three of the modern classifications of expressive means in the English language that are commonly recognized and used in teaching stylistics today will be discussed further in brief.

They have been offered by G. Leech, I. R. Galperin and Y. M. Skreb-


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