The synecdoque (of the Greek sunekdokhê , “simultaneous comprehension”) is a figure of Rhétorique used in the French language which consists in changing level on a hierarchical tree of general information: to take the part for the whole, the whole for the part, the kind for the species, the species for the kind, etc Contrary to the Métonymie which is opposite for him and which is based on a logical report/ratio of consequence, it indicates a whole while naming only one part which is bound to him by a logical report/ratio of hierarchy.
One classifies the synecdoque one among the figures of direction Trope or Métasémème in the terminology of the Groupe µ. It proceeds sometimes of a suppression sometimes of an addition, operation relating sometimes on parts, sometimes to semantic determinations (Sèmes).
The synecdoque one is often confused with the Métonymie, figure which takes part of a whole for another part (for example the name of the area for cheese or the wine that one produced there - Bordeaux, a Roquefort -, the author for work - to look at Picasso, to read San Antonio -
Four varieties of synecdoques
There are four varieties of synecdoques:
- the synecdoque one of the whole for the part (synecdoque generalizing referential or Sg∏)
- the synecdoque one of the part for the whole (synecdoque particularizing referential, or Sp∏)
- the synecdoque one of the kind for the species (synecdoque generalizing semic or Sg∑)
- the synecdoque one of the species for the kind (synecdoque particularizing semic or Sp∑).
Nor veils with far descendant towards Harfleur. Victor Hugo ( the veils = sailing boats; Sp∏)
- Bern protested vigorously against the attack of a diplomatic vehicle. ( Bern = the Suisse it is the Sp∏ capital)
- the mortals (= men; Sg∑)
Synecdoque particularizing referential (Sp∏) is sometimes incorrectly confused with the Métonymie. A broad tradition arranges in the same category this complex Trope, obtained by the conjunction of two synecdoques, and the tropes simple that are synecdoques the ∏. In the case of the metonymy, the two terms are indeed linked by a report/ratio of adjacency inside the same logical unit (cause-effect, container-contents, abstract-concrete, author-work, food-member of an ethnos group, etc)
A particular case of synecdoque particularizing semic (Sp∑) is the Antonomase: one speaks about antonomasia when the result is a proper name.
Example of antonomasia: Cicéron (= good speaker).
The synecdoque one of the matter (*Le iron ⇒ the sword, *Un Jean ⇒ pants as a Jean) is a particular case of Sp∏.
- Québécois Office of the French language
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