Towards a textual theory of metonymy : a semiotic approach to the nature and role of metonymy in text
This thesis argues that the scope of metonymy throughout history remains severely reduced to a process of word substitution and the signifying potential of the trope is limited to lexical representation. The study therefore proposes a semiotic approach to take the trope beyond this limitation and to develop a textual theory to the trope. A background study related to how metonymy is treated in previous studies is therefore necessary. This review of literature covers a long period starting from ancient Greece and going up to the present day. Chapters one and two of this thesis, which give this general background, show that the hypothesis is to a large extent valid. The thesis then examines another related hypothesis which is that metonymy is semiotic in nature and a semiotic approach to metonymy will solve the problem of reductionism in the treatment of this trope. Chapter three is devoted to an examination of this hypothesis. It shows that a semiotic approach to metonymy is not only possible but also crucial. The semiotic approach to metonymy basically concerns the treatment of metonymy as a sign which cuts across three domains of representation. These are the domain of words, the domain of concepts and the domain of things or objects. The last domain is itself treated from a semiotic perspective to stand for the domain of context at large. on the basis of this semiotic approach to metonymy a textual model of metonymic relations in text is constructed. this model is put to the test in chapter four. here the metonymic relations of form for form, form for concept, form for thing, thing for form and concept for form are brought to bear on the formal and semantic connectedness of text. in chapter five the metonymic relations of concept for concept, concept for thing, thing for thing and thing for concept are used to explain how these metonymic relations interact to provide a linkage between language, cognition and context.