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What Is Polysyndeton?


In Linguistics there are different terms to denote the particular means by which writers obtain the desired effect of the utterance. EMs and SDs and other terms are sometimes used by authors indiscriminately, ( , ) For our purposes it is necessary to make a distinction between EMs and SDs.


Structure and functions

ransference the act of name exchange, of substitution

The name of one object is transferred onto another on the basis of:

a. their similarity (of shape, color, function, form, etc.);

b. Their closeness (of material existence, cause and effect, instrument and the result, part and whole relations, etc.).

Expressive means of a language (EMs)

EMs of a language are:

a) phonetic means, morphological forms, means of word-building;

b) lexical, phraseological and syntactical forms.

Purpose: they function in the language for emotional or logical intensification of the utterance, e.g.: He shall do it.

What is a stylistic device?

A SD - is a conscious and intentional literary use of some facts of the language (including expressive means) with the purpose of further intensification of the emotional or logical emphasis contained in the corresponding expressive means.

Examples of SDs

a) Andrews face looked as if it were made of a wrotten apple (simile).

b) She gave him her best go-to-hell look (phrase epithet).

c) Her family is one aunt about a thousandyears old (hyperbole).

d) I looked at the gun, and the gunlookedat me(chiasmus).

Convergence of EMs and SDs

And heaved and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience

(H.Melville. Moby Dick).



Polysyndeton, Asyndeton, Climax, Anticlimax, Litotes, Antithesis

What Is Polysyndeton?

Polysyndeton is a literary technique in which conjunctions (e.g. and, but, or) are used repeatedly in quick succession, often with no commas, even when the conjunctions could be removed.

It is often used to change the rhythm of the text, either faster or slower, and can convey either a sense of gravity or excitement. It can also be used to intentionally overwhelm the reader, giving them very little room for mentally or visually breathing with the lack of commas.

Below are a few more examples now that you know what to look for.

Example from Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.

Twain was a big fan of polysyndeton and the first pages of Huckleberry Finn are littered with fun but unnecessary conjunctions.

Example from Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice:

Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be sobut still they admired her and liked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and one whom they would not object to know more of.

Austen uses polysyndeton frequently to convey a sense of enthusiasm and breathlessness.

Example from Herman Melvilles Moby Dick:

There was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots among the benches, and a still slighter shuffling of womens shoes, and all was quiet again, and every eye on the preacher.

Melville is constantly carried away by polysyndeton, which adds to the gravity of his prose.

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1468

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