General classification of lexical expressive means and stylistic devices
Lexical stylistic devices and expressive means are classified according to three principles:
-interplay of different types of lexical meaning: metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron, irony, epithet, zeugma, pun; words in context may acquire additional lexical meanings, not fixed in dictionaries <contextual meaning>. It is the correlation between the two types of lexical meaning: dictionary and contextual. In the context the word realizes one meaning. If two meanings are realized, it will make the understanding difficult. When a word realizes the primary logical and derivative meaning we register a stylistic device.
-interplay between the primary dictionary and contextual meanings: metaphor, based on the principle of identification of two objects; metonymy, based on the substitution of one object for another; irony, which is a contrary concept.
The interplay of primary and derivative logical meaning <the meaning, which can be registered as a secondary one and which is derived from the primary meaning by means of metaphor and metonymy>. It consists of the following: zeugma, which is the use of the word in the same grammatical but different semantic relations to the two adjusted words; pun is a stylistic device based on the interaction of two well-known meanings of a word or phrase. The only reliable distinguishing feature between zeugma and pun is a structural one. Zeugma is a realization of two meanings with a help of a verb, which is made to refer to different subjects r objects, while pun is more independent and can be realized within the limits of the context, paragraph, text or even the whole novel.
-the interaction of logical <the precise naming of a feature, idea or phenomenon> and emotive <has reference to the feelings and emotions of the speaker towards the subject>: interjections, exclamatory words. Also epithet. Epithet is a stylistic device used to characterize an object, pointing out some of the properties or features of the object with the aim of giving an individual perception and evaluation of these features. Oxymoron is a combination of two words in which the meanings of the two clash, being opposite in sense. E.g. 'low skyscraper', 'sweet sorrow', 'nice rascal', 'pleasantly ugly face'. Intencification of certain features of the object, one of the qualities of the object in question is made to some degree essential (simile, hyperbole, periphrasis, euphemism). Simile is based on the characterisation of one, object by bringing it into contact with another object belonging to an entirely different class of things.
Periphrasis has a form of a free word combination or a sentence which substitutes a certain notion or thing. Euphemism is a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one. Hyperbole is based on a deliberate exaggeration of a feature, essential to the object or phenomenon. The use of set expressions: Cliche is a commonly used expression that has become hackneyed.
Proverbs and sayings are facts of language, which are collected in dictionaries and have typical features such as rhythm, rhyme, alliteration.
Irony is a stylistic device, based on the simultaneous realization of the two logical meanings (dictionary and contextual), but both stay in opposition to each other; thus, the word which has a positive evaluation realizes negative evaluation in the context. [It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one's pocket].
The relation between dictionary and contextual meanings may be maintained along different lines: on the principle of affinity, on that of proximity, or symbol - referent relations, or on opposition. Thus the stylistic device based on the first principle is metaphor, on the second, metonymy and on the third, irony. A metaphor is a relation between the dictionary and contextual logical meanings based on the affinity or similarity of certain properties or features of the two corresponding concepts. Metaphor is the power of realizing two lexical meanings simultaneously. Metaphor can be embodied in all the meaningful parts of speech, in nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and sometimes even in the auxiliary parts of speech, as in prepositions. Metaphor as any stylistic devices can be classified according to their degree of unexpectedness. Thus metaphors which are absolutely unexpected, are quite unpredictable, are called genuine metaphors. e. g. Through the open window the dust danced and was golden. Those which are commonly used in speech and are sometimes fixed in the dictionaries as expressive means of language are trite metaphors or dead metaphors e. g. a flight of fancy, floods of tears.
Trite metaphors are sometimes injected with new vigour, their primary meaning is re-established alongside the new derivative meaning. This is done by supplying the central image created by the metaphor with additional words bearing some reference to the main word. e. g. Mr. Pickwick bottled up his vengeance and corked it down.
The verb " to bottle up " is explained as " to keep in check", to conceal, to restrain, repress. So the metaphor can be hardly felt. But it is revived by the direct meaning of the verb "to cork down". Such metaphors are called sustained or prolonged. Stylistic function of a metaphor is to make the description concrete, to express the individual attitude.