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Lexical facets and metonymy Lexical facets and metonymy

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Author(s): D. Alan Cruse

Journal: Ilha do Desterro
ISSN 0101-4846

Issue: 47;
Start page: 073;
Date: 2008;
Original page

ABSTRACT
This article compares two accounts of the type of meaning alternation exhibited by book (“physical object”, as in a dusty book, and “abstract text”, as in a well-written book). The first account is Nunberg’s “dense metonymy” approach (Nunberg, 1995); the second is Cruse’s “facet” approach (Croft & Cruse, 2004). A major difference between the two approaches is that on the metonymy account, one of the distinct readings must be derived from the other; the special character of dense metonymy then lies in the fact that the derivation can be in either direction, but the readings remain distinct. On the facet account, on the other hand, the starting point is a single rich gestalt encompassing both concrete and abstract aspects, and the specialised readings are contextual construals of this; there is no derivational relation between the specialised readings. It is argued that the “facet” approach has greater explanatory power: The absence of a unified “global” concept in the metonymy account means that significant aspects of the behaviour of book remain unaccounted for. This article compares two accounts of the type of meaning alternation exhibited by book (“physical object”, as in a dusty book, and “abstract text”, as in a well-written book). The first account is Nunberg’s “dense metonymy” approach (Nunberg, 1995); the second is Cruse’s “facet” approach (Croft & Cruse, 2004). A major difference between the two approaches is that on the metonymy account, one of the distinct readings must be derived from the other; the special character of dense metonymy then lies in the fact that the derivation can be in either direction, but the readings remain distinct. On the facet account, on the other hand, the starting point is a single rich gestalt encompassing both concrete and abstract aspects, and the specialised readings are contextual construals of this; there is no derivational relation between the specialised readings. It is argued that the “facet” approach has greater explanatory power: The absence of a unified “global” concept in the metonymy account means that significant aspects of the behaviour of book remain unaccounted for.
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