cognitive rhetoric

 

 Rudiments of cognitive rhetoric3

 

IX:      When an utterance has received a symbolic interpretation under Conditions VII and VIII, the utterance act itself is symbolically interpreted. Attention is focused on the inadequacy of shared knowledge and a second evocation attempts to reconstruct the conditions under which the first evocation would have been superfluous-that is, the conditions under which the information that was first evoked could have instead been invoked.

I suggest that this two-stage evocation, about the utterance and about the utterance act, is a characteristic of figural speech which distinguishes it from all other kinds of verbal symbolism.[1][3]

When Conditions I - III are not met, the hearer looks for an implicature or a gap filler. If none is found in shared knowledge, or one is found but it does not meet Condition IV in the case of an implicature or Conditions V - VI in the case of a gap, then the hearer must turn to evocation. There are therefore two major types of figures, depending on whether the evocation is intended to establish or correct an implicature or to establish or correct a gap-filler. These two types can of course be freely combined. I will give examples of figures by implicature and of figures by gap without attempting to cover, even schematically, the full range of possibilities. My purpose here is not to present a taxonomy, but to study certain general mechanisms of figural interpretation.

3.2       Figures from implicature

Consider:

(48)      Ma femme, m'invitant a goûter son tout premier soufflé a par inadvertance laissé tomber une cuillerée sur mon pied, fracturant ainsi plusieurs petits os. (Woody Allen)

(48E)   My wife, inviting me to sample her very first soufflé, accidentally dropped a spoonful of it on my foot, fracturing several small bones. (Woody Allen)

This utterance implies:

(49)      Le soufflé avait une densité de l'ordre de celle du plomb.

(49E)   The soufflé was as heavy as lead.

This implicature is a gross violation of Condition IV, whereby an implicature must be less relevant than the utterance which provides it. To restore the condition, it is necessary to first evoke a paradoxical soufflé, an unprecedented culinary disaster. Now, under what circumstances would it have been possible to invoke this image rather than having to evoke it? If among the knowledge shared by Woody Allen and his readers was the view that his wife, or young wives in general, are prone to culinary disasters. Thus (48) evokes in the second stage a complicity of attitude among male chauvinists towards women who fail miserably, however hard they try. In short, the first evocation, about the utterance, is quite astonishing;  and the second evocation, about the utterance act, comes down to saying "What else would you expect?"

A second example: When Sieyès was asked what he had done during the Reign of Terror, he replied:

(50)      J'ai vécu.

(50E)   I lived.

If he had not lived, he would not have been around to talk about it; therefore the least that can be said is that Condition I is not directly satisfied. But 'to live' implies 'to not be killed,' and in shared knowledge is the fact that it was not easy for a member of the National Convention to escape being guillotined during the Terror. Hence, the implicature in (51), which gives a minimum of relevance to (50):

(51)      Sieyès a fait ce qu'il fallait pour ne pas être guillotiné.

(51E)   Sieyès did what was necessary to avoid being guillotined.

But (51) is more relevant than (50), so Condition IV is not met. However, (51) is not yet sufficiently informative to answer the question asked of Sieyès with optimal relevance, as required by Condition II. Everything which would make (51) more relevant to the question asked and less relevant to the answer given must be evoked. This can only be done by suggesting that the question itself was of little relevance and that the answer is self-evident.

The Terror is evoked, then, as a period when all politics, options, factions came down to a simple choice: either die for one's ideas or conceal them in order to survive. Depending on the extent of his knowledge, the hearer can invoke in greater or lesser detail the manoeuvres, alliances, and betrayals that Sieyès must have engaged in so as to escape the guillotine; the hearer's preferences will determine whether he sees these as a sign of cowardice or of shrewdness. With this kind of evocation, the implicature in (51) answers the question, which has lost quite a bit of relevance; and the utterance in (50) explicates to a degree what is most relevant in the answer. Conditions II and IV are, to the extent possible, restored.

Nonetheless, the image of the Terror that is evoked in this way is not only not a part of shared knowledge but actually contradicts the common opinion. Under what circumstances would it be immediately present in the mind of speaker and hearer? Only if they had a completely jaded, cynical view of political life. Thus, in the second stage, a connivance in cynicism is evoked not by the content of the utterance but by the act of having uttered it.

A third example:

(52)      Il faut manger pour vivre et non pas vivre pour manger.

(52E)   One must eat to live and not live to eat.    

This utterance, a classic example of antimetabole (the repetition of two words or phrases, in reverse sequence), also comprises an antanaclasis (the repetition of a single word in different senses), less noticeable because it is hidden by ellipsis: et non pas, 'and not,' is elliptical for et il ne faut pas, 'and one must not.' The verb falloir,  'must,' has two meanings: material necessity and moral obligation, and both are used here. Moreover, the inverted symmetry suggested by the antimetabole is only superficial. The two propositions composing (52) are ambiguous not only because of the two meanings of falloir but also for syntactic reasons: pour vivre, 'to live,' can be the complement of manger, 'eat,' or of il faut manger, 'one must eat,' and pour manger, 'to eat,' can be the complement of vivre, 'eat,' or of il ne faut pas vivre, 'one must not live.' Therefore each proposition has four meanings, corresponding to those in (53) and (54).

(53)      aa.     [Il est matériellement nécessaire de manger] pour vivre.

            ab.    [Il est moralement obligatoire de manger] pour vivre.

            ba.    Il est matériellement nécessaire de [manger pour vivre].

            bb.    Il est moralement obligatoire de [manger pour vivre].

(53E)   aa.     [It is materially necessary to eat] in order to live.

            ab.    [It is morally obligatory to eat] in order to live.

            ba.    It is materially necessary to [eat to live].

            bb.    It is morally obligatory to [eat to live].

(54)      aa.     [Il est matériellement nécessaire de ne pas vivre] pour manger.

            ab.    [Il est moralement obligatoire de ne pas vivre] pour manger.

            ba.    Il est matériellement nécessaire de ne pas [vivre pour manger].

            bb.    Il est moralement obligatoire de ne pas [vivre pour manger].

(54E)   aa.     [It is materially necessary to not live] in order to eat.

            ab.    [It is morally obligatory to not live] in order to eat.

            ba.    It is materially necessary to not [live to eat].

            bb.    It is morally obligatory to not [live to eat].

Hence there are 16 meanings[2][4] resulting from the possible combinations of (53) and (54). Intuitively, the meaning of (53aa) + (54bb) is the one selected and, incidentally, this meaning obeys the principle of disambiguation suggested above. For the second proposition, no hesitation is possible, because the three eliminated meanings are completely paradoxical. For the first proposition, however, the typical reaction of an informant will be to choose first (53aa) and then, as if seized with remorse, hesitate and consider the possibility of (53bb). We shall see that, while only (53aa) is asserted by (52), (53bb) is evoked by the symbolic interpretation, which accounts for the informant's hesitation.

The two propositions of (52) conjoined by et, 'and,' are equally focused, although they do not have equal relevance with regards to common shared knowledge. It goes without saying that in order to live, one must eat; the first proposition has only the minimal relevance of a reminder. The second proposition also seems too uninformative, since even among gluttons, few would claim that eating is the purpose of life. But the hearer starts from the premise that the speaker has maximised relevance, and when Condition II is not directly satisfied by a semantic interpretation of the utterance, it can be restored by an implicature. Hence the following implicature arises:

(55)      Manger est le but de la vie pour un gourmand.

(55E)   Eating is the purpose of life for a glutton.

Since gluttony is fairly common, if the implicature in (55) is associated with the proposition (54bb), the latter expresses a strong-even severe-judgement, and the relevance of the second conjunct of utterance (52) is restored. Once this is accomplished, two problems remain to resolve-one optionally and the other obligatorily. First, the difference in relevance of the two equally focused propositions in (52) is increased; this does not directly violate Condition II, which requires only that when one proposition is less focused than another it must also be less relevant, but not the contrary. Nonetheless, the speaker said et, 'and,' when he could have said mais, 'but,' and it would be preferable to find an interpretation of the first conjunct of (52) that increases its relevance (note that (52) with mais rather than et intuitively has less figural import, and the present analysis accounts for this). Moreover, the implicature in (53) is more relevant (if only because it is questionable) than the proposition that implicates it, and thus Condition IV is violated. It must be restored and this can only be done through symbolic evocation.     

Attention is thus shifted from the utterance itself to its implicature, (15), whose over-relevance defines as field of evocation anything in memory or imagination that could make it less paradoxical. Realistic knowledge of the world shows that, between the pure ascetic and the pure hedonist, all gradations are possible: the pleasure of food and the necessity of sustenance are two motives that combine in variable proportions. But, if (55) is to go without saying, this continuum must be reconstructed as a clear opposition: the slightest hint of gluttony is taken as a complete inversion of the means (eating) and the end (living), and the glutton is seen as having crossed an absolute boundary, all the more daunting in that nothing indicates its place. Simultaneously, what lies before this boundary-alimentary virtue which consists in ingesting food only because it is necessary for survival, with no consideration of the tempting pleasures of eating-is also evoked. This complementary evocation solves the minor problem of the first proposition's weak relevance. This proposition does indeed have the meaning of (53aa) but it evokes the more relevant meaning of (53bb). To accept, albeit reluctantly, the physical necessity expressed by (53aa) is to accept the moral obligation expressed by (53bb).

Here, then, is an utterance that seems trite, weak, and insufficiently relevant, but which is balanced and enriched by symbolic evocation. Moreover-and as always-the knowledge reconstructed from passive memory, the conception evoked by the figural utterance, is itself subject to a second evocation: it is presented as shared knowledge, mobilised or invokable, common knowledge to speaker and hearer; its moral sense, unbeknownst to them, is reshaped by an utterance whose symbolic effectiveness is only enhanced by its apparent conceptual banality and inoffensiveness. Beware of proverbs.

It will be noted that the superficial syntactic inversion of utterance (52), disproven by the syntactic and semantic analysis, is restored by the symbolic evocation. The antimetabole and the antanaclasis appear as catalysts, putting additional focus on a figure  based on the non-correspondence between the relative focus of the two propositions in the conceptual representation, and their relevance with regards to shared knowledge.

These three examples, provided to illustrate how an overly relevant implicature becomes the focal point of a figural interpretation, suggest two other incidental observations.

First, in the three examples, the initial evocation, about the utterance, led to nuances in encyclopaedic knowledge being recast as stark contrasts. While not all symbolic evocations work like this, the similarity is not fortuitous. Lévi-Strauss's analysis of myths showed how the symbolic organisation of the encyclopaedia creates contrasts out of gradation, draws on differences as much as similarities, highlights distance as much as contiguity. Symbolism is unitary, and one should not be surprised to find these processes in figural interpretation.

But while these three examples may initially seem similar, they differ greatly in tonality. Woody Allen is funny, Sieyès is witty, and the proverb is sententious. These differences, it seems to me, stem less from the evocation of the utterance than from the evocation of the utterance act. The complicity evoked by the act of uttering (48) is entirely imaginary:  there exists no male chauvinist who would actually find it normal for a young wife's first soufflé to be as heavy as lead; thus the uttering of (48) gives speaker and hearer an image of themselves that they enjoy all the more in recognizing that it is false and that the opprobrium attached to it will not fall upon them. A minor desire receives symbolic, risk-free satisfaction.

When Sieyès says "j'ai vécu," the connivance in cynicism evoked by the utterance is equivocal-neither entirely realistic nor entirely imaginary. In its imaginary aspect, it flatters the intelligence, containing an element of "you and I know...which so many others, the poor things, didn't know, and look where they wound up." In its realistic aspect, it challenges moral vanity: "You who are listening to me, you would not have died for your ideas either." This is wit, but it is not humour.

As for the proverb in (52), it reawakens in us a censorious voice: "Be careful. Sometimes a virtuous person is merely unaware of his own vices." "Yes, daddy, I know; yes, my father, I know." Neither complicity nor connivance, but rather shared submission, is evoked by the act of uttering (52).

3.3.1    I will now turn to gapped figures. Gaps must obey Conditions V and VI. Condition VI arises from logical analysis and not recourse to memory; thus, if it is violated, it cannot be restored by evocation. We will see nonetheless that it plays an indirect part in the figural interpretation of tropes. Condition V does involve memory and, in simple gapped figures, evocation aims to restore this condition alone. I will give only two examples, before turning to tropes, the more complex and more interesting examples of figures.

At a party in Paris in 1975, all the young intellectuals there are a bit bored. Someone  proposes:

(56)      Et si on fumait?

(56E)   Why don't we smoke?

The utterance in (56) is elliptical: the object of the verb fumer, 'smoke,' is absent. In many utterances, the object of fumer is elided and the hearer can easily supply the object: du tabac, 'tobacco.' But if this completion is supplied for (56) it results in a non-relevant interpretation. In our society, anyone can smoke as the spirit moves him [remember, the context here is France, in 1975-editor]; but (56) proposes a collective activity. And what is smoked collectively? Marijuana. However, in the milieu described, smoking pot is not the general or regular custom. Therefore, (56) will cause most hearers a fleeting instant of puzzlement: the missing concept is not permanently mobilised, as it would be for genuine potheads, and it must be evoked. The speaker has violated Condition VI by not observing the limits of mobilised shared knowledge. The first evocation is fairly brief and easy but is nonetheless sufficient to trigger the second evocation, not about the utterance this time but about the utterance act. Under what circumstances would the gapped utterance in (56) be interpretable without appealing to evocation? If those present were not occasional but instead regular, daily smokers of cannabis. This second evocation, of the complicity of smokers genuinely addicted to marijuana and whose presumed behaviour the group is about to imitate, passing the joint around for deep tokes, is delightful because it is imaginary.

A second example: two friends are confiding in one another. One sighs deeply and says to the other:

(57)      Ah, Julie! tu sais...Julie...

(57E)   Ah, Julie! You know...Julie...

In fact, the hearer does not know. The speaker is expressing, in gapped form, a feeling or an opinion about Julie-but what exactly? Does he love Julie? Is she causing him heartbreak? Does he think she's wonderful? Is she not as affectionate as he would like? Only by a lengthy, uncertain evocation can the hearer manage-if  indeed he can manage-to complete the gapped utterance of (57), which grossly violates Condition VI. On the other hand, the second evocation, about the utterance act, is not so difficult: "We understand one another; with just a word or two, you know what I'm feeling...." In this way an utterance that cannot be understood in exact terms creates a marvelous feeling of mutual understanding.

3.3.2    Tropes. There are two major views of tropes: one holds that a trope is a combination of periphrasis and ellipsis (in particular, a metaphor is an elliptical comparison). The second, more widespread, is that a trope is a figure  in which a figurative meaning must be substituted for the literal one. Under the first view, the metaphor of (58a) would receive the figural interpretation of (58b); under the second, that of (58c).

(58)      a.      Léon a épousé un rossignol.

            b.      Léon a épousé une femme qui chante comme un rossignol.

            c.      Léon a épousé une excellent chanteuse.

(58E)   a.      Leon has married a nightingale.

            b.      Leon has married a woman who sings like a nightingale.

            c.      Leon has married an excellent singer.

The first view confuses ellipsis and gap: strictly speaking, (58a) contains no ellipsis. It is, moreover, incompatible with Condition V, which would be violated by an interpretation like (58b). Thus in solving a problem of the rhetoric of figures, this interpretation creates another problem of general rhetoric. And what exactly does it explain of the mental processes involved in the figural interpretation of tropes?

The second view does not explain the obvious connection between metaphor and comparison, but instead classifies these two figures in radically opposite categories: one with and one without a change in meaning. The very notion of a change in meaning implies that it is possible that the speaker did not mean what he said, an idea that not only displeased Breton, but also poses almost insurmountable problems to a theory of general rhetoric. Moreover, in order to explain the mental processes of the figural interpretation of tropes, those who argue for the second conception propose that the figurative meaning is justified by the semantic features it shares with the literal meaning. For example, rossignol 'nightingale' would have the "seme" bon chanteur, 'good singer.' But if this were the case, then (59) should be the same kind of analytical contradiction as (60) is.

(59)      Les rossignols ne chantent pas bien.

(59E)   Nightingales don't sing well.

(60)      Les rossignols ne sont pas des oiseaux.

(60E)   Nightingales are not birds.

Thus the solution to a problem of the rhetoric of figures raises countless problems of semantics. Finally, the second conception predicts that (61a) has the figural interpretation (61b), which is absurd.

(61)      a.      C'est presque un rossignol que Léon a épousé, tant sa femme chante à ravir.

            b.      C'est presque une excellente chanteuse que Léon a épousé, tant sa femme chante à ravir.

(61E)   a.      The woman Leon married is almost a nightingale, so delightfully does she sing.

            b.      The woman Leon married is almost an excellent singer, so delightfully does she sing.

Under the interpretation I propose, propositions like (58b) or (58c) are not interpretations but rather implicatures of the interpretation of (58a). This obviates the previous objections.

When the utterance of a complete sentence has no acceptable semantic interpretation, the utterance itself is considered incomplete, gapped, and in most cases, it is modalised. Modalisation weakens the conceptual force of the utterance. But in some cases, the utterance may suggest a proposition that contains all the same terms but in different functions; this proposition, therefore, cannot be treated as a completed interpretation and is thus an implicature. We then have an implicature that is more relevant than the interpretation completed by modalisation, violating Condition III in its two corollaries V and VI. This situation corresponds to tropes, which are figures by virtue of implicatures and gaps.

Consider the metonymy in (62), the synecdoche in (63), and the metaphor in (63), uttered about a man who has married a singer at the Paris Opera.

(62)      Léon a épousé un abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra.

(62E)   Leon has married a free subscription to the Opera.

(63)      Léon a épousé une voix sublime.

(63E)   Leon has married a sublime voice.

(64)      Léon a épousé une fauvette.

(64E)   Leon has married a warbler.

One would be tempted to assign them the following interpretations:

(65)      Léon a épousé une femme qui lui procurera un abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra.

(65E)   Leon has married a woman who will get him a free subscription to the Opera.

(66)      Léon a épousé une femme qui a une voix sublime.

(66E)   Leon has married a woman who has a sublime voice.

(67)      Léon a épousé une femme qui chante comme une fauvette.

(67E)   Leon has married a woman who sings like a warbler.

These interpretations remove the semantic anomalies or the encyclopaedic paradoxes of (62) - (64). They accomplish this easily because they eliminate the logical function-as object of the verb épouser, 'marry'- of abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra, 'free subscription to the Opera,' voix sublime, 'sublime voice,' and fauvette, 'warbler;' this function is the source of the anomalies and paradoxes. But by the same token (65) - (67) cannot serve as completed interpretations of (65)-(67), since they violate Condition V, and symbolic evocation can do nothing to correct the situation. Therefore, (65) - (67) can only be implicatures of the completed interpretations of (62) - (64). The completed interpretations could be modalisations as in (68) - (70):

(68)      C'est comme si Léon a épousé un abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra.

(68E)   It's as if Leon has married a free subscription to the Opera.

(69)      C'est comme si Léon a épousé une voix sublime.

(69E)   It's as if Leon has married a sublime voice.

(70)      C'est comme si Léon a épousé une fauvette.

(70E)   It's as if Leon has married a warbler.

These modalisations with c'est comme si, 'it's as if,' eliminate the encyclopaedic paradoxes of (62) - (64). If one adopts a semantic theory that considers (62) - (64) to be semantic anomalies rather than paradoxes, then the modalisation could be on pourrait dire que, 'it could be said that,' which would eliminate the anomalies. The distinction is of little importance here: the consequences of the two kinds of modalisation are largely identical: if it is as if then it could be said that, and if it could be said that, then it is as if-or better yet, it could be said that it is as if.

With this one reservation, shared knowledge assigns to utterances (62) - (64) the completed interpretations of (68) - (70) or equivalent interpretations, for it is clear that the speaker does not wish to present (62) - (64) as either true or possible but is instead describing an imaginary world and inviting the hearer to compare it to the real world. But mobilised shared knowledge does not determine the scope of this comparison, which is not maximally relevant. If the speaker thinks the imaginary world is comparable to the real world, he should have said in what way this is so, rather than leaving it up to the hearer to guess. Thus, the necessary univocality of the completed interpretation is attained only by violation of Condition II, and Condition VI is not fully met.

But, one might say, the scope of the comparison is made clear by the implicatures of (65) - (67), which can be calculated on the basis of mobilised shared knowledge. This is probably so, but the scope is determined for only one aspect. A complete comparison contains three elements in addition to the comparative: two terms that are compared to one another and a theme of comparison. In the complete comparison in (71), the two terms are la femme de Léon, 'Leon's wife,' and une fauvette, 'a warbler;' the theme is chanter, 'sing.'

(71)      La femme de Léon chante comme une fauvette.

(71E)   Leon's wife sings like a warbler.

In the comparisons (68) - (70), only the second term-the imaginary world of (62) - (64)-is made explicit; the first term and the theme are implicit. The implicatures in (65) - (67) merely make explicit the first term of the comparisons: that particular aspect of the real world to which the imaginary world is to be compared. The implicatures do not say in what way the two worlds are comparable, and the theme, as it is neither present in the utterance or invokable, has yet to be evoked. Moreover, the implicatures (65) - (67), descriptions of the real world, are more relevant in terms of mobilised shared knowledge that the uncertain comparisons in (68) - (67) which implicate them, and thus Condition IV is violated.

The task of symbolic evocation is to discover additional implicatures that could not be calculated on the basis of mobilised shared knowledge and, since no invokable theme is available, can provide the evokable themes of (68) - (70) and maximise their scope, thereby restoring Conditions IV and VI. (68) - (70) would then have maximal relevance, which restores Condition VI, and they would be more relevant than the implicatures (68) - (70), restoring Condition IV.

In what way can the real-world fact that Léon has married a woman who will get him a free subscription to the Opera be compared to the imaginary "fact" described by saying that "he has married a free subscription to the Opera"? The only way is to imagine that the subscription is the sole consequence of the marriage. But even if Léon desired or obtained no more than that, common knowledge tells us that a marriage always has other, less paltry, consequences because it creates, if not in the eyes of the spouses at least in the eyes of society and the law, a contractual bond, permanent in principle, sometimes sanctioned by religion, which forbids any other similar bond-quite different from the bond between a subscription to the Opera and its subscriber. To justify the metonymy of (62), one has to imagine an authority for whom all the significant and necessary consequences of marriage do not count, one for whom the only important consequence is the trivial contingency of obtaining a free subscription to the Opera. In this regard (62) is equivocal: the authority in question could be Léon, if he neither sought nor found anything else in his marriage; it could be his wife, if she will never offer him anything more than the subscription. Or it could be the speaker alone, if he wishes to suggest that the spouses unknowingly share a marriage which will never have other consequences. The equivocation can be eliminated by the utterances (72) - (74):

(72)      Léon a épousé un abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra; c'est tout ce qu'il attend de sa femme.

(72E)   Leon has married a free subscription to the Opera; that's all he expects from his wife.

(73)      Léon a épousé un abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra; sa femme est bien décidée à ne rien lui accorder de plus.

(73E)   Leon has married a free subscription to the Opera; his wife is determined to give him nothing more.

(74)      Léon a épousé un abonnement gratuit à l'Opéra; quoiqu'aujourd'hui il s'aiment, il est nonchalant, elle est volage, et bientôt il ne s'apercevront plus que lui, de la salle, et elle, de la scène.

(74E)   Leon has married a free subscription to the Opera. They're in love now, but he  can't commit and she's fickle. Sooner or later, the only time they'll see each other is when she's on stage and he's in the audience.

Whether (62) is interpreted as (72), (73), or (74), the image evoked by the utterance is the image of an image:  the image of the marriage held by the speaker, by Léon, or by his wife-the reduction of a marriage to a contingent consequence, the subscription-and thus the elimination (not real but imaginary) of all the other necessary or probable effects of the matrimonial bond, to the extent that it is as if, or it could be said that Leon has married a free subscription to the Opera.

This image, which was not that of the hearer but that of the speaker, who may or may not have derived it from one of the spouses, is evoked by the utterance act as a shared image. This is a second-stage evocation and thus evokes not knowledge but a shared imaginary world that short-circuits knowledge and identifies cause with effect. Moreover, in this particular case of metonymy, it is a cynical imaginary world which, if the speaker intends it to be understood as deriving from Léon or his wife, make them either fascinating or despicable, depending on the shared moral knowledge of speaker and hearer; if it derives from the speaker alone, it makes Léon and his wife ridiculous.

In what way can the real-world fact of marrying a woman with a sublime voice be compared to the imaginary fact depicted by saying "Leon has married a sublime voice"? The relationship between the part and the whole must be conceived of as a relationship of identity. Knowledge does not allow acceptance of this identity, but one could imagine someone imagining it and for that someone, all other characteristics fade, leaving only the voice-just as in Alice's dream, all of the Cheshire cat disappeared, leaving only its smile. This evoked image is the speaker's and possibly, but not necessarily, Léon's. For example, in (75), it is definitely not Léon's image.

(75)      Léon a épousé cette voix sublime pour son argent.

(75E)   Leon married that sublime voice for her money.

Inversely, the image can be that of Léon alone, without being adopted by the speaker, in which case (63) directly implicates not (66) but (76).

(76)      Léon a épousé une femme pour sa voix sublime.

(76E)   Leon has married a woman for her sublime voice.

In this case, (63) is not a synecdoche but rather a metonymy of the end for the means and receives an account similar to that for (62) above.

When (63) is a genuine synecdoche, the utterance act evokes in the second stage not knowledge nor even an imaginary world, but rather shared symbolism, because the image evoked in the first stage by the utterance is not only not real but cannot even be imagined as real. Symbolic thought weaves onto the encyclopaedia a network of points, places their common background in the shadow, turning a cat into a smile and a woman into a voice. The utterance act-sometimes a metonymy, sometimes a synecdoche, but always a metaphor-evokes the shared nature of this symbolic thought.

Typically, a metaphor, as in (64), poses an additional problem: unlike (62) and (63), it has in (67) an implicature that is itself figural. For what is it exactly to sing like a warbler? What shared knowledge has to tell us on this subject has little to do with the way an opera singer sings. At the very most, we can say that both a warbler and an opera singer are thought to sing well. If someone had uttered (67) only to say that Léon had married a woman who sings well, he would be violating Condition II by giving excess information that did not contribute to relevance. The hearer, on the principle that Condition II can be restored, must therefore evoke other points of similarity between the woman's singing and the warbler's: high notes, trills, scales, solos, an impression of both delicacy and virtuosity.

This, then, is the scope of the comparison in (67); it is implicated by (70), the completed interpretation of (64), and established by evocation. But the metaphor takes evocation one step further. In fact, it is not so much a question of conceiving how Léon's wife's singing is comparable a warbler's but of conceiving, on the basis of this initial evocation, how his marriage with this woman is comparable to a marriage with a warbler. While the comparison underlying any metaphor bears on two objects in the real world, the metaphor itself is modalised into a comparison between this known world and an imaginary world. The theme that sufficed for one does not suffice for the other, and not only must the points of resemblance be increased but the points of dissimilarity must be erased, which is never required in simple comparisons. For example, the woman is fragile and ethereal as a warbler. If the hearer knows little about warblers, he may take guidance from their name in French: fauvette seems to be a diminutive of fauve, thus a wild being but not a ferocious one, feline but not dangerous, with the colour but not the smell of a fauve, a tawny wild beast. Unlike the comparison of (67), the metaphor in (64) would hardly be appropriate if Léon's wife, though she might sing marvelously, were an obese layabout. Next, everything that is not comparable must be erased: for example, that Léon's wife does not have a beak and does not lay eggs, that a warbler does not have hands and is not paid to sing. And finally, in the fleeting seconds of the evocation, one must forget that species are endogamous. Then, yes, it is as if Léon had married a warbler.

Here again, in this necessarily solitary evocation to which the hearer has abandoned himself, too quickly to even become aware of it-this evocation founded on reminiscences, guided by his desire and merely triggered and given focus by the speaker, is presented by a second evocation as a path taken by both of them, like a dream dreamt by both. The more unusual the metaphor, the deeper and more individual the evocation and the greater the feeling of communion in symbolism. Say that Léon's wife is a nightingale? The metaphor is banal, the shared symbolism evoked by the utterance act is indeed shared but not very symbolic, and the sentiment of communion is derisory. But say that she is a warbler, and then something has happened between speaker and hearer.

With ever greater subtility, the classical rhetoricians identified increasingly diversified figures, which they classified and then reclassified. The best among them, such as William Empson, even explicated, to the extent possible, what the intuitions of speaker and hearer might be. But to certain questions-When does an utterance take on a figural value? How is a figural utterance interpreted? -no better answer has been proposed but a theory of departure. Figural speech departs from...what exactly? Grammatical speech? But figures are frequent in the most clearly grammatical utterances. Ordinary speech? It also teems with figures. Perhaps from the "degree zero" of discourse, as found in the instructions for serving canned food and which is only defined, tautologically, by the absence of figures.

I have attempted to show that if there is a difference, it is not between different types of discourse but between different levels of conceptual representation. The figure is not in the text and is not a function of the text alone. It resides in the conceptual representation of the text and is a function of both the text and shared knowledge. Rhetoricians may debate whether, alongside phonological, syntactic, and semantic figures, there also exist figures of thought. I have tried to suggest that there are only figures of thought, for which phonological, syntactic, and semantic properties may play the role of additional focalisers, neither sufficient nor necessary, that trigger the mechanism of figural interpretation.

I have tried to put forward fairly specific predictions (fewer than I would have wished but more than is usually the case in rhetoric) concerning the conditions under which an utterance will take on a figural value and the way the figure will be interpreted. Unlike taxonomic rhetorics, cognitive rhetoric, whose rudiments I have proposed here, makes predictions; because it does so, it runs the risk of being refuted by facts. But if one does not run this risk, one can talk and talk and still wind up saying nothing.

 



 



[1][3] Thus an utterance relating a catastrophe or a passion may be evocative without the utterance act being so. Inversely, when social or professional jargons are used, the utterance act be evocative without the utterance being so. Only in figural speech are both types of evocation necessary.

[2][4] Under one possible semantic analysis, the verb falloir is not ambiguous but merely vague. In this case there would only be four meanings; but there would still be 16 interpretations, the only point at issue here. Note also that if the second occurrence of falloir was not elided and thereby defocused,  it could fall under the scope of negation and the number of interpretations would be doubled.

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When I established the thesis of Rhetorical Aspect (Choukri ,1999)I provided an introduction to a new general modular rhetoric which interpret the figures in an aspectual model . so, we can widen the grammatical aspect (Comrie B., 1976 - Cohen, D.1989) into a generic sense. analysing the perfective aspect or the iterative (or habitual) aspect, we may notice that some features like « iteration » and « continuity » have their mirror manifestations in rhetorical figures such as metaphor and alliteration. The basic principle of this thesis is that time is a cognitive component in the linguistic and visual discourses: Poetry, Novel, publicity, and educational discourse... Moreover, time is a procceeding concept, which serves to explain and interpret many discourses. We can therefore ask this question: What is a rhetorical aspectual model? choukri_2007

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