Publication details [#12412]

Ädel, Annelie. 2014. Metonymy in the semantic field of verbal communication: A corpus-based analysis of word. Journal of Pragmatics 67 : 72–88. 17 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: Elsevier


The present paper offers a bottom-up empirical study of the item word, considered to be one of the most frequent nouns in English. The aim of the proposed corpus-based analysis was to prove that metonymy, besides metaphor, is also central within the semantic field of communication. According to the study based on 4000 tokens taken from The British National Corpus, word appears to be highly figurative, with metonymic uses (55%) being considerably more frequent than metaphorical uses (24%). Moreover, word is rich in figurative meaning as it not only refers to the grammatical word, but it is also frequently extended via metonymy, in particular, synecdoche, to stand for units of communication of varying scope. The study proves that metonymy is a robust phenomenon which may appear more significant in the semantic field of verbal communication than the thoroughly studied phenomenon of metaphor.