Spring 2015: Go to UsesOfLinksInWeblogs

Continutes from Myers chap 3, S&P chap 5: Analysis, chan 9: figures
Use of rhetorical figures in linking

Going Beyond Myers

Myers gives us a set of seven things links can do. What is the link doing is a matter of determining the relationship between the link context and the target. He finds that the link is used by the bloggers in these ways:

Our interest now is in #6: when the link-to-anchor relation tells us something different from the link text. When a link says one thing but the realtion to the text at the other end says something else.

In classical rhetoric, when language is used to suggest something other than a more or less literal message, the rhetor has created a figure. This is what's going on when Myers notes that link itself is being used to tell us something different from the link text (as in irony, or creating a shift in text-context relation.) Wit is one figure. There are others. The relation of link to target creates a figure or trope.

How to Proceed

Figures have to be closely read to consider how the context of the source of the link relates to target. They must be, that is, interpreted carefully, so take your time, and expect to encounter some disjunctions and confusions.

You also may not be able to see the figure until you follow the link to its target, and perhaps read the target carefully. That’s how people use figures: to trigger hindsight.

Take multiple passes, making notes as you go. You’re trying to catalogue the uses of links using a probably unfamiliar set of concepts, so take your time. Be aware that these figures are actually more prevalent than you might at first suspect.

Many figures and tropes should be possible. Start with S&P, chap 9, the section on Style, then add terms as they come up. Because these are technical terms, a standard dictionary is not useful. Use Sliva Rhetoricae.

Figures of linking

antithesis: the link text and link target are in opposition to one another in some way. Might be in parallel structure.

isocolon: a series of similarly structured elements having the same length. I came, I saw, I conquered. This often appears in link texts, but the relation of the targets is also an option to consider.

aporia: an expression of doubt over some matter; asking what is the best or appropriate way to approach something.

antistasis: a repetition whose meaning changes in the second instance. "relies on difference in context to reveal both gaps and affinities, is both participatory and proportional." Delagrange. Chap 5. This might appear in sequences of links, where this, that, and the other all lead to similar targets. This looks a lot like isocolon but the targets are different.

apostrophe: "Hey Apple, get a load of this.” Apple is being addressed at though it were present. Depending on what the link leads to, there may be another figure at work. In the context of discussing the iPad, for instance, a link to a Sanyo announcement of a new tablet may create an antithesis.

epicrisis: Quoting a passage and then commenting on it. The link might stand in for the quote, or perhaps we'll see a quote with a link to the commentary. Or another variation.

catachresis: "the (apparent) misuse of words and images.... when two words, two objects that appear totally un-related, absolutely irreconcilable with one another, are, through artful juxtaposition and visual distortion, suddenly joined.... this experience is the essence of the hyperlink: Any two things can be linked, even a raven and a writing desk, and with that link, a process of semic movement begins instantaneously." Delagrange.

irony: saying one thing but meaning another. New Apple Watch. _Cheap_. with the link on cheap going to a $10,000 version. To a knowing reader, this example stands out as a figure even before it’s followed because Apple stuff is renown for not being cheap.

litotes and hyperbole: understatement and overstatement. These can also be used ironically. "visual exaggeration or magnification … often focuses on scale or number, works to reveal subtleties that may have been overlooked, while at the same time its attempt to “fill our vision” throws what is not present there into even higher relief. " Delagrange

pun: also called paronomasia. Might be visual, by sound of word, by meaning.

deixis: "In linguistics, deixis ... refers to words and phrases that cannot be fully understood without additional contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place.” The link text here is a use of deixis, but it’s also a metonymy,

figures of relation

These are pretty involved, so I’m providing more detail on them.

metaphor: relation based on resemblance or analogy. "Metaphor draws upon the participatory aspect of analogy, that if two things are similar in some ways, then it is likely that they will be similar in others...” (Delagrange) Use of “like” makes the metaphor formally a similie.

metonymy: a figure in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. [Wikipedia] associated is key. Metaphor is a relation of analogy: My love is like a red, red, rose: bright, living, intense, but also passing, as the rose dies. Metonymy and synecdoche are not relations of analogy but define a relation across categories: Your argument has softened my heart. Release the prisoners. uses soft-hearted as a body-based metonymy for charity or forgiveness. Soft-hearted may be a metaphor, but metaphors can be used metonymically.

Metonymy can be diffcult to see and analyze because it is so imbued in the language and the culture that we hardly notice it. In the US we give someone a kiss and give them a hand, as though kisses and help were things we own and are offering as gifts. We take offense. We own up. And so on. Conventional metonymy is a metonymy that is commonly used in everyday language in a culture to give structure to some portion of that culture’s conceptual system. For instance,
List of Common Metonyms

For analysis, we need to be able to discern the things (names, objects, verbs, concepts) being associated, and name the association.

cause / effect
container / contained
instrument / act

The link text here is a use of deixis. But _here_ can also be a use of metonymy if the anchor stands in for another thing, as in one particular site standing in for that kind of site. etc.

"Identifying affinity-through-juxtaposition and affinity as part of a whole. As with verbal tropes, the meaning of a visual analogy is not necessarily immediate or obvious, nor will it be identical for every viewer. The role of visual juxtaposition and manipulation is to provide an opportunity for the discovery of affinities, but chance, of course, favors the prepared; we must be looking in order to see." Delagrange.

synecdoche: A sub-type of metonymy. Relation based on part / whole or attribute / essence.


others ...


Points of Comparison

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