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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Synchysis December, Figures of Speech

Syncysis is the rearrangement of words from their conventional order.  This is somewhat similar to metathesis, which is the rearrangement of letters.  Poets before the 20th Century used synchysis like hot sauce, sprinkling it on everything.  Alexander Pope writes, "Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear."  Another form of synchesis is to pile up all the adjectives in one part of the sentence and leave the nouns to another.  Green, crunchy, the dragon devoured the knight.  Doesn't quite work, does it?  In Latin, it wouldn've made perfect sense because the adjectives would have had inflections to tell which went with which, but English, last I checked, wasn't Latin, and when we use Synchisis, it's likely to be a plain old misplaced modifier.  Some, however, have become so entrenched in idiom, we don't even realize they are syncysis: He went backwards and forwards.  (How can you go backwards until you go forwards.)  He was head over heels in love.  (Doesn't that mean he'd just be standing up normally?)

1 comment:

  1. Would Yoda's usual speech pattern..."This new evil, confronted it must be!"...be an example of synchysis?

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