"dog whistles"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Apr 3 14:16:05 UTC 2014

At 4/3/2014 08:08 AM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>On Apr 2, 2014, at 10:49 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg
><nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:
> > ... I like the description the philosopher John Holbo at Crooked
> Timber has used, "impolite fictions," but that doesn't get at the
> semantic process here, which it seems to me to involve referring to
> X via one of its stereotypical properties (as, e.g, "inner city,"
> "food stamp users") with the intention of evoking but not actually
> denoting it. (Or maybe I should make that, "referring to X by
> naming something to which X stereotypcially applies -- e.g., food
> stamp users are stereotypically black.) But what should it be called?
>i'd call them "obliquities", or "deniable obliquities" for more detail.
>but no name can serve as a definition.

Isn't this metonymy?

The OED has a neat example of its use:
1798   Anti Jacobin 22 Jan. (1852) 47   Parr's buzz prose. [Note]
This is an elegant metonymy... Buzz is an epithet usually applied to
a large wig. It is here used for swelling, burly, bombastic writing.


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