The previous chapter proposed a semiotic approach to metonymy and developed a textual model for the trope. This chapter applies the model of textual metonymy to account for text cohesion. The following hypotheses underlie the chapter:
If metonymy is essentially referential (see Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Lakoff 1987; Stallard 1993; Gibbs 1994; Nunberg 1995; Stirling 1996; Warren 1999) then it should help us understand more about referencing in text. In fact, it is this referential basis, which is also the indexical1 basis of metonymy developed in Chapter 3 of this book, that enables metonymy to account for such a wide range of semantic relations as the ones to be discussed in this chapter.
If metonymy is the manifestation of the syntagmatic and combinational dimensions of signification (see Jakobson 1971) then a theory of metonymy is in fact a theory that should help us understand how combinations in text are actually licensed.
If metonymy is based on relations of causality and contiguity (and almost all researchers on metonymy agree on this), then metonymy is capable of providing a complete theory of text cohesion, given the fact that text connectedness is essentially based on these two basic relations.