Anakoluth is a stylistic medium that can appear in texts of all literary genres. Anakoluth describes the breaking of a sentence or the interruption of a word sequence. In addition, the stylistic figure can mean that a sentence started is altered and grammatically misdirected. The anacoluth is thus, in any case, a syntactic disturbance, that is, a disturbance of the usual combination of words. Anapodoton and Aposiopese are related
The term is a composition of two Greek words, namely, ἀν (an), which can be translated with without, and ἀκόλουθον (akólouthon), which means something like a successor. Thus, the style figure can be translated without successor. The translation shows us what the basic principle is: namely, words whose successors, ie the usual continuation, are not correct.
In this context, various expressions of anacoluth, that is, such sentence disturbances, can be described in the literature, as Gisela Zifonun, Ludger Hoffmann and Bruno Strecker explain in their grammar of the German language. This is either an exit from a sentence (1) begun, a correction (2), or a transition from a sentence construction to a completely different one (3). Let us look at some examples for all three forms.
(1) If I get you in the fingers […]
The above example shows an incomplete threat. The sentence is thus terminated by the speaker, the essential component not being said. Accordingly, the example proposition is the exit from an initial sentence construction, which is called anakoluth. The essential component of the theorem must be independently developed by the addressee (reader, listener) – this construction is also known as an apostrophe. Another example according to this pattern:
(1) I tore myself away from her and –
God! you see my misery, and will end.
The above excerpt is taken from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s work Die Leiden des jungen Werther. Here the ego-narrator Werther begins a sentence, which is interrupted after the conjunction and is carried away entirely differently than the reader would have expected. It would be expected, for example, that Werther did what was happening when he took his leave of her. However, sentence construction remains incomplete.
Accordingly, this is also a form of anacoluth. Typical for this form is a clear separation by the punctuation (punctuation), often the started set of thought lines or exit points is broken off and then carried away by something new. Another example:
(2) I gave you a lot … everything, Lena.
This example does not come from a well-known poet, but it should clarify the principle of retraction, that is, the improvement of what has been said. A speaker who turns to Lena begins a sentence that points to the fact that he gave it much. But even before this construction is brought to an end, the speaker improves himself and states that he has given it everything.
This kind of anacoluth resembles the figure of the metaphrase. The metaphrase is the explanatory repetition of a word by a synonym. The speaker thus improves himself by speaking and refining what is said by another word. For example, the sentence I have the person, the man quite accurately a metaphrase, since the word person was specified by man. A final example:
(3) If someone dies, then sometimes there is a mourning ceremony.
This sentence changes in the middle the expected construction or the planned sentence structure. Either a speaker should say If someone dies, then there is sometimes a mourning or sometimes could be dropped. In this form, however, the sentence becomes the anacoluth, since the sentence is reconstructed in speech and is changed from a begun sentence construction to a new one.
(3) Although I am glad that you came,
 my time today is very limited.
This example shows a special form of the anacoluth: the so-called Anapodoton. Here, too, a sentence construction, which was begun, is interrupted and pivoted by the omission of one word to another. The anapodoton describes the fact that only the first part is obtained with a corresponding conjunction (though – but, both – and – neither -).
Effect and application of anakoluth
The stylistic means is often used when the everyday language is to be simulated, which is actually characterized by numerous changes in sentence structure (see Brachylogie). Furthermore, the figure is characteristic when hectic or a turbulent atmosphere is to be produced.
The anakoluth can make a speaking more vivid, but also more authentic, and more expressive.