Apokoinu is a stylistic device of rhetoric that can be encountered in any literary genre. The Apokoinu is a stylistic figure of the word-saving and serves the scarcity as well as artistic brevity. Here, a word or phrase also refers to two other parts. Frequently the individual word is in the middle of an utterance and refers to the preceding and the following. The figure is a form of Brachylogy and is related to Ellipse as well as to Zeugma.
The term can be derived from ancient Greek (apo koinou ~ ἀπὸ κοινοῦ) and translated from the common. According to this, translation already reveals what is at stake here: namely, something that has several parts [in this case it is sentences which share a sentence). Let’s look at an example.
As for his arrow, that is his prey, which flies and flees.
In the above example from the drama Wilhelm Tell by the poet Friedrich Schiller, one component was realized only once. Namely, the word sequence is his prey. It applies equally to the first and second parts. The first, therefore, says that all that his arrow reaches is his prey. The second says that everything that flies and flew is its prey. Yet another example.
the cloths are cracking in the hot wind
This example is the first verse from Enzensberger poem drift i. The section in the hot wind refers here to the previous and becomes the cloths rattling in the hot wind. However, it also refers to what follows and makes you out of it in the hot wind. For this reason, we also have an apokoinu in this verse. Let us look at a final example.
I do not want any
my biggest wish
We have devised this verse ourselves to illustrate the principle of Apokoinus. The second verse, which is in the middle and contains only one word, refers to the preceding and the subsequent verse, so it depends entirely on the reading, which interpretations we accept, or expresses the fact that the concern is ambiguous, lyrical I is torn.
The example shows another feature of such apokoinus. They can be in a single sentence, which is, of course, common in the drama or the epic, but also connect several lines together. The whole thing is often connected by an enjambement, that is, a row jump (see Hakenstil).
Effect and function of the Apokoinus
Of course, it is very difficult to attribute a unique function or effect to a stylistic device. Nevertheless, a figure has an effect on the reader and has been used for a certain reason. This can be described, even if the correctness of the effect should always be examined.
Overview: Features, meaning and effect of the style figure
The Apokoinu is a stylistic figure, in which syntactically and contentally a sentence element refers to two mutually different partial sentences or sentences. Both sentences can, however, evaluate the figure differently, so that a kind of ambiguity can arise.
The possible effect is thus manifold. Thus, the stylistic means can have a comic effect when suddenly unexpected connections are created, in addition, a kind of sentence or thought breakup, which is an imitation of the language of conversation, is presented.
Furthermore, the styling agent can interweave several sets so that a clear separation of the sensory units becomes impossible. Thus, individual word sequences can appear even more closely linked. Furthermore, the inner turmoil of the protagonist can be shown.
Note: If a verb disappears in Apokoinu, this is usually the preliminary stage of a stuffma or syllepse. In this case, a sentence member also refers to several other sentence members.