Asyndeton is a stylistic device of rhetoric, which encounters us in texts of all kinds and literary genre. The asyndeton is a list (→ enumeratio) of at least three words or phrases, which are equated and not connected by a conjunction (link). In principle, however, larger parts of the sentence are also conceivable. The counterpart is the Polysyndeton.
The word is derived from the Greek (ἀσύνδετον) and can be translated with unconnected. The translation of the style figure thus shows what is the basic principle: several words which are consecutive but which are not connected by a binding word and which act as a list.
Note: A conjunction is a word type that creates a link between words, phrases, sentences, or sentences. For example, the words, and, or, because ‘conjunctions of our language, as they act as links between linguistic elements.
Stealing, morden, whores, bellows –
Only the time can be diffused. –
Tomorrow we hang on the gallows,
so let us be funny today
The asyndetic example can be found in the fourth act of Friedrich Schiller’s Die Räuber. In the drama, the robbers sing and begin to steal their song with a series of verbs, murder, harassment, and bellows without associating them with a binding word, which is equivalent to an enumeration. For example, words that are similar in the text are named consecutively and are not connected by a conjunction.
fresh, religious, happy, free
Above Asyndeton has become a winged phrase and can be regarded as a synonym for unprejudiced. Here, too, we find a series of words that follow each other without a binding word and thus form an asyndetic turn, which gives the sentence a certain dynamism.
Furthermore, in this example the Hendiadyoin (more precisely Hendiatetris) and a four-membered Klimax as well as the alliteration (→ example alliterations) can be found. It is thus apparent that the asyndeton can be easily combined with other stylistic means. Often these are alliteration and climax.
The effect on the reader is very clear: the sections are gathered, a little hectic and disorganized. Accordingly, asyndetic phrases are often used when inner turmoil or tension and dynamics of action are to be implied.
Subspecies of asyndetons
Such a list of terms can be quite different and thus have a different effect on the recipient. We divide the Asyndeton into five subspecies.
Asyndeton adversativum: two asyndeta are juxtaposed.
Example: Bicycle, cart, scooter will cost less than car, motorcycle, private jet
Asyndeton consecutivum (concluding enumeration): Asyndeton results in a conclusion.
Example: Who, how, what, why, why, who does not ask remains dumb [Theme of the ‘Sesame Street’].
Asyndeton enumerativum (countless enumerations): show that the enumerated is inconceivable.
Example: If retirees, pilots, unemployed, teachers go to the streets, something goes wrong.
Asyndeton explicativum (explanatory enumeration): Is an asyndeton, which explains connections.
Example: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury are planets and can be viewed from Earth.
Asyndeton summativum (resulting enumeration): Enumeration is bundled into one result.
Example: What is more beautiful, livelier, more exciting, more stunning than language?
Examples of asyndeton
A stylistic figure can best be illustrated by examples, in order to grasp the complexity. Therefore, we would like to present you two more Asyndeta.
“How blessed I am! O hair / brow / look / breast / hand /
So delicious / friendly / clear / graceful and beglicket! ”
This example comes from the work Of Her Beauty Miracles by Georg Rodolf Weckherlin. Here we find two Asyndeta. The first is from the Exclamatio How blessed I am! , while the second almost determines the entire second verse. Both also recall the accumulation.
“Call, drink, thirst! shook! became paler, blew! called: …”
It is in Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstocks Messias. Here, too, words are put into a series which renounces a conjunction and seems chaotic, almost arbitrary. In doing so, the exclamation is hectic as well as emotionally charged and receives an exciting dynamic.
Effect and function of asyndeta
In principle it is, of course, difficult to assign a unique function to a style figure. However, the use of the style figure has an effect on the text. We can describe this.
Overview of features, effect and function
Basically, we have a list at Asyndeton. Enumerations can pick up an event and thereby strengthen it.
In contrast to other stylistic figures, the enumeration does not follow