As an epiphrase, a rhetorical stylistic device is used that is used in all literary genres. The epiphrase describes a kind of repression. A sentence, which is syntactically complete, is supplemented by a supplement, either a word or a word sequence. As a result, an apparently complete sentence is supplemented by an addendum. The figure is related to the hyperbaton as well as the parenthesis and the ellipse and belongs to the word figures.
The term can be derived from ancient Greek (ἐπιφράζω) as well as with additional notes. Nevertheless, the epiphase is not treated in the first rhetorical texts of antiquity, and is mentioned only in Phoibammon, an author of Late Antiquity (about 300 to 600 AD). This translation shows what is involved: the annotation [to a seemingly complete sentence]. Let’s look at an example:
There he comes, this villain.
In the above example, the complete proposition is supplemented by the word sequence of this scoundrel consisting of articles and nouns. The sentence, consisting of subject, predicate, and object, appears to the receiver (reader, listener) as it is a seemingly closed syntactic and grammatical unit. Epiphrase is the addition of this scoundrel in the example above. Another example:
I do not like you.
The example above illustrates the principle again. The unit I like you seems to be closed, but is not extended by the adverb, which means the meaning is reversed later. The epiphrase consists, therefore, of a single word. The effect of the style figure can be derived from these examples – it has a reinforcing effect and directs the attention to the imitator.
Today I’ll be back tomorrow,
I am taking the child to the Queen.
The above section, which is taken from the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, also includes the stylistic figure. On the one hand, this is a three-part increase, ie, a climax (see Anticlimax), which increases the intensity of the statement and, on the other hand, an epiphrase consisting of two limbs, twice added to the seemingly closed period.
This occurrence is typical of the rhetorical figure, which logically is often associated with enumerations (eg accumulation) or even triple figures (tricolor) such as the climax and its counterpart of the three-stage reduction (Antiklimax). Both elements often extend an apparently concluded sentence.Brief overview: Effect, meaning and function of the figure
An epiphrase is a postulated word or an enclosed word sequence, which stands after a seemingly complete sentence. It always ends with a point (cf. punctuation), thus terminating the sentence ultimately, thereby distinguishing it from other forms of insertion (parenthesis). It can subsequently change the meaning.
The effect of the figure is obvious: it can change what has been said in terms of content and is quite surprising. In addition, the focus is on the sideline and can thus intensify this. However, the stylistic device can also confuse the receiver.
It is confusing because it can change the content of what has been said and the recipient has to rethink. This effect rarely unfolds in written texts, which can be read repeatedly, as in the case of speeches, ie the spoken word.
The epiphrasis is counted in the rhetoric to the figurae per adiectionem, thus to the figures of the addition. This includes all the means that extend the linguistic expression by the addition of words and contexts, as well as by repetitions.