The Totum per parte is a rhetorical stylistic device and a special form of the Synekdoche as well as metonymy and belongs to the group of the tropics. As a totum per parte, we call a concept that is named after the whole, although it is actually only a part of it. The stylistic counterpart is the Pars pro toto, with a part for the whole.
The word group Totum pro parte comes from the Latin and can be translated with the whole [stands] for a part. Consequently, the translation of the stylistic figure already reveals what is at stake: namely, a word which names the whole, although only a small part of it is meant.
At the Olympic Games, Germany is the gold medal in the hurdles.
In the example above, Germany was able to win the gold medal. This is not true in this form, of course. Actually, a competitor who has entered Germany has won the precious metal. Therefore, the whole (Germany) stands for a part (competitor).
We are Pope!
This exclamation (→ Exclamatio) was the title page of the BILD newspaper on April 29, This does not mean, however, that every German has the pontificate, but that a German has been elected pope. In this case it was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who accepted the Holy Office. The “Totum pro parte” created a sense of being and strengthened the effect of the statement.
Totum per parte for places
Frequently, we find the totum per parte in connection with the designation of a land or place. Thus, deputy and erroneous an area is used for a part.
As has already been shown in the example above, this is often the case in the reporting of sporting events. Sometimes, however, ignorance is also responsible for the designation. If it is a lack of specialist knowledge, we do not speak of a stylistic device (see Pleonasmus).
Examples of the totum per parte with geographic reference
Korea for both countries: South Korea and North Korea
America for the United States of America (USA)
Yemen for North Yemen
The examples above are, of course, only a small extract of all geographic terms which are fundamentally too broad and which, in fact, are only a very small part. Nevertheless, they should make the stylistic device clearer and most of the everyday language should be known.
Examples of the totum per parte
However, there are also a number of examples of the totum per parte in everyday language. Some of them have even strengthened themselves in the language, so that it is hard to see that the concept in the real sense is only a small area.
One of the most common formulations from the language of conversation is to go for a drink. For those who drink something with friends usually means that they will drink alcohol and will not consume the variety of different drinks.
Further examples of the totum per parte from everyday life
ARD for the TV station The first
Police for individual police officers
England lose 1-0 against Portugal instead of the football team
Overview: Effect and function of the Totum per parte
Often the styling is used to create a feeling of being. It has a different effect when Germany wins a medal and not just a single athlete.
As a result, the style figure can amplify the effect and affect the listener. This can be included in a group and feel connected to it → speech analysis
If, however, the totum per parte is used out of ignorance, it makes no sense to speak of a stylistic device, but rather of a lack of professional knowledge.