November 23, 2009

The (other) League of Zeugmatographers!

Prof. Paul Lauterbur (1929 – 2007) coined the term "zeugmatography" to describe the role played by applied field gradients in magnetic resonance imaging: they encode spatial position into signal frequency; they yoke (greek: ζεῦγμα or zeugma) frequency to position.

We would like to suggest an alternate meaning for zeugmatography.

A zeugma is a figure of speech, or rhetorical form, involving a yoking or coupling. My favorite zeugmas are syllepses, where one verb is applied to two nouns, but with different meanings, often concrete vs. abstract, as for instance in: "he lost his coat and his temper".

The form -tography is widely used to refer to writing or text. For example, "cryptography" does not refer to encoded images; it refers to encoded messages.

Accordingly, we would like to suggest that zeugmatography could also mean the writing of zeugmas, including syllepses. Thus, while I was typing "he lost his coat and his temper" back there, I was performing zeugmatography, or being a zeugmatographer.

What do you think, NeuroCooking friends? Would you like to join our League of Zeugmatographers? All you have to do is write a syllepsis!

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