Linguistic Terms

Chronograph definition features and examples


Chronograph is a very interesting  phenomenon. The Chronograph is a rhetorical figure of describing the time that is a fact, object, event, or type of customs, this in order to describe a temporary basis for better understanding. Chronograph definition

The Chronograph consists in narrating the period of the facts that have some relation to each other, to be able to understand them more clearly, favoring the introduction to the time and time described in the text

The Chronograph is a resource used in the narrative to describe the passage of time, ie, the accumulation of details that evoke and require temporary space. This space can be a day, season of the year, time of the past or any other measure of the passage of time. This resource is one of the objects of study of rhetoric.

In this sense, rhetoric is the discipline that studies the uses of written, spoken and visual language. One of his areas of interest is rhetorical resources (among them, chronography).

A rhetorical resource is any particular type of syntactic structure, sound or pattern of meaning that invokes a particular reaction of an audience.

Now, chronography appears especially in the field of literary language. This does not mean that it is for your exclusive use. In fact, both in everyday use and in the different specialized uses of language it is possible to find a rich and diverse inventory of this rhetorical resource. Chronograph definition

In this way, many examples can be found within the world of advertising. In these cases, it is used because of the need to quickly capture the reader’s attention.

Features of Chronograph

Unconscious or deliberate use

In some cases, Chronograph is used almost unconsciously in informal conversations to give thoroughness to an idea.

In others, it is done deliberately and pursuing an objective. Especially in the case of specialized languages, the purpose for its use is basically persuasion.

Communication tool

Chronograph is a rhetorical figure . As such, it is a communication resource that has been used for generations to make speech more ingenious and more effective. When used properly, it helps the interlocutors to appreciate, interpret and analyze the transmitted content.

In this way, this resource offers the possibility of improving the message to be delivered by adding – in this case – the dimension of time to the description of facts or qualities. Chronograph definition

Amplification figure

Chronograph is a rhetorical figure of amplification. The figures that belong to this category share as a common feature the detailed and detailed expression of ideas or concepts. In this case, it is an extensive and thorough development of the temporal dimension.

Description of the temporary structure

Chronograph is used to describe spaces of time. The details of a period of time defined by the author are then detailed so that the reader or the viewer can see them more clearly and make them real and evident.

In literature, it is used to time content. That is, place them within some notion of elapsed time. Thus, depending on the selected temporal unit, night, day and seasonal chronographs can be found, among a great variety.

Animated and realistic image transmission

Chronograph is part of the hypotype. The latter is also known as evidentia or enargeia . It is the ability of the text to cause the illusion that the things narrated or described are present. Chronograph definition

This cause in the viewer (reader or listener) the feeling that he is perceiving them as if he had them before his own eyes.

Chronography, then, has the ability to transmit sensory images in an animated, realistic and surprising way. These commonly exceed the actual characteristics of the object or situation described. In this way, he manages to catch the attention of the interlocutor.

Chronograph Examples

In general, chronography has practical applications in any field of human activity in which it is sought to capture attention and create aesthetic effect. Three areas where it is frequently used will be described below.


Literature is by definition a field of aesthetic content production. Therefore, there are many uses for Chronograph. For example, in the poem by the anonymous author Romance of the prisoner, its use can be widely observed: Chronograph definition

“That for May it was, for May / when it is hot / when the wheat enchants / and the fields are in bloom / when the calandria sings / and the nightingale responds when the lovers / will serve love / but I, sad, taken care of / that I live in this prison / that I do not know when it is day / or when the nights are / but because of a bird / that the roar sang to me… ”

The artist in this work uses chronography to place the reader at a time (the month of May) and abounds in details to signify and highlight it (blooming fields, birds in love and heat).

Later, he comments on the personal situation of the protagonist at that time (prisoner, alone and sad, except for the song of a bird).


In the field of journalism, reporters use the chronograph resource very often. In this way they give context to the news (especially those that distance themselves in time) and can immediately put the reader in a situation.

In the following paragraph, taken from the Chilean newspaper La Vanguardia, the journalist uses Chronograph resources to set his story. This is a chronicle about the occurrence of an earthquake in Chile in 2010:

“… At 03: 35h on the morning of Saturday, February 27, the entire south central part of Chile was affected by an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale…). “… was the strongest in the history of the country after the 9.5 that Valdivia suffered in 1960 …”. “… seconds before the movement began, the power went out …”

The reader finds out the date of the event (February 27) and other temporary details. These place the reader on the site of events. In this way, without having been there, you can be a virtual witness of what happened and have an idea of ​​how and when things happened. Chronograph definition


The chronography in the arts can be found in many of its expressions. For example, it can be located in the songs. In them, the letters appeal very often to the images in which the relationship between space and time generates feelings.

For example, in the song of Joan Manuel Serrat this resource is observed when describing the autumn: “They painted the sky gray and the ground was sheltered with leaves, it was dressed in autumn. The afternoon that falls asleep seems like a child that the wind sways with its ballad in autumn. A ballad in autumn, a sad song of melancholy born at the end of the day. ” Chronograph definition

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