The opposite of chronological

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Unknoewn13, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Unknoewn13 Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English - American
    Does anybody know a good word for the opposite of chronological? I attempted achronological, but that isn't a real word. I'm writing an analysis on Slaughterhouse-Five, and anyone who has read the novel knows that the protagonist's experiences in life are not chronological at all. Any suggestions:)?
  2. Clavelito Senior Member

    Colombia - Español
  3. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    "Unstuck in time" works for me. ;)

    What about "nonchronological"? I thought I'd made it up, but got a few hits in Google, including this one, discussing Joseph Heller's Catch-22.

    There is also "atemporal", but I'm not entirely sure it fits the context.
  4. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    Hmm. I think anachronic is too close to anachronistic to work.

    I don't mind achronological to describe Slaughterhouse-Five, and a handful of others have used it before you, but I suspect there may be a literary term for this type of narrative. Although used to a striking degree in Slaughterhouse-Five, it is not a narrative technique unknown in other modern texts. In fact, I vaguely remembering having to write a piece in which the plot leapt about in time for a high-school English Literature class, and our Lit teacher doubtless used a term to describe this practice. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it was. :D

    Edit: I like Nun-Translator's nonchronological, or, even better, non-chronological, which receives 69,200 Google results, including references to "non-chronological narrative". In fact, there are over 550 results for non-chronological narrative slaughterhouse. :)
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  5. Clavelito Senior Member

    Colombia - Español
    Yes, I guess non-chronological is far better than anachronic.
  6. Unknoewn13 Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English - American
    Non-chronological is good with me:) Also, I think atemporal should fit, seeing as how I've already used "temporal" to describe the opposite. At least that gives me a synonym to avoid repeating. I can use "unstuck in time" a few times, but I feel if I use that to describe the situation every single time I need to, this thing could become a repetitive disaster:p

    Thanks all!
  7. Renaissance man Senior Member

    I definitely think "atemporal" should be avoided in this case.
    Not only would it be confusing to a broad audience, even in a technical sense it's not very fitting. "Temporal" simply pertains to time (even though the typical mode of temporality could be said to be chronological), and "atemporal" would mean "without time" or "unrelated to time".

    non-chronological or nonlinear works far better.
  8. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
  9. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    How about the simple "unchronological"?
  10. referencedesk New Member

    English - Canada
    This is too late to help you, but I think the term you're looking for is "nonlinear narrative."

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