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Lecture 5: Syntactical Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices

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Post by log on Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:39 pm

Lecture 5: Syntactical Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
1. Problems concerning the composition of spans of utterance larger than the sentence
2. Compositional patterns of syntactical arrangement
3. Particular ways of combining parts of the utterance
4. Particular use of colloquial constructions
5. Stylistic use of structural meaning
1. Problems concerning the composition of spans of utterance larger than the sentence
Syntax is the branch of language science which studies the types of relations between the words, word-combinations, sentences and also between larger spans of utterances.
Here we are going to deal with the linguistic questions of syntactical level. It is first of all syntactical synonymy, i.e. the case when similar logical information is rendered with the help of different syntactical constructions with different functional, stylistic and expressive colouring and connotation.
E.g. Go off! – Off you go! – You go off!
Every functional style has also got its peculiar syntactical constructions, e.g. the style of official documents.
According to the theory of generative grammar there are two kinds of structures — a deep structure and a surface structure. The latter are the actual sentences produced by the former, which is not presented in language units and therefore unobservable. This theory enables the interpreter to look at a sentence from the point of view of what is 'behind' the sentence.
Another development in linguistics is 'text-linguistics'. This development, which as yet has not been formed as a separate theory, aims at investigating the objective criteria concerning ways and means of constructing texts of different kinds and genres.
It is first of all necessary to find the elements into which any text may fall. In other words, there must be certain constituent units of which any text is composed.
Phonemes, the smallest language units, function within morphemes and are dependent on them, morphemes function within words, words — within sentences, and sentences function in larger structural frames which we call "supra-phrasal units" - they are the basic con’stituents of a text.
The term (SPU) is used to denote a larger unit than a sentence. It generally comprises a number of sentences interdependent structurally (usually by means of pronouns, connectives, tense-forms) and semantically (one definite thought is dealt with). A sentence from the stylistic point of view does not necessarily express one idea, as it is defined in most manuals of grammar. It may express only part of one idea.
So a supra-phrasal unit is a combination of sentences presenting a structural and semantic unity backed up by rhythmic and melodic unity.
An SPU can be embodied in a sentence if the sentence meets the requirements of this compositional unit, coincide with the paragraph, enclose several paragraphs and in a paragraph there can be several SPU. The difference between them is that an SPU is a syntactical phenomenon, while the paragraph is a graphico-compositional unit of a written text.
A paragraph is a graphical term used to name a group of sentences marked off by indentation at the beginning and a break in the line at the end. But this graphical term has come to mean a distinct portion of a written discourse showing an internal unity. It is a more or less developed set of thoughts. The structure, logical construction, size of it are important for a stylistic analysis, can be very expressing and speakable.
The length of a paragraph normally varies from eight to twelve sentences. The longer the paragraph is, the more difficult it is to follow the purport of the writer.
The purpose is to grasp the attention, to make the reader see that the thought is deep (in a long p.) or to induce a certain reaction on the part of the reader. This reaction is generally achieved by intentionally grouping the ideas so as to show their interdependence or interrelation. It discloses the writer's manner of depicting the features of the object or phenomenon described.
2. Compositional patterns of syntactical arrangement
Syntactical Stylistic Devices Based on Peculiar Syntactical Arrangement include: stylistic inversion, detached constructions, parallel constructions, chiasmus, repetition, suspense, climax, antithesis.
Structural syntactical stylistic devices are in special relations with the intonation involved. The more explicitly the structural syntactical relations are expressed, the weaker will be the intonation-pattern of the utterance (to complete disappearance) and vice-versa, the stronger the intonation, the weaker grow the evident syntactical relations (also to complete disappearance). 'Only after dinner did I make up my mind to go there' and '/ made up my mind to go there only after dinner.'
When viewing the stylistic functions of different syntactical designs we must take into consideration the following aspects:
1. The juxtaposition of different parts of the utterance.
2. The way the parts are connected with each other.
3. Those based on the peculiar use of colloquial constructions.
4. Those based on the stylistic use of structural meaning.
Stylistic Inversion
The usual Word-order in English is Subject — Verb (Predicate) — Object (S—P—O). Any other order will change the impact on the reader. Stylistic Inversion is an intended violation of the usual order of the members of the sentence for stylistic purpose. It aims at attaching logical stressor additional emotional colouring to the surface meaning of the sentence.
e.g. grammar inversion: No sooner had I looked at him, when he began to cry. SI can be classified according to the following patterns:
1. the object is placed at the beginning of the sentence. Time he has, desire to study he hasn’t.
2. the predicative is placed before the subject or the link-verb. A good student he was. Rude am I in my speech… (Shakespeare). The former is mostly characteristic for colloquial speech, the latter – bookish.
3. the attribute is placed after the word it modifies (postposition of the attribute). With fingers weary and worn… (Thomas Hood) it usually adds solemnity, elevation and melodiousness in prose.
4. the adverbial modifier is placed at the beginning of the sentence. At your feet I fall. Down dropped the breeze (Coleridge). The AM is accented itself here, but it also foregrounds the subject at the last position, which is very emphatic.
5. Both modifier and predicate stand before the subject. Down dropped the breeze (Coleridge).
Detached constructions. Detachment is a stylistic device based on singling out a secondary member of the sentence with the help of punctuation (intonation), so that it seems formally inderpendent of the word it refers to. Being formally inderpendent this secondary member acquires a greater degree of significance and is given prominence by intonation. e.g. She was gone. For good. They are detached with the help of commas, dashes or even a full stop: I have to beg you for money. Daily. DC as an SD is a typification of the syntactical peculiarities of colloquial language. Function: to focus the reader’s attention.
A variant of DC is parenthesis (вводное слово или предложение) – is a qualifying, explanatory or appositive word, phrase, clause, sentence, or other sequence which interrupts a syntactic construction without otherwise affecting it, having often a characteristic intonation and indicated in writing by commas, brackets or dashes. It gives the utterance an additional nuance of meaning or a tinge of emotional colouring.
Parallel construction is a device which may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro-structures dealt with the syntactical whole and the paragraph. Parallelism is more or less complete identity of syntactical structure in two or more sentences or parts of sentence in close succession.
e.g. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see… (Shakespeare)
P.c-s are often backed up by the lexical repetition. In this case P acquires additional semantic stylistic value. P.c-s are most frequently used in enumerations, antithesis and in climax, thus consolidating the general effect achieved by these SDs. It carries the idea of semantic equality of the parts, does the emotive function, generates rhythm.
Chiasmus (Reversed Parallel Construction) from Greek [cross arrangement] – перекрестный\ реверсированный параллелизм - is based on repetition of syntactical patterns, but it has a reversed order in one of the utterances. I.e.one of the sentences is inverted as compared to that of the second sentence: SPO-OPS.
Down dropped the breeze,
The sails dropped down. (Coleridge) e.g. The public wants a thing, therefore it is supplied with it, or if it is supplied with a thing, it wants it. (Thackeray).
Chiasmus is sometimes achieved by a sudden change from active voice to passive or vice versa. It brings in some new shade of meaning or additional emphasis on the second part.
Repetition is reiteration of the same word or phrase with the view of expressiveness. As an SD it fixes the reader’s attention on the key-word of the utterance. It can be of various types: at the beginning - anaphora; at the end – epiphora; the last word of one is repeated at the beginning of the next part – anadiplosis (linking/ reduplication) – Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all ye know on earth… (Keats); at the beginning and at the end of a sentence/paragraph – framing – кольцевой повтор, рамка. It helps to promote the text categories: prospection, retrospection, presupposition, predictability, wholeness, intensifies the utterance, produces the monotony of action, makes the rhythm.
The special type of R is called distant rep-n – when the repeated word /phrase occurs not in a close succession, but in some distance from one another. The distance may be a chapter, several chapters and so on.
Suspense затягивание, задержка главной мысли - is a compositional device that consists in arranging the utterance in such a way, that the less important, descriptive parts are placed at the beginning, while the main idea is presented in the end of the utterance. The sentences of this type are called periodic. Thus the reader's interest is held up, he is kept in a state of un’certainty and expectation. This device is typical of oratoric style. Suspense and climax sometimes go together.
Climax (gradation) кульминация – is an arrangement of sentences or phrases which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance, or emotional tension in the utterance. It’s ascending series of words or utterances in which intensity or significance increases step by step.
e. g. Every racing car, every racer, every mechanic, every ice - cream van was also plastered with advertising.
C. can be logical, emotional or quantitative. Logical c. is based on the relative importance (objective or subjective) of the component parts looked at from the point of view of the concepts put in them. Emotive C –based on the relative emotional tension produced by words with emotive meaning. Quantitative C is an evident increase in the volume of the corresponding concepts: Little by little, bit by bit, and day by day, and year by year the baron got the worst of some disputed question. (Dickens)
It helps to show the relative importance of things as seen by the author, or to impress upon the reader the significance of the things described by suggested comparison, or to depict phenomena dynamically. Anticlimax – the decrease of tension.
Antithesis (stylistic opposition) антитеза is a SD based on the author's desire to stress certain qualities of the thing by appointing it to another thing possessing antagonistic features. e. g. They speak like saints and act like devils. The aim is to make ‘contra:st.
Enumeration is a SD by which separate things, properties or actions are brought together and form a chain of grammatically and semantically homogeneous parts of the utterance. Sometimes absolutely heterogeneous notions are made homogeneous from the semantic point of view.
e. g. She wasn't sure of anything and more, of him, herself, their friends, her work, her future.
3. Particular ways of combining parts of the utterance: Syntactical Stylistic Devices Based on Peculiar Linkage
Asyndeton is a deliberate avoidance of conjunctions in constructions in which they would normally used. e.g. He couldn't go abroad alone, the sea upset his liver, he hated hotels.
Polysyndeton - is a deliberate usage (overuse) of connectives between the parts of the sentence. It’s mostly identical repetition of conjunctions: used to emphasize simultaneousness of described actions, to disclose the authors subjective attitude towards the characters, to create the rhythmical effect.
e. g. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. The difference between the Enumeration and P: the first shows things united, the second – isolated.
The Gap - sentence - link is a peculiar type of connection, which is not immediately apparent and it requires some effort to grasp the interrelation between the parts of the utterance, i.e. to bridge the semantic gap. It presents two utterances, the second is brought into the focus of the reader's attention.
e. g. She and that fellow ought to be the sufferers, and they were in I tally (Galsworthy).
It serves to signal the introduction of the inner represented speech; indicates a subjective evaluation of the facts; introduces an effect resulting from a cause which has already had verbal expression, in other words it displays an unexpected coupling of ideas, stirs up in the reader’s mind the suppositions and associations.
4. Syntactical Stylistic Devices Based on Peculiar Use of Colloquial Constructions
Ellipsis, break in the narrative, represented speech.
Ellipsis - is a deliberate omission of some parts of the sentence for the purpose of shorter and more emphatic presentation of an emotionally coloured speech. It is the omission of a word necessary for the complete syntactical construction of a sentence, but not necessary for understanding The stylistic function of ellipsis is to speed up the tempo, to imitate the colloquial language, to connect its structure.
e. g. You feel all right? Anything wrong or what? Oh, finally! Go! Stop it! Nor more!
Aposiopesis (Break - in - the narrative). Sudden break in the narration has the function to convey the strong emotions, to reveal agitated state of the speaker, - he can’t proceed his speech.
e. g. You just come home or I’ll...
The difference between ellipsis and break is that in ellipsis the speaker deliberately stops to let the listener guess, and in the break- he really or feigningly can’t speak.
Question in the narrative. Changes the real nature of a question and turns it into a stylistic device. A question in the narrative is asked and answered by one and the same person, usually the author. It becomes akin to a parenthetical statement with strong emotional implications. e. g. For what is left the poet here? For Greeks a blush - for Greece a tear. (Byron “Don Juan”)
Unlike rhetorical questions it does not contain statements. Question in the narrative is very often used in oratory. This is explained by one of the leading features of oratorical style - to induce the desired reaction to the content of the speech.
There are 3 ways of reproducing character's speech.1) direct speech; 2) indirect speech (reported speech)
3) represented speech – introduction of the voice of the heroes in author’s speech..
Represented speech (non-personal direct speech). There is also a device which coveys to the reader the unuttered or inner speech of the character, his thoughts and feelings. This device is also termed represented speech. To distinguish between the two varieties of represented speech we call the representation of the actual utterance through the author's language "uttered represented speech", and the representation of the thoughts and feelings of the character “unuttered or inner represented speech”.
1) the absence of quotation marks
2) the usage of the 3rd person sg- mostly
3) the specific choice of vocabulary
4) question and exclamatory marks in narrative
5) the great degree of emotional tension
6) the usage of interjections
5. Syntactical Stylistic Devices Based on Stylistic Use of Structural Meaning
Rhetorical question is a statement in a form of a question, that expects no answer. It is asked in order to make a statement rather than to get a reply. They are frequently used in dramatic situation and in publicistic style.
e. g. What was the good of discontented people who fitted in nowhere?
Litotes - is a use of two negative notions for creating a positive one. Its function is to convey doubts of the speaker concerning the exact characteristics of the object or a feeling, irony, restraint.
e.g. It's not a bad thing - It's a good thing.
e.g. He is no coward. He is a brave man.
e.g. He was not without taste.
e.g. He is no fool.

Hometask: 1. Galperin pp. 191-246 2. Арнольд стр. 217-269
1. Транспозиция синтаксических структур
2. Экспрессивность отрицания.
3. Синтаксическая конвергенция
4. Актуальное членение предложения. План рассказчика и план персонажа.
3. Kucharenko pp. 66-108 ex.2, p.73-5; ex.3, p.77-5; ex.4, p. 80-5, ex. 5, p.83-5; ex., p.103-5-written

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