Lecture 7 and 8 Syntactic Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices Stylistic Syntax

Lecture 7 and 8 Syntactic Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices (Stylistic Syntax) (3 hours)

Different syntactical phenomena may serve as an expressive stylistic means. Its expressive effect may be based on the absence of logically required components of speech - parts of the sentence, formal words or on the other hand on a superabundance of components of speech; they may be founded on an unusual order of components of speech, the change of meaning of syntactical constructions and other phenomena.

Ellipsis. Elliptical sentences are sentences in which one or more words are omitted, leaving the full form to be understood by the reader or hearer.

e.g. I beg your pardon, sir. Didn’t know. Sorry to have bothered you.”

Aposiopesis is found in sentences unfinished logically or structurally due to which the expression of the thought conveyed is limited to a hint .

e.g. “If you don’t give me your signature when I come back tomorrow …”

(implies threat).

One member sentences are those which have no separate subject and predicate but only one main part. This main part may be expressed by a noun (so-called nominal sentences) or an infinitive (infinitive sentences).

e.g. An astonishing experience, another blow to his preconception of a stiff and formal race! (Galsworthy).

e.g. To be alive! To have youth and the world before one!

Zeugma is a figure of speech in which a verb or adjective does duty with two or sometimes more than two nouns and to only one of which it is strictly applicable. Zeugma is based on polysemy, often on the literal and figurative meanings of a word. It may be based on the meaning of a set expression as a whole and the literal meaning of the separate words – its components. It may also be based on the different meanings of homonyms. Zeugma usually, though not necessarily, produces a satiric or humorous effect.

e.g. then came fish and silence.

Superabundance of Components of Speech may be found in different types of repetition and in the emphatic construction.

1. Simple reiteration is limited to the repetition of the same word, phrase or sentence though not necessarily in one sentence or even paragraph, it may be found in much larger syntactical units. It plays an important role in creating a definite emotional colouring. This colouring may be different depending on the lexical meaning of the word or words repeated.

2. The repetition of the root is a special type of reiteration in which only the root of the word and not the full word is repeated. Depending on the context it may have different stylistic colouring.

e.g. To live again in the youth of the young (a tinge of regret for fast passing youth).

3. Framing is a type of repetition, when the same word or words, standing at the beginning of the sentence or syntactical unit are repeated at the end of it. They occupy the emphatic syntactic positions in the sentence.

e.g. Those kids were getting it all right, with busted heads and bleeding faces – those kids were getting it.

4. Anadiplosis is a repetition of a word or a group of words, which come at the end of a phrase or clause and at the beginning of a new phrase or clause. It serves to emphasize the most important part of the statement.

e.g. Especially as Mr. Spears, Mrs. Spears of all people, whose two boys were so exemplary, was waiting for her in the drawing-room.

5. Syntactic tautology is the repletion of a part of the sentence, usually the subject, expressed by a noun by a pronoun, sometimes vice versa. Syntactic tautology may be used for the sake of emphasis or to render low colloquial of which it is typical. It is often found in nursery rhymes, and poetry imitating the style of popular ballads.

e.g. The Widow Douglass, she took me for her son, and allowed she would civilize me.

6. Polysyndeton is the repetition of the conjunction or some other formal word before each following homogeneous part of the sentence. It serves as a means of distinguishing each part by isolating them from each other and at the same time connecting them into one sense unit. The repetition of conjunctions lends a definite rhythmical quality to the statement. Polysyndeton stresses the simultaneousness of actions, or the close connection of the qualities or phenomena enumerated. When rendering colloquial speech it may serve as a means of characterizing a personage’s speech underlining its primitive construction.

e.g. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect.

7. Anaphora is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of clauses, sentences, periods, or in poetry at the beginning of lines, stanzas.

e.g. “Why didn’t you dare it before?” he asked harshly. “when I hadn’t a job ? When I was starving? When I was just as I am now as a man, as an artist, the same Martin Eden?”

8. Epiphora is the repetition of the same word or words at the end of two or more succeeding clauses, sentences, verses etc. Epiphora even in a greater degree than anaphora creates a rhythmic pattern of the narration. Besides that, epiphora underlines the logical connection and emotional identity of adjoining units of speech .

e.g. It’s their wealth and security that makes everything possible makes your art possible, makes literature, science, even religion possible (Galsworthy).

Synonymic Repetition is a peculiar type of repetition consisting in the use of synonymous means to express the same idea. The words repeated are not necessarily synonyms, but become such in the context .

Emphatic Constructions are sentences with the anticipatory “it ” which serves to stress any part of the sentence.

e.g. It was Winifred who went up to him.

e.g. It was while passing through Moulsey lock that Harris told me about his maze experience.

An insertion (inserted clause) appears within another clause and interrupts its structure. Their stylistic functions are rather versatile. They usually contain some information serving to make clearer what is said in the main body of the sentence, or are a casual interruption due to the speaker suddenly thinking of something vaguely connected with what he is speaking about and thus serve as a characterization of a personage’s speech manner or his state. They may serve to create two parallel speech planes, for instance, when we have reported speech.

Parallel Constructions – Parallelism is the repetition of the same syntactical structure in two or more succeeding sentences. Parallel arrangement serves to bring forth either the similarity or the difference between the objects in question. Parallelism lends a definite rhythm to the narration and due to its sameness it creates a certain background to emphasize the necessary word or phrase. This word or phrase is usually repeated in the parallel constructions. Parallelism is found in literary works where it serves as an expressive means. It is also found in scientific prose and official documents.

e.g. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was whistling as I walked past the studio gates.

Chiasmus is a type of parallelism with cross arrangement of the elements.

Detached (loose) parts of the sentence are such parts which are less closely, less intimately connected with the rest of the sentence. They have a certain independence which finds expression in the intonation and, in writing, in punctuation. Detachment is a stylistic expressive means for it serves to emphasize the loose part of the sentence. Practically any secondary part of the sentence, direct, indirect objects, and especially often adverbial modifiers, attributes and appositions may be detached

Rhetoric questions is a widely used expressive means. It is an affirmative or negative statement in the form of the question. It is emotionally coloured, is distinct from an ordinary question which is asked to draw forth some information, the rhetoric question does not require any answer; it serves the purpose of calling the reader’s (or hearer’s) attention to a particular point in the discourse, writing, speech, etc. The appeal to the reader or hearer which the rhetoric question contains serves as a means of enhancing the expressiveness of monologue speech making it more lively, more versatile (varied).

e.g. What will not necessity do?

As you know the English sentence is characterized by a rather strict and rigid word order. The putting of a part of the sentence in an abnormal place, in a place unusual for it, i.e. inversion, brings this word into prominence, emphasizes it. In this way inversion becomes a significant expressive means. The main stylistic affect of inversion is emphasis. But it may acquire other connotations depending on the context.

Inversion always brings about either change in the logical content of the sentence, or lends an additional emotional colouring to the narration. Inversion is usually found in written speech, its use in colloquial speech is rather a rare occurrence.

Enumeration is another expressive means which consists in naming over various qualities or recounting different objects or actions with the purpose of giving a many-sided artistic characterization to the phenomenon described. The words enumerated are homogeneous parts of a sentence.

Represented speech is a form of utterance which renders the actual words of the speaker through the mouth of the writer retaining the peculiarities of the speaker’s manner of expression.

Represented speech loses the remoteness of indirect speech and approximates direct speech, as it in a great measure retains the latter’s phrasing, syntactical structure and inner colloquial intonation. The peculiarities of represented speech are that the past tense is used instead of the present, the pronoun of the third person is used instead of the pronouns of the first and second persons.

There are two varieties of represented speech: a) uttered represented speech and b) unuttered or inner represented speech. Morphologically there is no difference between them. The syntactical pattern is somewhat different.

Uttered represented speech is employed in belles-lettre style and newspaper style.

Unuttered (inner) represented speech renders the thoughts and feelings of the character he does not express aloud.

Lecture 8 - Phonetic Expressive Means (Stylistic Phonetics) 1 hour

We shall speak of such expressive phonetic means as means of intonation, euphony, rhythm and onomatopoeia (sound imitation). Phonetic expressive means do not exist separately in speech.

Intonation is one of the most effective means of emotionally influencing the reader. It colours the whole statement and is an important means of creating emphasis of words and phrases. The influence of intonation is so far-reaching that it may bring about a change of the main logical meaning of the word.

Euphony may be explained as a combination of pleasant sounds that do not jar the ear. But in its wide meaning euphony is understood as a combination of sounds the expressive effect of which corresponds to the general mood or emotional tone of the extract. This last clause requires some explanation. The different effect produced by different sounds of the person is not sufficiently proved by scientific method as yet. That is why some authors such as professor Galperin for instance denounce it as something idealistic based on the conception that separate sounds have a meaning of their own. Other authors – Кузнец, Скребнев speak of the emotional effect of sounds, and sound combinations. Probably there is something to be said in favour of this latter conception. Some authors speak of sound symbolism. Why not sound symbolism, we speak of colour symbolism – black-gloomy; red-gay, etc. As to sounds, [s] usually produces an unpleasant effect, [d] – a gloomy, dismal effect, [l] – warm, tender feelings, etc.

There are some rules of euphony which must not be violated and the most important one is that there must be no rhyme in prose. It produces a ludicrous effect.

e.g. The speaker discussed the source of the force of international law.

Sound Imitation, or Onomatopoeia refers to the use of words or combinations of words that imitate some natural sounds. Onomatopeia may be direct and indirect. Direct onomatopoeia is a source of word-building. It is a naming of an action or thing by a more or less exact reproduction of the sound associated with it. They are echoes of natural sounds. Many verbs denote sounds produced by human beings in the process of communication or in expressing their feelings: “babble”, “chatter”, giggle”, “grunt”, “grumble”, “titter”, “whine”, “whisper” and many others. Then there are sounds produced by animals, birds and insects: buzz, cackle, croak, crow, hiss, honk, howl, moo, purr, roar a.o. There are also verbs imitating the sound of water such as bubble, splash and others imitating the noise of metallic things click, tinkle, and many others.

Alliteration is a deliberate use of similar sounds in close succession achieving a definite stylistic effect. It adds emotional colouring to the utterance suggesting the attitude of the writer to what he is describing. It is a peculiar musical accompaniment of the main idea of the utterance.

Rhythm – a metrical movement determined by various relations of long and short or accented and unaccented syllables; it is a measured flow of words and phrases in verse or prose. We shall deal with rhythm in prose. Rhythm in prose has a different quality than that in verse, but that it exists is undeniable. There is a certain rhythmical arrangement in sentences with homogeneous members (i.e. with enumeration), esp. when coupled with polysyndeton.


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