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CHAPTER 3 Stylistic Lexicology






Stylistic lexicology deals with words which make up people's lexicon, vocabulary or lexis is usefully distinguished from grammar in textual analysis, •ne grammar of any utterance is the underlying structure. The vocabulary is {пе immediate content or subject-matter of a statement. The passage which Allows contains a normal mixture of grammatical items and vocabulary items:


bananas are cheap and plentiful and can be used in many interesting ■vays, either as desserts or in main meals. With the grammatical items removed, the sentence still makes some sense: Bananas cheap plentiful used many interesting ways either desserts main meals. Without the lexi­cal items however, the grammar words mean nothing as a sequence: are and

can be in as or in.

Vocabulary is one level of stylistic analysis, along with phonology, gra­phology, grammar and semantics. In analyzing the vocabulary of a text or a speech, patterns of usage would be the subject of comment. For instance, the frequent occurrence of technical terms in car repair manual, or of emotive words in a tabloid newspaper article.

The majority of English words are neutral. Neutral words do not have stylistic connotations. Their meanings are purely denotative. They are such words as table, man, day, weather, to go, good, first, something, enough. Besides neutral vocabulary, there are two great stylistically marked layers of words in English word-stock: literary vocabulary and colloquial vocabulary. Literary vocabulary includes bookish words, terms, poetic and archaic words, barbarisms and neologisms. Colloquial vocabulary embraces conversational lexis, jargonisms, professionalisms, dialectal, slangy and vulgar words.

Neutral words form the lexical backbone of all functional styles. They are understood and accepted by all English-speaking people. Being the main source! of synonymy and polysemy, neutral words easily produce new meanings and| stylistic variants. Compare: mouse = 1) a small furry animal with a long tail; 2} mouse = a small device that you move in order to do things on a computer! screen; 3) mouse = someone who is quiet and prefers not to be noticed.

Bookish words are mainly used in writing and in polished speech. They form stylistic opposition to their colloquial synonyms. Compare: infant (ЬооЫ ish) = child (neutral) = fad (colloquial); parent (bookish) = father (neutral) =\

daddy (colloquial).

Terms belong to particular sciences. Consequently, the domain of their!

usage is the scientific functional style. The denotative meanings of terms are

clearly defined. A classical term is monosemantic and has no synonyms. Terms

of general nature are interdisciplinary (approbation, anomaly. ШегргеЩ

tion, definition, monograph, etc. ). Semantically narrow terms belong to I

definite branch of science (math.: differential, vector, hypotenuse, leg (oj

a triangle), equation, logarithm). When used in other styles, terms produce

different stylistic effects. They may sound humoristically or make speed|

"clever" and "scientific-like". Academic study has its own terms too. Terrn^


such as palatalization or velarization (phonetics), discourse analysis (sty-listics), hegemony (political philosophy) and objective correlative (literary studies) would not be recognizable by an everyday reader, though they might be understood by someone studying the same subject.

Terms should be used with precision, accuracy, and above all restraint. Eric Partridge quotes the following example to illustrate the difference be­tween a statement in technical and non-technical form: Chlorophyll makes food by photosynthesis = Green leaves build up food with the aid of tight. When terms are used to show off or impress readers or listeners, they are likely to create the opposite effect. There is not much virtue in using terms such as aerated beverages instead of fizzy drinks. These simply cause disruptions in tone and create a weak style. Here is an even more pretentious example of such weakness: Enjoy your free sample of our moisturizing cleansing bar (in other words - our soap).

The stylistic function of poetic words is to create poetic images and make speech elevated. Their nature is archaic. Many of poetic words have lost their original charm and become hackneyed conventional symbols due to their constant repetition in poetry (очи, дева, мурава, упование, стан (девичий), десница (правая рука), воинство, горнило, вещать, влачить, гласить, зардеть, отчий, златокудрый, дивный, поныне, воистину, во славу).

It is a well-known fact that the word-stock of any language is constantly changing and renewing. Old words die and new words appear. Before disap­pearing, a word undergoes the stages of being obsolescent, obsolete and ar­chaic. The beginning of the aging process of a word is marked by decrease in its usage. Rarely used words are called obsolescent. To English obsolescent words belong the pronoun though and its forms thee, thy and thine, the verbs with the ending -est {though makest) and the ending -th {he maketh), and other historical survivals. Obsolete words have gone completely out of usage though they are still recognized by the native speakers (methinks = it seems to me; nay = no). Archaic words belong to Old English and are not ^cognized nowadays. The main function of old words is to create a realistic background to historical works of literature.

Barbarisms and foreignisms have the same origin. They are bor­rowings from other languages. The greater part of barbarisms was borrowed Into English from French and Latin {parvenu - выскочка; protege -пРотеже; a propos - кстати; beau monde - высший свет; de novoсь*знова; alter ego - другое «я»; datum - сведения, информация). Ваг-


larisms are assimilated borrowings. Being part of the English word-stock, hey are fixed in dictionaries. Foreignisms are non-assimilated borrowings >ccasionally used in speech for stylistic reasons. They do not belong to the Bnglish vocabulary and are not registered by lexicographers. The main fund ;ion of barbarisms and foreignisms is to create a realistic background to the stories about foreign habits, customs, traditions and conditions of life.

Neologisms are newly born words. Most of them are terms. The layer of terminological neologisms has been rapidly growing since the start of the technological revolution. The sphere of the Internet alone gave birth to thou­sands of new terms which have become international (network, server, brows­er, e-mail, provider, site, Internet Message Access Protocol, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Microsoft Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator, etc). The Internet is an immense virtual world with its own language and its people, good or bad. Hacker means "someone who uses a computer to connect to other people's computers secretly and often illegally in order to find or change information". Spammer means "someone who sends emails to large numbers of people on the Internet, especially when these are not wanted". Recent discoveries in biochemistry, genetic engineer­ing, plasma physics, microelectronics, oceanography, cosmonautics and other sciences demanded new words to name new concepts and ideas. The vocab­ulary of our everyday usage is also being enlarged by neologisms. Bancomatj, means "a European system of automatic cash-ejecting machines". Bank card means "a small plastic card that you use for making payments or for getting,

money from the bank".

Common colloquial vocabulary is part of Standard English word-stock. It borders both on neutral vocabulary and on special colloquial vocabulary! Colloquialisms are familiar words and idioms used in informal speech and^ writing, but unacceptable in polite conversation or business correspondence»] Compare standard speech sentence "Sir, you speak clearly and to the\ point" and its colloquial equivalent "Friend, you talk plain and hit the пащ

right on the head";.

There are some specific ways of forming colloquial words and gramj matical fusions. The most typical of them are contraction (demo - demon] stration, comp = comprehensive school, disco = discotheque, pub ~ publiA house, ad - advertisement), amalgamation of two words in a single on< (s'long = so long, c'mon = come on, gimme - give me, wanna = want to, gonna = going to, don't = do not, he's — he has/is), affixation (missy = miss, girlie ~ girl, Scotty ~ Scotchman), compounding, composing and blend


. (legman = reporter, hanky-panky = children's tricks, yellow-belly -coward, motel = a hotel for people who are travelling by car).

The most productive way of building colloquial words in Russian and Ukrainian is derivation. Lots of suffixes and prefixes convert neutral words into conversational: мама = мамочка, мамуля, мамуся, мамка, мамаша, иаман, мамища; книга - книжка, книжица, книжонка, книжища. Many of colloquial words are extremely emotional and image-bearing. For example, the interjections oops, oh, gee, wow, alas are capable of ren­dering dozens of contextual subjective modal meanings, such as gladness, rapture, disappointment, resentment, admiration, etc. Not less expressive are Russian and Ukrainian colloquial words. Compare: пустомеля, скупердяй, одурелый, чумной, орать, проныра. Expressive colloquial words form long chains of synonyms: лицо = физиономия, портрет, морда, рожа, харя, рыло, будка.

Jargonisms are non-standard words used by people of a certain asocial group to keep their intercourse secret. There are jargons of criminals, con­victs, gamblers, vagabonds, souteneurs, prostitutes, drug addicts and the like. The use of jargon conveys the suggestion that the speaker and the listener enjoy a special "fraternity" which is closed for outsiders, because outsides do not understand the secret language. Here are some words from American and Russian drug takers' jargon: white stuff = cocaine or morphine; candy = cocaine; snifter = a cocaine addict; boxed, spaced out, bombed, junked up or charged up = being affected by drugs; candy man = drug seller; cap = a capsule with a narcotic; jab-off = an injection of a narcotic; pin-shot = an injection of a drug made with a safety pin and an eye-dropper instead of a hypodermic needle; mainliner = a drug addict who takes his narcotics by intravenous injection; ширнуться - ввести наркотик внутривенно; раскумариться = принять наркотик в период ломки, ломка = постнаркотическое состояние у наркоманов, которое характеризуется физическими страданиями. Social contra­dictions of our life gave rise to such word combinations as "отмазать от суда", "закосить от армии". Eventually, some jargonisms pass into stan­dard speech. This is the case with the Russian word "беспредел" which Penetrated into Standard Russian from prison jargon due to its expressive­ness and topicality of meaning.

Eric Partridge, an authority on the subject, identifies a number of reasons ror the creation and use of jargon. In his opinion, people resort to jargon to be efferent, startling, or original; to display one's membership of a group; to be


:retive or to exclude others; to enrich the stock of language; to establish a endly rapport with others; to be irreverent or humorous.

Professionalisms are term-like words. They are used and understood members of a certain trade or profession. Their function is to rationalize ofcssional communication and make it economical. This is achieved due to broad semantic structure of professional terms, which makes them eco->mical substitutes for lengthy Standard English vocabulary equivalents. Com-ire: scalpel = a small sharp knife used by a doctor for doing an oper-ion: round pliers = a metal tool with round ends that looks like a rong pair of scissors, used for holding small objects or for bending id cutting wire; зачистить населенный пункт (военный арго); тработать подозреваемого (милицейский арго), прозвонить шию (арго телефонистов). The foreman in a garage does not need to rite on a mechanic's worksheet: "Please regulate the device which pro-ides a constant supply of petrol to the inlet manifold of the engine". He writes: "Adjust the carburetor";.

Dialecticisms are words used by people of a certain community living in certain territory. In US Southern dialect one might say: "Cousin, y'all talk] nighty fine" which means "Sir, you speak English well". In ethnic-immi-rant dialects the same sentence will sound as "Paisano, you speek good\ he English" or "Landsman, your English is plenty all right already";.

Slang is non-standard vocabulary understood and used by the whole | tation. Slang is sometimes described as the language of sub-cultures or the anguage of the streets. Linguistically, slang can be viewed as a sub-dialect. Itj s hardly used in writing - except for stylistic effect. People resort to slangj because it is more forceful, vivid and expressive than standard usages. Slangy | words are rough, often scornful, estimative and humorous. They are com-| pletely devoid of intelligence, moral, virtue, hospitality, sentimentality and oth­er human values.

Slang prefers short words, especially monosyllables. Vulgar or obscene words may be viewed as part of slang. The most popular images of slang are food, money, sex and sexual attraction, people's appearances and characters. Because it is not standard, formal or acceptable under all conditions, slang is usually considered vulgar, impolite, or boorish. However, the vast majority of slangy words and expressions are neither taboo, vulgar, derogatory, nor of-) fensive in meaning, sound, or image. Picturesque metaphor, metonymy, hy-i perbole and irony make slangy words spicy. Look how long, diverse and ex-J prcssive the chain of slangy synonyms denoting "money" is: ackers. cly,\


0ie> gelt, moo, moolah, mopus, oof, spondulicks, queer, boot, chuck, hardstujf, lettuce, lolly, boodle, sea-coal, green goods, hay, shoestring, ante, bread, ducats, dumps, swag, bean, blunt, crap, dough, haddock, ochre, rubbish, salad, soap, splosh, sugar, chink, gob, poke, iron, bal­sam, jack, loot, pile, wad, dust, tin, brass, fat, rocks, chips, corn, red, sand, bundle, oil, shells.

> Some forms of slang change very rapidly, for various reasons.

• Teenage slang changes rapidly because people are teenagers for a short period of time. For example, in the early 1990s the term used to express enthusiastic approval was 'Ace'. Now this would be considered rather dated. It has been replaced by 'Sound' — which itself will soon be sup­planted by whatever the current teenage culture decides is appropriate.

• 'Smashing!' and 'Super!' the teenage slang of Enid Blyton stories of the 1930s and 1940s is now used to parody the period and the attitudes from which they sprang. Intrinsically however, it is no different from today's terms.

• One important function of teenage slang is to create an identity which is distinct from the general adult world. Teenagers for this reason do not generally approve of parents or teachers using their slang terms. This defeats the object of what is essentially a group 'code'.

• Thus new terms are generated every couple of years. It is interesting that the main slang items are adjectives for extreme approval or extreme disapproval.

Idioms. An idiom is a fixed phrase which is only meaningful as a whole. All languages contain idiomatic phrases. Native speakers learn them and re­member them as a complete item, rather than a collection of separate words: a red herring = a false trail, raining cats and dogs - raining very hard, a fly in the ointment = spoiling the effect.

Idioms often break semantic conventions and grammatical logic - as in I'll eat my head (I'll be amazed if...). The object of the verb "to eat" is conventionally something edible, but as part of this idiom it is something def­initely inedible. Non-native speakers find the idiomatic side of any language difficult to grasp. Native speakers of a language acquire idioms from a very early stage in their linguistic development.


The translator should bear in mind the fact that idioms are generally ipossible to translate between languages, although some families of lan-ages use idioms based on identical ideas. In French, for example, the idi-natic phrase "топ vieux" is parallel in its meaning with the English "old ap", and in Russian the phraseologism "львиная доля" is parallel with

e English "the lion's share";.

Idioms very often contain metaphors, but not always. For example, How і you do is an idiomatic greeting but it is not a metaphor. Idioms are not ways used or recognized by the whole of the language community. Sub-roups of speakers employ idioms peculiar to themselves. Teenagers, occu-ational groups, leisure groups, and gender groups all employ idioms or spe-ial phrases. These will mean something within the context of the group and s communication: He was caught leg-before-wicket (sport). She was at er sister's hen-party (gender).







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