Студопедия — CHAPTER 4 Morphological Stylistics
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CHAPTER 4 Morphological Stylistics

Morphological stylistics deals with morphological expressive means

stylistic devices. Words of all parts of speech have a great stylistic potenti

Being placed in an unusual syntagmatic environment which changes their canonized grammatical characteristics and combinability, they acquire stylis­tic significance. The central notion of morphological stylistics is the notion of, transposition. Transposition is a divergence between the traditional us-\ age of a neutral word and its situational (stylistic) usage.

Words of every part of speech are united by their semantic and gram­matical properties. General lexico-grammatical meaning of nouns is substan-tivity, i. e. the ability to denote objects or abstract notions. Due to the diverse, nature of substantivity, nouns are divided into proper, common, concrete, ab­stract, material and collective. Cases of transposition emerge, in particular, when concrete nouns are used according to the rules of proper nouns usage, or vice versa. It results in creation of stylistic devises named antonomasia or personification. For example: The Pacific Ocean has a cruel soul or John will never be a Shakespeare.

Besides general lexico-grammatical meaning, nouns possess grammati­cal meanings of the category of number and the category of case. These meanings may also be used for stylistic objectives. According to the category of number, nouns are classified into countable and uncountable. Each group has its own regularities of usage. When these regularities are broken for stylistic reasons, speech becomes expressive. Uncountable singularia tantum nouns, or countable nouns in the singular, occasionally realizing the meaning of more than oneness, evoke picturesque connotations: to hunt tiger = to hunt tigers; to keep chick = to keep chicks; snow ~ snows; sand = sands; water = waters; time = times; бить зайца = охотиться на зайцев; ходить на медведя = охотиться на медведей. Normally, the genitive case form is a form of animate nouns. When inanimate nouns are used in this form, their initial meaning of inanimateness is transposed. In such cases they render the meanings of time or distance (mile's walk, hour's time), part of a whole (book's page, table's leg), or qualitative characteris­tics (plan's failure, winter's snowdrifts, music's voice).

Stylistic potential of nouns is significantly reinforced by transpositions in the usage of articles as noun-determiners. Such transpositions occur against generally accepted normative postulates which run: articles are not used with names of persons and animals, some classes of geographical names, abstract nouns and names of material. Uncommon usage of articles aims at importing specific shades of meaning into speech. Thus, the indefinite article combined with names of persons may denote one representative of a family (Mary will never be a Brown), a person unknown to the communicants (Jack was robbed by a Smith), a temporary feature of character (That day Jane was different. It was a silly Jane). Not less expressive are cases when the name of a person is used as a common noun preceded by the indefinite article: Mike has the makings of a Bvron. Stylistic usage of the definite article takes place when names of persons are modified by limiting attributes (You are not the John whom I married), when a proper name denotes the whole family (The Browns are good people), or when a name of a person is mod­ified by a descriptive attribute denoting a permanent feature of character (I entered the room. There she was — the clever Polly). Suchlike deviations in the usage of articles are possible with other semantic classes of nouns: geo­graphical names, abstract and material nouns.

Transposition of verbs is even more varied than that of nouns. It is ex-Plained by a greater number of grammatical categories the meanings of which ^ay be transposed. Most expressive are tense forms, mood forms and voice

brms. One of peculiar features of English tense forms is their polysemantism. rhe same form may realize various meanings in speech. Deviation from the general (most frequently realized) meaning makes verbs stylistically coloured, "ommonly, the present continuous tense denotes an action which takes place it the moment of speaking. But it may also denote a habitual action (John is:onstantly grumbling), an action which occupies a long period of time (Sam is wooing Mary now), and an action of the near future (Pete is starting a new life tomorrow). In such cases the present continuous tense becomes synonymous with the present or future indefinite. But there is a difference. While the sentence "John constantly grumbles" is a mere statement, the sentence "John is constantly grumbling" introduces the negative connota­tions of irritation, condemnation, regret, sadness and others.

There is a rule that verbs of sense perception and mental activity are not used in the continuous tense forms. This rule is often broken by the speaker] intentionally or subconsciously. In both cases verbal forms convey additional stylistic meanings of subjective modality (1 am seeing you = lam not blind;] I am understanding you = You need not go into further details; I am\ feeling your touch = So tender you are, etc.).

One of peculiar verbal transpositions is the change of temporary planes of narration when events of the past or future are described by present tense] forms. Such transposition brightens the narration, raises its emotional tensionJ expresses intrigue, makes the continuity of events visual and graphic: It was\ yesterday and looked this way. The perpetrator comes to his victim, takem a long dagger out of his inner pocket and stabs the poor man right into\ his belly without saying a word. The man falls down like a sack, a founA tain of blood spurting from the wound.

Transposition is not the only way to make verbs expressive. A good many verbal forms are expressive in themselves. The imperative mood forms аги not just commands, invitations, requests or prohibitions. They are a perfect] means of rendering an abundance of human emotions. The sentence Just] come to me now may contextually imply love or hate, threat or warning, promise or desire. A wide range of subjunctive mood forms offers a good] stylistic choice of synonymous ways to verbalize one and the same idea. Compare the following synonymous pairs of sentences: It is time for me to\ go = It is time that I went; It is necessary for him to come = It is necesA sary that he come; We must go now not to be late — We must go now lesvL we be late; Let it be = So be it. The first sentence of each pair is stylistically] neutral while the second sentence is either bookish or obsolescent. In manyJ contexts passive verbal forms are more expressive than their active counter-]

arts. Compare: A round table occupied the centre of the room = The centre of the room was occupied by a round table; They answered him nothing = He was answered nothing; They forgave him his rudeness — це was forgiven his rudeness.

General lexico-grammatical meaning of adjectives is that of qualitative-ness. Qualitative adjectives are always estimative, that is why they are used as epithets (picturesque ' view, idiotic shoe-laces, crazy bicycle, tremen- doiis achievements) and can form degrees of comparison. Relative adjec­tives normally do not form degrees of comparison and serve as logical (non-stylistic) attributes (red colour, Italian car, dead man). However, they may be occasionally transposed into qualitative. Such transposition imports origi­nality and freshness in speech: This is the reddest colour I've ever seen in my life; "Ferrari" is the most Italian car which you can meet in this remote corner of the world; Garry was the deadest men ever present in that ambitious society. Expressiveness of adjectives may be as well en­hanced by non-grammatical transpositions in the formation of the degrees of comparison, when well-known rules of their formation are intentionally vio­lated: My bride was becoming beautifidler and beautifuller: You are the bestest friend I've ever met.

Expressive devices may be created by transposition of pronouns. When objective forms of personal pronouns are used predicatively instead of nom­inative forms, sentences obtain colloquial marking (// is him: It is her; It is me: It is them: It is us). The meaning of the pronoun / may be contextually rendered by the pronouns we, you, one, he, she and others. The so-called "scientific we" is used in scientific prose instead of / for modesty reasons. The same replacement in a routine conversation creates a humoristic effect (a tipsy man coming home after a workday and addressing his wife cheerful­ly, about himself: Meet us dear! We have come!). When the pronoun you is replaced by the pronoun one, the statement becomes generalized, its infor­mation being projected not only to the listeners, but to the speaker himself: One should understand, that smoking is really harmful! When / is substi­tuted by he, she, or nouns (the guy, the chap, the fellow, the fool, the girl, etc), the speaker either tries to analyse his own actions with the eyes of a stranger, externally, or he is ironical about himself. Stylistic effects may also °e achieved by the usage of archaic pronouns: the personal pronoun thou (2 Person singular) and its objective form three, the possessive pronoun thy and 'ts absolute form thine, the reflexive pronoun thyself. These obsolete pro­nouns create the atmosphere of solemnity and elevation, or bring us back to ^cient times.


cuch an accord is met at the end of two parallel lines in verses. Rhyme is a ound organizer, uniting lines into stanzas. Rhyme is created according to everal patterns. Vertically, there are such rhymes: adjacent (aa, bb), cross tab ab) and reverse (ab, ba). According to the variants of stress in the words hein° rhymed, rhymes are classified into male (the last syllables of the rhymed words are stressed), female (the next syllables to the last are stressed) and jacixli£ (tne lmrc* syllables from the end are stressed).

Rhythm is a recurring stress pattern in poetry. It is an even alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables. Lines in verses are built with poetic feet. A foot is a combination of one stressed and one or two unstressed syllables. The most popular poetic feet are trochaic foot, iambus, dactyl, amphibrach, and anapest. A detailed description and bright examples of the mechanisms of versification can be found in theoretically oriented manuals of stylistics, such as /. Arnold. Stylistics of Modern English. - Moscow, 1990; I. Gal-perin. Stylistics. - Moscow, 1977 and others.

Instrumentation is the art of selecting and combining sounds in order to make utterances expressive and melodic. Instrumentation unites three basic stylistic devices: alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia.

Alliteration is a stylistically motivated repetition of consonants. The re­peated sound is often met at the beginning of words: Sh e sells sea shells on the sea shore. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper. Alliteration is often used in children's rhymes, because it emphasizes rhythm and makes memorizing easier:

Baa haa blacksheep

Have you any wool?

Yes_ sir, no sir.

Three bagsfulL

The same effect is employed in advertising, so that slogans will stick in people's minds: Snap, crackle and pop^_h\\\tera\.\on is used much more in poetry than in prose. It is also used in proverbs and sayings (тише едешь, дальше будешь; один с сошкой, семеро с ложкой), set expressions, football chants, and advertising jingles.

Assonance is a stylistically motivated repetition of stressed vowels. The repeated sounds stand close together to create a euphonious effect and rhyme: ihe rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. We love to spoon beneath the mQQ/i in June. Just like alliteration, assonance makes texts easy to memo-nze. It is also popular in advertising for the same reason. Assonance is sel-

35 I

iom met as an independent stylistic device. It is usually combined with alliter- ] ation, rhyming, and other devices:

Брожу, ли я вдоль улиц шумных.

Вхожу ль во многолюдный храм,

Сижу ль меж юношей безумных,

Я предаюсь своим мечтам. (А. С. Пушкин)

Onomatopoeia is a combination of sounds which imitate natural sounds: wind wailing, sea murmuring, rustling of leaves, bursts of thunder, etc. Words which represent this figure of speech have aural similarity with the things they describe: buzz = жужжать, roar - грохотать, bang = бахнуть, I hiss = шипеть, sizzle = шипеть на сковородке, twitter - чирикать, pop = хлопать, swish = рассекать воздух, burble - бормотать, I cuckoo = куковать, splash - плескаться. Animal calls and sounds of I insects are evoked onomatopoeically in all languages. For example, cock-a-doodle-do! is conventionally the English representation for the crowing of a cock. Interestingly, the Russians and the French represent this imitation as кукареку and cocorico correspondingly, which is significantly different from the English variant, although logic tells us that the roster's cry is the same across the world. It means that onomatopoeia is not an exact reproduction of ] natural sounds but a subjective phenomenon.

Onomatopoeia is used for emphasis or stylistic effect. It is extensively featured in children's rhymes and poetry in general.

Expressiveness of speech may be also significantly enhanced by such phonetic means as tone. To the linguist "tone" means the quality of sound J produced by the voice in uttering words. In a general sense, tone is the atti­tude of the speaker or writer as revealed in the choice of vocabulary or the j intonation of speech. Written or spoken communication might be described as having a tone which is, for instance, ironic, serious, flippant, threatening, light-1 hearted, or pessimistic. Attitude expressed in tone may be rendered con­sciously or unconsciously. It could be said that there is no such thing as a text or verbal utterance without a tone. In most cases, tone is either taken for granted, or perceived unconsciously.

Basic notions of graphic expressive means are punctuation, orthogra­phy or spelling, text segmentation, and type. Punctuation is used in writing to show the stress, rhythm and tone of the spoken word. It also aims at clarify-

no the meaning of sentences. There are such common marks of punctuation: the full stop [.], the comma [, J, the colon [: ], the semicolon [; ], brackets К)], dash [ - ], hyphen [ - ], the exclamation mark [! ], the oblique stroke [/ ]x* the interrogative (question) mark [? ], inverted commas (quotation marks) [" "], suspension marks [...], the apostrophe [ ' ].

> Miscellaneous remarks on punctuation.

• Many aspects of punctuation are ultimately a matter of personal prefer­ence and literary style.

• The general tendency in most public writing today is to minimise the amount of punctuation used.

• There are also minor differences in practice between the UK and the USA.

• The suggestions made above are based generally on conventions in the UK.

• Double punctuation ["What's the matter!?"] is rarely used, except in very informal writing such as personal letters or diaries.

• The combination of colon-plus-dash [: — ] is never necessary. Some people use this [it's called 'the pointer'] to indicate that a list will follow, but the colon alone should be sufficient.

• The importance of punctuation can be illustrated by comparing the two following letters. In both cases, the text is the same. It's the punctuation which makes all the difference!

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are gener­ous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy — will you let me be yours? Gloria

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are gener­ous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to be­ing useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?Yours, Gloria



The full stop signals the end of a declarative sentence. It indicates a strong pause. It is used most commonly at the end of a complete sentence. Besides that, it may be used as an instrument for dividing a text or a sentence into very small segments to underline the dynamic character of events or to create a stylistic device of parceling. There are the following peculiarities in the usage of full stops:

> Full stops are commonly placed after abbreviations:
ibid. No. 1 ff. e. g.

The stop is normally placed inside quotation marks but outside brackets:

"What joy we had that particular day.";

Profits declined (despite increased sales). However, if the quotation is part of another statement, the full stop goes outside the quote marks:

Mrs Higginbottam whispered "They're coming";.If the parenthesis is a complete sentence, the full stop stays inside the brackets:

There was an earthquake in Osaka. (Another had oc­curred in Tokyo the year previously.) No full stop is required if a sentence ends with a question mark or exclamation, or a title or abbreviation which contains its own punctuati

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