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GRAMMATICAL DOUBLETS




Observations on the structural peculiarities of English furnish numerous examples of variations in some language forms expressing one and the same linguistic notion. Such parallel forms or doublets may be traced at different levels of the language.

There are different doublets functioning in the vocabulary of present-day English such as, for instance, infantile infantine; lorry lurry; felloe felly; idiogram ideograph, mediatory mediatorial, or graphic variants: draught draft, gray grey; nosey nosy, fogey fogy, endue indue, koumiss kumiss.

Variation in form may be traced in such phonetic variants as:

Doublets will also be observed in grammar. The paradigm of the Modern English verb will furnish such familiar examples as: crow crew (crowed) crowed; clothe clothed clothed = clothe clad clad; get got (gotten Amer.); knit knit knit = knit knitted knitted; lean leaned leaned = lean leant leant; quit quit quit = quit quitted quitted; spit spit (or spat) spit; slide slid slidden (or slid); wed wed wed = wed wedded wedded; work worked worked = work wrought wrought.

Some variant forms have fallen out of the conjugation and are now chiefly used as verbal adjectives, not as parts of tense-forms, e. g., bounden, cloven, drunken, graven, knitten, molten, proven, rotten, shrunken, shorn, stricken, sunken, washen, e. g. a cloven hoof, a proven fact, sunken cheeks, a swollen lip, the stricken field.

Instances are not few when archaic variant forms are used for stylistic purposes to create the atmosphere of elevated speech in pictorial language, in poetry, or in proverbial sayings, e. g.: the forms in -th for the third person singular, present tense indicative, like doth, hath, endeth, saith, knoweth, etc., or, say, such forms as spake for spoke (past (tense of the verb speak); throve for thrived (past tense of the verb thrive); bare for bore (past tense of the verb bear), knowed for knew (past tense of the verb to know), as in: Measure the cloth ten times; thou canst cut it but twice (prov.) (canst can).

Further examples are: The silence in my room, when I got up here at last, was stunning and the moonlight almost yellow. The moon's hiding, now behind one of the elms, and the evening star shining above a dead branch. A few other stars are out, but very dim. It's a night far our time, far even from our world. Not an owl hooting but the honeysuckle still sweet. And so my most dear, here endeththe tale. Good night. Your ever loving Adrian." (Galsworthy) (endeth = ends).

 


.. .the Captain felt, as sensibly as the most eloquent of men could have done, that there was something in the tranquil time and in its softened beauty that would make the wounded heart of Florence overflow; and that it was better that such tears should have their way. So not a word spakeCaptain Cuttle. He knowedToodle, he said, well. Belonged to the Railroad, didn't he? (Dickens) (spake = spoke; knowed = knew)

The use of archaic variants for stylistic purposes may be traced in other languages. Take the paradigm of the verb бути in Ukrainian for illustration.

я є (= єсмь) ми є (= єсьмо) ти є (== єси) ви є (= есте) він є (= єсть) вони є (= суть)

Єсть там дивний-предивний край. (Леся Українка) Єсть плоди червонощокі, що к зимі достоять. (Тичина)

0 Дніпре, Дніпре, мій Славуто, широк і славен ти єси.

(Малишко)

Not less characteristic is the stylistic use of other archaic forms in Ukrainian:

«Слава тобі, Шафарику. Bo віки і віки, що звів єси в одно море слов'янськії ріки». (Шевченко). Compare also such variant forms as: питає — пита; знає — зна; слухає — слуха; виглядає — вигляда, etc.

«У художній прозі та поезії, особливо в творах класиків художньої літератури, часто використовуються: а) дієслова 3-ої особи однини неповного оформлення (зна, гуля, ходе, просе) і б) інфінітиви на -ть. З погляду норм сучасної літературної мови це являє собою поступку перед діалектичними формами — з метою створення колориту розмовності або для регулювання ритмічності в будові віршованої мови»1.

Галя собі заспокоюється, ще часом і пісеньку заспівапро журавля. (Вовчок)

Уявляли вони собі хазяйку — вони знали, що хазяйка молоденька й усе сидить біля віконця та вишивасобі очіпки шовками та золотом. (Вовчок)

Його відерце перше пробивалід у криниці, що уночі замерзала, і таскав він сповнені відра під гору. (Вовчок)

Людина обертає в сад пустині

І в стоколосся колос оберта...Людина йде, ясна її мета —

Хвала ж землі, підкореній людині! (Рильський)

Familiar examples of grammatical archaisms still in use for stylistic purposes will be found among pronominal forms, such as, for instance,

1 І. Г. Чередниченко. Нариси з загальної стилістики сучасної української мови. К... 1962, р. 328.


thee or the poetical possessives thy and thine which do not occur in everyday speech, e. g.:

Tell me then, star, whose wings of light

Speed thee in thyfiery flight,

In what cavern of the night

Will thypinious close now? (Shelley)

Grammatical doublets will be found in the formation of the plural, e. g.:

cows kine (arch.)

fies fone (arch.) shoes shoen (arch.) scarfs scarves

wharfs wharves

There is also morphological variation in the plural of nouns foreign in origin. Through natural process of assimilation some borrowed nouns have developed parallel forms, e. g.: formulae formulas; antennae antennas; foci focuses; termini terminuses; strata stratums. Foreign plural forms are decidedly more formal than their native doublets.

We also find such grammatical forms as ain't or ain of the verb to be corresponding to the forms am not, is not and are not. The combination of a verb-form with the negative particle not differs from the same form without the particle. There is no distinction here between am not, is not, and are not. These variant forms are low colloquial, if not vulgar, and are incompatible with serious literary style. A few examples of their use are given below:

"You're right again", returned the Captain, giving his hand another squeeze. "Nothing it is. So! Steady! There's a son gone: pretty little creetur. Ain'tthere?

...Thank'ее. My berth a'ntvery roomy», said the Captain. (Dickens)

An't you a thief?" said Mr. Carker, with his hands behind him in pockets.

"No, Sir", pleaded Rob.

"You are!" said Mr. Carker.

"I an'tindeed, Sir", whimpered Rob. (Dickens)

Observations on current linguistic change in present-day English furnish examples of grammatical variants developed in recent times.

The first to be mentioned here are linguistic changes in the paradigmatic sets of adjectives, resulting from the continued loss of inflections and their active replacement by syntactic devices in the comparative and superlative where forms with -er and -est are being replaced by forms with more and most. In point of fact, this is the continuation of a trend of long standing. Adjectives with three or more syllables are normally compared with more and most; monosyllabic adjectives, on the other hand, are normally compared with -er and -est (large, larger, largest). Adjectives with two syllables are divided, some usually being compared one way, the others the other; and it is in this dissyllabic group of adjectives


that the change is most noticeable. Adjectives formerly taking -er and -est tend to go over to more and most, e. g. common commoner the commonest and common more common most common. To-day weather forecasts frequently say that it will be more cloudy instead of cloudier. The same is true of such adjectives as cruel, clever, fussy, profound, pleasant, simple, subtle. Recently there have been many cases of more and most spreading even to monosyllabic adjectives, e. g. more crude, more keen, more plain, etc. Forms like more well-informed and more well-dressed functioning parallel with the former better-informed and best-dressed are also frequent.

That the process of loss of inflections is still going on in present-day English is especially clear in the parallel use of such pronouns who and whom, I and me. The inflected form whom seems to be disappearing only from the spoken language and being replaced by who, though it still persists strongly in the written language. It is quite natural, for instance, to say I don't know who to suggest, and I don't know whom to suggest. There is one position where whom is always used still, and that is immediately after a preposition which governs it: we cannot replace whom by who in the sentences: To whom shall I give it? and I don't know for whom it is intended? But these sentences really belong to the written language, and sound extremely stilted in speech; in point of fact, most people would say Who shall I give it to? and I don't know who it's intended for1.

It is also to be noted that me is now formally accepted as the form to use after the verb to be (Cf. French moi). Nowadays it sounds rather pedantic to say It is I instead of the normal pattern It's me. And in present-day use there is a good deal of confusion about the case to be used after but, as and like, e. g., nobody but me, or nobody but I; there may be the first signs of an ultimate erosion of the nominative-accusative contrast in the personal pronouns, like that now taking place with who.

A word should also be said about the negative and interrogative forms of the verb to have. When have is a full verb (meaning "possess", "hold", "experience", etc.), not an auxiliary, it has two ways of forming its negative and interrogative: (1) with parts of the auxiliary do (do you have?, he didn't have, etc.); and (2) without using do (have you?, he hadn't, or in British usage very often have you got?, he hadn't got). The distribution of these doublets in English is rather complicated, and depends partly on the meaning of have, e. g., He hadn't got any money, but He didn't have any difficulty. In some cases, however, it also depends on whether or not the verb denotes habitual action: thus we say Do you have dances in your village hall? (habitual), but Have you got a dance on tonight? (not habitual). This habitual/non-habitual criterion is not typical of American usage, which often employs do-forms for non-habitual have, where in England they employ got-forms; thus Americans often say Do you have the time?, where Englishmen say Have you got the time? Patterns of the type Do you have the time? are coming (though slowly) into general use.

1 See: Ch. Barber. Linguistic Change in Present-day English. Edinburgh-London, 1964, p. 141.


Revision Material

1. 1. Be ready to discuss the linguistic schools in the theory of English grammar.

(a) Give comments on the early prescriptive grammars of English.

(b) Characterise the principal design of classical scientific grammars upheld by 20th century scholars.

(c) Give brief comments on various types of grammar in terms of their linguistic approach and methods of analysis (traditional grammar, philosophical grammar, comparative grammar, historical grammar, structural grammar, transformational grammar, generative grammar).

2. Give the general characteristics of the grammatical structure of English as an analytic language.

3. Give comments on the distinctions between synchronic and diachronic aspects in grammatical studies. Be ready to illustrate the statement that the two aspects are organically related and as such cannot be always absolutely isolated.

4. Comment on the structural methods that have now widely developed in language learning.

5. Be ready to discuss the contribution to the development of the grammatical theory made by Soviet scholars.

II. 1. Make comments on the constant reciprocal action between vocabulary and grammar.

2. Comment on the methods of modern structural analysis that have in recent times widely developed in grammatical studies.

3. Give comments on the following linguistic terminology: paradigmatics, syntagmatics; denotation; connotation; grammeme; morpheme; tagmemes; allomorph; accidence; lexical valency; syntactic valency; opposeme; binary opposition; trinomic opposition; polynomic opposition; potential polysemy; suspension of oppositions.

4. Be ready to discuss the theory of oppositions as being applied in linguistic studies at different levels.

5. Comment on transposition of grammatical forms and their functional re-evaluation.

6. Give comments on homonymie forms in English grammar. Distinguish between inflectional and constructional homonymy. Give examples of grammatical ambiguity.

7. What do we mean by lexical incongruity (= improbability)?

8. Give comments on variant paradigmatic forms (doublets) in grammar.

9. Get ready to discuss the sources of synonyms in grammar and the problem of their classification.

10. Discuss the statement that the asymmetric dualism of the linguistic sign is a fairly common development in the structure of language.

11. The paradigmatic meaning of one grammatical form can coincide with the syntagmatic meaning of another. Can you give examples to illustrate it?

12. What does neutralisation of opposition presuppose?

13. Comment on neutralisation (suspension) of oppositions signalled by: a) lexical incongruity of sentence elements, b) special syntactic structures and c) extra linguistic situation.







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