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Stylistics of Units,or Paradigmatic Stylistics Stylistics of Sequences,or Syntagmatic Stylistics 1 страница

Each is divided into: (stylistic) phonetics, morphology, lexicology, syntax, and semasiology or onomasiology.

The material of stylistics in general, the bulk of stylistic notions and terms, is treated further in the succession outlined here: stylistics of units with its level-forming constituents and semasiology, then follows stylistics of sequences, subdivided in the same manner.

Summary. As a general rule, the subject matter of any science is characterized at the very beginning of a textbook: the reader is expected first simply to take on faith what the author says. Prescriptions thus prearranged usually precede argumentation and description of problems. The author of the present book, by contrast, offers a summarizing view of the matter after the reader has already been informed about the principal concepts (notions) of stylistics and its theoretical foundations.

One could have attempted formulating a " universal" definition of stylistics that would not be exhaustive. Having the last word should never

be anyone's aim. Another way seems preferable: to renounce all claims to universality, compensating for the absence of a general definition by providing a series of statements, each characterizing certain properties of stylistics from different viewpoints. Seeing all the different statements, comparing and correlating them will enable the reader to better understand the contents of stylistics, and the place it occupies among the numerous branches of linguistics.

1. Viewed in its relation to language as a system, stylistics is based on the theory of sublanguages. All speech activity is divided by researchers (though most of them would deny the fact) into a number of spheres assumed to be discrete. A sublanguage is the set of lingual units actually used in a given sphere. The overlapping part of sublanguages is made up of units that are 'neutral', since they are not associated with a definite

phere. The peripheral parts of sublanguages constitute their respective

styles" (the basic concept of stylistics).

2. Viewed in its relation to language as a set of signs and their sequence patterns, stylistics may be regarded as a linguistic discipline concentrating on connotations. The latter are those parts of the semantic structure of lingual elements and their sequences (combinations) which are not carriers of lexical or grammatical information, but mere indicators of what class the elements (sequences) belong to either the specific part (style) of a sublanguage, or the central (neutral) field.

3. Viewed in search for a general evaluation of the character of its
object, stylistics studies information often unaccounted for by an ordi­
nary language user. It presents in verbal form what a layman perceives
very vaguely or ignores altogether, being led by intuition or semi-cog­
nized experience in his speech activity.

4. Viewed as a linguistic branch having its own substance, stylistics
appears as a description of types of specific lingual elements and
combinations of elements — a description creating the system of concepts
to be used in analysis of material.

5. Viewed with the aim of establishing its ultimate goals or prospects,
stylistics may be defined as a branch of linguistics elaborating a system of
tests to ensure correct text attribution. The data accumulated in the course
of stylistic research should help to find out the individual properties of
concrete texts or at least of text types. In certain professional spheres
(criminology), stylistics must provide the means of extracting from texts
enough information about the writer to facilitate his identification.

6. Viewed pragmatically, i.e. as reflecting the interrelation between
language and its users' behaviour, stylistics investigates the highest
stages of linguistic competence, i.e. the ability to differentiate subsys­
tems (sublanguages) in the general structure of language. The mastery
of sublanguages is akin to speaking several languages.


2 3ак. 169


7. Viewed as regards its place among other branches of linguistics (describing a national language in terms of phonetics, morphology, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics), stylistics turns out to be a more precise, more detailed and, hence, the most reliable description of the linguistic object. Non-stylistic descriptions merely state the existence in a given language of certain units or combinations of units. An impression is thus created that variants of phonemes and morphemes, synonymous words, homofunctional syntactical constructions, semantically varying denominations of the same objects of reality are of equal value, mutually exchangeable, and universally applicable. Stylistic description, on the other hand, takes into account the comparative connotational potential of such units, points out their place in the system of sublanguages, and typical spheres of use. Then, and then only, will there arise an undistorted picture of the way language functions. After all, any linguistic description, claiming the utmost adequacy, has to be a stylistic descrip­tion. Grammarians, phoneticians, and compilers of dictionaries usually, though not always consistently, take this into consideration, providing some of the units with indices of their stylistic class and expressive properties.



1 See: Galperin I.R. Stylistics. — M., 1971. P. 9-23.

2 In V.A. Zvegintsev's opinion, "... stylistic meanings convey only aesthetic information..."

(Звегинцев BA. Теоретическая и прикладная лингвистика. — М., 1968, с. 54).

3 At least, the Rostov-on-the-Don School of stylists is engaged only in what it calls

'expressive stylistics'. The device attracting attention of most of the representatives of that trend in stylistics is 'amplification', which is, properly speaking, not a device, but a result achieved by piling up all kinds of intensifiers (tropes, similes, the use of several synonyms in succession, etc.); in other words, the term denotes a phenomenon of no definite linguistic content. See: Проблемы экспрессивной стилистики. — Ростов-на-Дону, 1987. See also M. Riffaterre (Criteria for Style Analysis) who characterizes style as emphasis imposed upon the verbal message.

4 On the emotive linguistic means see numerous research papers by V.I. Shakhovsky.

3 Thus, P. Guiraud (" Les stylistiques et leurs problemes" // Essais de stylistique. — Paris, 1969) thinks that style is the specific form of a text conditioned by the function of the latter.

6 Of many other opinions concerning style and stylistics, as well as their definitions, only the most peculiar (especially those verging on the illogical) might be mentioned here. One of the best known style researchers of modernity, M. Riffaterre, begins his essay quoted above with what is clearly a pseudo-opposition: " Linguistics and Stylistics", going on to expostulate on the dual function of linguistic units, which, as he writes, are elements of both the linguistic system and the stylistic system. The scholar seems to overlook the obvious fact of hypero-hyponymic interrelation of the two notions: the latter, being admittedly part of the former, cannot be placed on a level with it — just

as it is nonsensical to say " linguistics and grammar". M. Riffaterre would most probably admit that the manifestation THEY can be regarded as the object of phonetics, morphology, lexicology (etymology). There is also no doubt that it is studied by linguistics, and yet the statement THEY is studied by both phonetics and linguistics contains more humour than serious information.

7 Saussure, Ferdinand de. Course de linguistique generale. Извлечения, см.: Ф. де Сос-

сюр. Курс общей лингвистики // Хрестоматия по истории языкознания XIX-XX веков. — М., 1956. С. 327-363.

8 It would be preferable to apply the word speech mainly to the process of articulating

speech sounds making up words and sentences — either audibly (" oral speech"), or mentally (" inner speech"). The current expression written speech, used by every student and teacher (including the present author) as a term of language teaching, ordinarily implies:

a) lessons at which writing prevails; exercises in writing;

b) texts on paper, blackboard, or any other surface as a product of writing (especially
often the expression written speech refers to bookish, i.e. literary, carefully structured
texts — as opposed to those of colloquial character);

c) the process of writing.

The classroom use of the expression is unavoidable and legitimate. Yet it must be considered objectionable in linguistics whenever the third meaning of the phrase is thoughtlessly opposed to 'oral speech', as it often is. As a matter of fact, the processes of speech and writing have not very much in common. Speaking is composing and producing utterances with little or no time alotted for finding the most adequate con­tents and form of what the speaker intends to say (or thinks he should say). Writing for its part may be a long, elaborate mental review of varieties so as to choose one of them and transfer it into graphic form, which is then written or typed. The difference between oral speech and writing (not written speech!) should be kept in mind when the reader comes to Chapter I ('Phonetics of Units').

' Gardiner, Allan H. The Distinction of 'Speech' and 'Language'//Atti del III congresso international dei linguisti. — Firenze, 1935.

10 See, for instance, «Проблемы лингвистической стилистики. Тезисы докладов». —

М., 1969.

11 Crystal D. and Davy D. (Stylistic Analysis // Investigating English Style. — L., 1969)

aptly term them 'limited languages'.

12 Амосова Н.Н. К проблеме языковых стилей в английском языке // Вестник ЛГУ,

1951, 5.

13 The list of scholars who are firm believers in the finality of the number of styles in

language would be enormous. In the last part of the present book twelve authors' conceptions are reviewed; none of them admits their number could be any greater or smaller than he or she has proclaimed. In 1989 the present author was invited by the Institute of the Russian Language of the Russian Academy of Sciences to deliver a lecture before the National Conference of Stylists. Of the many hearers who took the floor afterwards only one agreed, as he said, with practically everything he had heard. All the others protested vehemently, especially those of the older generation. One of the most impressively titled scholars (though much younger in age than most) said it was a commonly known axiom: the objective number of styles is three (neither more, nor less!).

14 Galperin I.R. Op. cit.

15 Арнольд И.В. Стилистика современного английского языка. — Л., 1981.

16 Compare, however, with the above-mentioned oral statement of the famous Russian

scholar (a specialist in French and other Romance languages) about their number being only three.



17 The term 'sublanguage' (first used in its Russian form, 'подъязык') belongs to N.D. Andreyev, whose use of it, however, is essentially different from that employed here. In Andreyev's conception, a sublanguage is predetermined by the contents of the text; it is characterized by an established choice of signifies; style, for its part, is defined by emotional aims, thus being reduced to the choice of signifiants. For the present author, it is not only the thematic aspect, the content, but all the external characteristics of the communicative situation that constitute the sphere of speech. Emotion, therefore, is as essential a factor as the logical contents of the message to convey. As for the treatment of the term 'style' by the present author, see the Introduction to this book.

Виноградов В.В. Итоги обсуждения вопросов стилистики // ВЯ, 1955, 1.

19 Details concerning 'hypercharacterization' of neutral units, see in: Скребнев Ю.М.

Очерк теории стилистики. — Горький, 1975 ('An Outline of Stylistic Theory'), с 22, 23.

20 See: Riffaterre M. Criteria for Style Analysis // Essays on the Language of Literature.

— Boston — New York—Atlanta, 1967; Saporta S. The Application of Linguistics to the Study of Poetic Language // Style in Language, 1966; Halliday МЛ.К. Linguistic Function and Literary Style, 1971.

21 On the problems of norm, see also: Скребнев Ю.М. Норма, нормативные реализации и

субъязыковая структура языка // Нормы реализации. Варьирование языковых средств. — Горький, 1980; Он же. Языковая и субъязыковая норма // Нормы реа­лизации. Варьирование языковых средств. — Горький, 1984.

22 On tolerance zones, see the author's paper " Языковая и субъязыковая норма"

(mentioned in the preceding note). See also: Он же. Некоторые лингвометодические вопросы использования данных коллоквиалистики // Теория и практика лингвистического описания разговорной речи. — Горький, 1989. С. 126-137.

23 On the problem of linguistic levels see: Уровни языка и их взаимодействие. Тезисы

докладов. - М., 1967.

24 See: Маслов Ю.С. Об основных и промежуточных ярусах в структуре языка // ВЯ,

1968, 4, с. 72.

25 See: Лингвистика текста. Материалы научной конференции. Ч. 1, 2. — М, 1974.



The subject matter of this part of the book is analysing and classing co-referential lingual units of all levels in various spheres of speech. The term 'co-referential' means " potentially or virtually used to denote the same 'referent', i.e. thing, phenomenon, process, quality, relationship, etc.". The discussion of level-forming units is followed by a description of stylistic phenomena in semasiology.

The review of phonetic, morphological, lexical, syntactic, and semantic paradigmatics of style-forming phenomena is by no means exhaustive; it is to be remembered, besides, that stylistic phonetics and morphology have as yet been researched much less thoroughly than stylistic lexicology, syntax, and semasiology.

We begin, as promised above, our review of the problems in succession.


Before starting the treatment of phonetics proper, a few observations concerning written and printed texts are necessary. The amount of what we read has, no doubt, essentially influenced the way modern man views language and speech. It has relegated to the background the primary and original form of language: oral speech. Hence, when we judge language, we often have in view its written representation. Printed texts do not only become an ideal standard of speech activity, but to a certain extent predetermine our linguistic judgement. One has to be a professional linguist to free oneself from the bondage of graphic images. Their importance is best seen in current phrases, such as to mispronounce half the alphabet. Indirect testimony to the importance of graphic images is frequent use of them in speech which is reflected in fiction. Look at a few instances of purely graphic metonymies and metaphors:

" He had a trick of... emphasizing 'They' as though the word stood in capitals in his dark mind". (E. Wallace)

" Diane managed to put the word 'man' into quotes so that it seemed, to pose a whole series of crude question marks" (N. Monsarrat)

" Well, there was probably a very simple explanation of Zaleshof's little 'prophesy' — mentally I put the word in inverted commas" (F. Clifford)

" Merchant's smile was as meaningless as an asterisk without a footnote". (E. McBain)

" It's his business to rescue troubled women. Right now he is working for me. The period on the end of her last sentence was the size of a baseball". (Idem)

Writing has made primarily audible speech fixed and visible, which helps man to discover in it certain properties that could not have been noticed in fleeting oral discourse. On the other hand, writing has, in a way, limited our capacity to evaluate phonetic properties of texts. Or­thography, especially in languages like English, practically does not re­produce phonetic peculiarities of speech, except in cases when writers resort to 'graphons', i.e. unusual, non-standard spelling of words, show­ing either deviations from Standard English or some peculiarity in pro­nouncing words or phrases emphatically.

V.A. Kukharenko defines graphon as intentional violation of the spelling of a word (or word combination) used to reflect its authentic pronunciation. 1

Graphons are style forming, since they show deviations from the neutral (usual) way of pronouncing speech sounds and/or their combi­nations, as well as peculiar prosodic features of speech.

To begin with, purely individual mispronunciation of certain sounds is observed in the graphon th which stands for the letter s, thus showing the speech of those who have a lisp, as does Mr. Sleary, a personage of Hard Times by Charles Dickens:

" Thquire!... Your thervant! Thith ith a bad pieth of bithnith, thith ith..." (i.e. " Squire!.. Your servant! This is a bad piece of business, this is...").

Most spelling alterations, however, i.e. most graphons show features of territorial or social dialect of the speaker (and, ultimately, his social standing). In many cases, they show deviations from Standard English typical of whole groups of English speakers.

Highly typical in this respect is the reproduction, by many British writers, of cockney, the vernacular of the lower classes of the London population. One cockney feature is the famous 'dropping of H-s' (an inexact denomination, since 'h-s' are dropped only in graphons: what is

omitted in speech is not the letter h, but the sound [h]: 'ave (= have), 'at (= hat), 'is (= his), 'ope (= hope) and the like.

Here is a funny story of a cockney family trying to use correct English in their American visitor's presence:

" Father, " said one of the children at breakfast, " I want some more 'am, please." — " You mustn't say 'am, my child, the correct form of the word is 'am, " retorted his father, passing the plate with sliced ham on it. " But I did say 'am, " pleaded the boy. " No, you didn't: you said 'am instead of 'am." The mother turned to the guest, smiling: " Oh, don't mind them, sir, pray. They are both saying 'am and both think it is 'am they are saying."

Another well-known peculiarity of cockney English is the substitu­tion of the diphthong [ai] for the diphthong [ei]. The corresponding graphon is usually у in all positions where a, or ai, or ay should be.

This is how John Galsworthy reproduces the speech of one of the characters of The White Monkey (Tony Bicket):

" Is that my wife?... I see it is, from your fусе... I want the truth — I must 'ave it!... If that's 'er fyce there, then that's 'er body in the gallery — Aubrey Greene; it's the same nyme. What's it all mean? " His face had become almost formidable; his cockney accent very broad. " What gyme 'as she been plyin'? You gotta tell me before I go aht of here" (aht stands for out).

Characteristically, the change of the diphthong [ei] into [ai] occurs not only in the speech of uneducated Londoners: a very prominent statesman from Australia, interviewed at the Soviet TV, repeatedly said sy (= say) and Austrylia (= Australia).

As for American English, we shall have two quotations from what Mark Twain asserts is the Missouri Negro dialect (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).

" Ef you's got hairy arms en a hairy breas' it's a sign dat you's a-gwine to be rich. Well, dey's some use in a sign like dat, 'kase it's so fur ahead."

" You know dat one-laigged nigger dat b'longs to old Misto Bradish? Well he sot up a bank, en say anybody dat put in a dollar would git fo' dollars mo' at en'er de year... I was de on'y one dat had much..."

The tendency of turning the voiced th into d is not restricted to the speech of the coloured population in the USA. One of the 'bell­boys', Hegglund by name (An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser), thus instructs Clyde Griffiths (the hero of the novel) how to behave, what to do, and where to get writing paper and pens if hotel guests want them:


" Off'n de key desk, I toldja. He's to de left over dere. He'll give 'em to ya. An' you gits ice-water in de hall we lined up in just a minute ago — at dat end over dere, see — you'll see a little door. You gotta give dat guy in dere a dime oncet in a while or he'll get sore."

It is not dialect features only, territorial and social, which are of importance for stylistics, but also variants of pronunciation (different representations of the same phoneme). The more prominent, the more foregrounding parts of utterances impart expressive force to what is said. A speaker may strengthen, emphasize, make more prominent the word when he, for instance, intensifies its initial consonant, which is shown in the graphon as doubling the letter: " N-no! " sounds more decisive, more emphatic than a mere " No! ".

Another way of intensifying a word or a phrase, making it more expressive, is scanning, i.e. uttering each syllable or, generally, part of a word as a phoneticaliy independent unit, in retarded tempo. The graphic means of showing this graphon is hyphenated spelling: " Im-pos-sible! ".

Often a word or a word-group is emphatically stressed by the speaker without retardation of the tempo of speech and without dividing it into the syllables. This part of the utterance is specially modulated (changing volume and pitch: rise-fall in monosyllabic and disyllabic words and, possibly, rise-fall-rise in polysyllables). The corresponding graphons in print are italics or capitalization:

She was simply beautiful, (italics) I'll NEVER see him again, (capitalization)

Curious instances of combinations of graphic means can be found in one of I.I. Turansky's books on intensification in English: 2

" His wife, " I said. " W-I-F-E. Homebody. Helpmate. Didn't he tell yon? " (Myrer)

" Appeeeee Noooooyeeeeeerrr! " (Idem)

Here, the reader may not at once perceive that the outcry is the well-known formula: Happy New Year!

For more examples and a more detailed treatment of graphons see the above-cited book by V.A. Kukharenko.

On the whole we must say that it is only oral speech (i.e. speech proper) that can be heard, tape-recorded, and the results of multiple hearing analysed and summarized. The graphic picture of actual speech — written or printed text gives us limited opportunities for judging its phonemic and prosodic aspects.

An essential problem of stylistic possibilities of the choice between options is presented by co-existence in everyday usage of varying forms of the same word and by variability of stress within the limits of the

'Standard', or 'Received Pronunciation'. The words missile, direct and a number of others are pronounced either with a diphthong or a monophthong. The word negotiation has either [J] or [s] for the first t. The word laboratory was pronounced a few decades ago with varying stress (nowadays the stress upon the second syllable seems preferable in Great Britain; Americans usually stress the first). The word phthisis ('tuberculosis') had six varieties of pronunciation: ['fOaisis], ['f0aisis], ['fOisis], ['Oisis], and ['taisis], ['tisis]. Modern dictionaries give only two varieties: ['fOaisis] and ['Oaisis].

It would be wrong to assume that the phonetic variability of certain words is of no interest in stylistic analysis. Every language user prefers only one of the possible variants; all the others appear to him to be alien, that is, either incorrect and low or, on the contrary, pedantically overcorrect, and, hence, unacceptable. No individual judgement con­cerning the stylistic value of linguistic units can be objective to the end. The learner is bidden to recall our discourse on the tolerance zones of sublanguages (see above).

A very important sense-discriminating and style-forming function is performed by prosodic features, by suprasegmental characteristics of text or single utterance: stress, emphatic stress, tones, melody — intonation in general. Melodic variants theoretically constitute a paradigm of intona­tion, only it must be admitted here, the continual character of differences, the impossibility of finding exact borderlines between shades of intonation, shades imparting additional meanings to utterances — all this hinders the researcher from establishing a finite number of melodic classes. Intonation, as well as some specific variation in articulation of vowels and consonants (in concordance with such paralinguistic means as gesticulation and facial expression) enable the speaker to convey in­numerable additional meanings, to imply what the words employed do not say by themselves. All of us possess this capacity with regard to our native tongue. The capability of displaying non-verbal implications achieves its peak in professional actors. They say that once in the twenties, the world-famous Russian singer Fiodor Chaliapin, who was also a great actor of the opera stage, was crossing the Channel on board a ship. An Englishman accosted him and went on talking, not being aware that Chaliapin understood and was able to pronounce only one English word: 'Yes'. Chaliapin repeated this word (with numberless implications, of course) in answer to the Englishman's nearly incessant chatter. After a few minutes of this kind of 'conversation' the Englishman joined his fellow-countrymen, praising his chance interlocutor to the skies as a gentleman of profound knowledge and highly original ideas! No matter what this story is worth, a mere legend or fact, it shows the immense importance of intonation in oral communication. As for professional

actors' ability to convey complicated meanings by tone of voice and by facial expression, it should be remarked here that their ability would be superfluous, lost altogether if spectators at large were unable to understand, to interpret the message expressed extraverbally.

Another problem to be discussed in the section on phonetics of units is aesthetic evaluation of sounds (and of sound combinations or sound clusters) viewed not as sequences, but as units.

The connection between contents and form is by no means confined in phonetics to the sense-differentiating function of phonemes. The sounds themselves, though they have no extralingual meaning, possess (or seem to possess) a kind of expressive meaning and, hence, stylistic value.

As early as the eighteenth century Alexander Pope, a renowned poet of the epoch, wrote: " Soft is the sound when zephyr gently blows", but when a tempest is depicted, " The hoarse rough sound should like the torrent roar". On the whole, as Pope proclaimed, " The sound must seem an echo to the sense". Even nowadays, attempts to tie up sound and sense are made. S. Voronin, for one, a scholar of St. Petersburg, claims " symbolic relevance of sound for naming objects", or, if we call a spade a spade, he means to have found a more or less direct connection between the meaning of the word and its form. Moreover, meaning in this case is primary and the form, secondary: meaning predetermines form; the connection between form and meaning is not 'arbitrary' (as Ferdinand de Saussure presumed), not socially conventional, but seems to have, according to the ideas of Voronin's 'phonosemantics', certain natural, inherent foundations.3

These ideas remind one of numerous attempts in the past to evaluate national language taken as a whole. Our great scholar and scientist M.V. Lomonosov in his appraisal of Russian said that it suits every purpose, while other European languages are especially fit for one pur­pose each. Lomonosov made reference to the opinion of Charles V, who, allegedly, said he would address God in Spanish, his mistress in Italian; English was good for talking to birds, German, for giving commands to a horse.4 Of course, when Lomonosov wrote that Charles could have found in Russian the splendour of Spanish, the tenderness of Italian, and the vigour of German, he never took into account the fact that Russian was his (Lomonosov's) mother tongue!

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