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Stylistics of Units,or Paradigmatic Stylistics Stylistics of Sequences,or Syntagmatic Stylistics 6 страница

Structural and material redundance within the simple sentence (but the same is true with regard to the complex or compound sentence) occurs, first of all, in the increased number of elements used.

Types of syntactical redundance viewed paradigmatically. A

paradigmatic approach presupposes comparing units of the same rank. If our unit is a sentence, we may compare neutral varieties (in which there are no redundant elements) with others, in which additional, superfluous elements (words) can be found.

It must be borne in mind that all superfluous elements have a stylistic feature in common: additional words and more complicated construction aim at emphasizing the thought (or part of the thought) expressed.

Repetition is purely syntactical whenever what is repeated is not a word, but an abstract syntactical position only. This is observed in any sentence comprising two or more homogeneous parts (as compared with one in which there are no homogeneous parts). Compare The people were running and Men, women, children were running. The second sentence is not only different from the first semantically: the idea of totality of flight isexpressed in the second more emphatically.

Repetition may concern not only the syntactical positions (parts of the sentence), but the meanings of recurrent parts as well. If the homogeneous parts are synonyms, we observe 'synonymic repetition':

" Joe was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish dear fellow." (Dickens)

The problem of synonymic repetition is partly a problem of paradigmatic syntax, and yet its centre of gravity lies in the sphere of syntagmatic onomasiology (see below, Part II, where the example quoted here will be analysed from a different point of view).

Finally, repetition proper is recurrence of the same element (word or phrase) within the sentence. This kind of repetition is the most recognizable of the three; its obvious purpose is visible intensification.

To be sure, repetition (with its numerous varieties) is not confined to one sentence, but recurrence of words in neighbouring sentences or even recurrence of whole sentences do not pertain to paradigmatic syntax, and therefore will be treated below (see the chapter on syntagmatic syntax). Examples of repetition are abundant in colloquial speech, as well as in poetry, imaginative prose, and emotional public speeches. On the contrary, such repetition hardly ever occurs in scientific, technological or legal texts (by 'legal texts' only official documents are meant: official speeches in court, both prosecution and defence, are not samples of business-like legal prose — they often appeal to the feelings of the jury more than to their logic and sense of duty, thus being examples of oratorical art, rich in stylistic devices, repetition included).

Repetition within phrases (parts of the sentence) typical of colloquial speech, concerns mostly qualifying words, adverbs and adjectives: very, very good; for ever and ever; a little, little girl, etc. Examples:

" They both looked hard, tough and ruthless, and they both looked very, very lethal." (Chase)

" Yeah, uh, you've been busy busy busy, haven't you." (Pendelton)

Repetition within sentences. Two instances from nineteenth century poetry:

Oh, the dreary, dreary moorland!

Oh, the barren, barren shore! (Tennyson)

Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Bright and yellow, hard and cold, Molten, graven, hammer'd and roll'd, Heavy to get and light to hold. (Hood) Two further examples:

" He ate and drank, for he was exhausted — but he little knew or cared what; and he wandered about in the chill rain, thinking and thinking, and brooding and brooding." (Dickens)

" Scrooge went to bed again, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over and over." (Dickens)

The element (or elements) repeated attracts the reader's (hearer's) attention as being the most important; in a way it imparts additional sense to the whole of the utterance. Compare, for instance, a mere statement Scrooge went to bed and thought it over with the above example, in which the repetition emphatically underlines intensity and duration of the process: Scrooge thought laboriously; he was plunged into intensive and continuous thinking... The nominative sentence Goldl barely states the existence of this precious metal; being repeated four times (see above), it proclaims the all-penetrating power of gold.



Prolepsis, or syntactic tautology. The term implies recurrence of the noun subject in the form of the corresponding personal pronoun. The stylistic function of this construction is topicalization (communicative emphasis) of the 'theme'. The noun subject separated from the rest of the sentence by the unstressed pronominal subject comes to be detached from the sentence — made more prominent, more 'rheme-like':

" Miss Tillie Webster, she slept forty days and nights without waking up." (O. Henry)

The use of the redundant pronominal subject is a typical feature of popular speech (the term 'popular speech' usually stands for 'the speech of uneducated people'). Here is an example from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

" Well, Judge Thatcher, he took it [the money] and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round — more than a body could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglass, she took me for her son, and allowed she would civilize me..." (Twain)

Prolepsis is often met with in nursery rhymes and in folk ballads (or their imitations):

Jack Sprat's pig, He was not very little, He was not very big... Little Miss Muf f et She sat on a tuffet... Ellen Adair she loved me well,

Against her father's and mother's will... (Tennyson) The skipper he blew a whiff from his pipe And a scornful laugh laughed he. (Longfellow)

A phenomenon, grammatically opposite to prolepsis, but often confused with it, is the anticipatory use of personal pronouns: " Oh, it's a fine life, the life of the gutter." (Shaw) " She has developed power, this woman — this — wife of his! " (Galsworthy)

As can be seen, it is not only the pronoun it that performs the anticipatory function (contrary to what is taught in practical gram­mars).4

The stylistic function of anticipatory constructions under discussion is emphasis of the 'rheme' (the part predicated): its semantic weight, its informative force is thus enhanced. Compare the examples adduced with possible non-emphatic counterparts: Oh, the life of the gutter is a fine life. This womanthis wife of hishas developed power!

Tautology in appended statements. The term 'appended statement' used by some English grammarians5 denotes repetition of the sentence in a very general manner. To be more exact, what is additionally said (or 'appended', 'attached') is not the preceding sentence, but only the abstract scheme of it. An appended statement consists of two elements: the pronominal subject and an auxiliary or modal verb representing the predicate of the main sentence. Appended statements are always intensifiers, just as any other kind of repetition:

" I washed my hands and face afore I come, I did... I know what the like of you are, I do." (Shaw)

Grammarians usually condemn the use of appended statements as a typical feature of 'popular speech' (see above), but they may not be so low: they are more like signs of unrestrained emotion. We can class them under affected colloquial speech, which opinion can be substantiated by a quotation from a famous book. This is what a respectable middle-class young man says to his fellow-traveller:

" You've made a nice mess, you have... You'd get a scaffolding pole entangled, you would..." (Jerome)

Note. It seems questionable whether the author of the present book has strictly adhered to his intention of distinguishing between paradigmatic syntax and syntagmatic syntax, and treating them in separate chapters, and even in two separate parts of the book. The fact is that a sentence plus an appended statement must be regarded, from the point of view of grammar, as two semi-dependent syntactical units, one sentence following the other. Hence, we seem to have two units instead of one. Syntactically, this is perfectly true, but if we recall that paradigmatic approach to linguistic material always implies choice from the possible varieties, we shall admit: the problem of expressing a thought by means of one sentence or by two sentences remains in the domain of paradigmatic syntax.

Emphasizing the rheme of the utterance. What is meant here is a well-known to every student of English syntactical device of turning a simple.sentence into a complex one. The part of the simple sentence to be emphasized (its subject, object or adverbial modifier) is made the predicative of the principal clause (which begins with the pronoun it and is followed by the link-verb to beis or was); the rest of the original simple.sentence is made an appositive subordinate clause introduced by the conjunction that. Thus, in order to make the adverbial modifier on Friday (in We met him on Friday) emphatic, the speaker transforms the simple sentence into the complex sentence: It was on Friday that we met him.

Two more examples to show that the reader is familiar with the construction:

" It was the English, " Kaspar cried,

" That put the French to rout..." (Southey)

" It was a country cousin that Harris took in." (Jerome)


Polysyndeton. The term, as opposed to 'asyndeton' means excessive use (repetition) of conjunctions — the conjunction and in most cases. Here, again, the reader must recall that the term 'unit' does not neces-sarilymean 'sentence'. Indeed, conjunctions may connect separate words, parts of a sentence (phrases), clauses, simple and composite sentences, and even more prolonged segments of text. Again, the problem of paradigmatic choice arises: to repeat conjunctions or abstain from using them altogether.

Polysyndeton is stylistically heterogeneous — no less so, in fact, than, for instance, ellipsis; and certainly more varied than repetition.

Thus, in poetry and fiction, the repetition of and either underlines the simultaneity of actions, or close connection of properties enumerated. A classical example of polysyndeton of this kind is the famous poem by Robert Southey. A few lines will suffice:

Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing, Recoiling, turmoiling, and toiling, and boiling, And thumping, and plumping, and bumping, and jumping, And dashing, and flashing, and splashing, and clashing; And so never ending, and always descending... And in this way the water comes down at Lodore. Here is the description of a girl by a writer, whose obvious predilection is the frequent use of this conjunction throughout the novel:

" She was smartly dressed... And her cheeks and lips were rouged a little. And her eyes sparkled. And as usual she gave herself the airs of one very well content with herself." (Dreiser) Not infrequently, polysyndeton promotes a high-flown tonality of narrative, as in the following case:

" And only one thing really troubled him sitting there — the melancholy craving in his heart — because the sun was like enchantment on his face and on the clouds and on the golden birch leaves, and the wind's rustle was so gentle, and the yew-tree green so dark, and the sickle of a moon pale in the sky." (Galsworthy)

The elevated tonality of polysyndeton is very probably explained by associations with the style of the Bible, in which nearly every sentence, or at least almost every paragraph begins with and. Cf.:

" And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it." (Matthew VII)

On the other hand, excessive use of the conjunction and often betrays the poverty of the speaker's syntax, showing the primitiveness of the character — just as is the case with the Russian conjunction a (in the

Russian biblical text, the conjunction и is used; in English, and combines

the features of both и and a).

" I always been a good girl; and I never offered to say a word to him; and I don't owe him nothing; and I don't care; and I won't be put upon; and I have my feelings the same as anyone else." (Shaw)

2. Change of word-order (inversion). English, as opposed to Russian (or Latin), is characterized by fixed order of words. This does not mean that changes of word-order are impossible in English. This means, however, that every relocation of sentence parts in English is of greater importance, of a more significant stylistic value than in Russian.

Every noticeable change in word-order is called 'inversion'. It is im­portant to draw a line of demarcation between 'grammatical inversion' and 'stylistic inversion'.

Grammatical inversion is that which brings about a cardinal change in the grammatical meaning of the syntactical structure. So, whenever we change the word-order to transform a declarative sentence into in­terrogative, the result is grammatical inversion: You are here—> Are you here?; He has come —> Has he cornel

Stylistic inversion does not change the grammatical essence (the grammatical type) of the sentence: it consists in an unusual arrangement of words for the purpose of making one of them more conspicuous, more important, more emphatic. Compare the sentence They slid down with its variant Down they slid. There is no grammatical change, but the word down sounds very strong in the second sentence. The same is obvious in the following examples:

Down came the storm, and smote again

The vessel in its strength... (Longfellow)

In she plunged boldly,

No matter how coldly

The rough river ran... (Hood)

The unusual first place in the sentence may be occupied by a predicative:

" Inexplicable was the astonishment of the little party when they returned to find out that Mr. Pickwick had disappeared." (Dickens)

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

A sight so touching in its majesty... (Wordsworth) Occasionally, the first place is occupied by a simple verbal predicate. Here are two examples from Jack London:

" Came a day when he dragged himself into the Enquirer alley, and there was no Cheese-Face."

" Came frightful days of snow and rain. He did not know when he made camp, when he broke camp..."


Not infrequently, an adverbial modifier comes to the foreground, although its usual place is not at the beginning of the utterance. This variety of inversion may be either a special stylistic device employed for emphasis (in imaginative prose, where it performs an expressive function), or a natural outcome of the speaker's desire to mention the circumstances first, and to explain what (or whom) he means after­wards.

Both varieties were met with in the same book:

" And doggedly along by the railings of the Grand Park towards his father's house, he went trying to tread on his shadow..." (Galsworthy)

" Over by St Paul he stands and there is no money in it..." (Galsworthy)

The same can be stated with reference to the direct object. We find a purposeful inversion (placing modifiers at the beginning) in the author's speech (1) and in colloquial utterances (2):

1. " But Johnsie he smote, and she lay, scarcely moving in her
painted iron bedstead." (O. Henry)

2. " Yes, sir, that you can." (Pendelton)

In poetry, there is a tendency to place an adjectival attribute after the modified word:

Have ye souls in heaven too


Double-lived in regions new? (Keats)

Nothing in the world is single;


All things by a law divine

In one another's being mingle

Why not I with thine? (Byron)

He had moccassins enchanted,

Magic moccassins of deer-skin... (Longfellow) The sphere in which all sorts of inversion can be found is colloquial speech. Here it is not so much a stylistic device as the result of spontaneity of speech and informal character of the latter. The speaker has no time for constructing a regular neutral sentence with the usual word-order: he utters first the word or the word-group which expresses the main idea, and after that he replenishes the missing elements of the sentence. To put it another way, the initial position in a colloquial utterance is often occupied by the rheme, or the core of the rheme. A few illustrations from Agatha Christie's books:

" Rolling in money, the Carpenters were."

" A piece of sheer bad luck that was." \

" Very true those words are, sir."

" Been an athlete all his life, he had."

A well-known syntactical pattern, used not only in careless colloquial speech, but in oral speech generally is the structure with a rhematic noun or adjective (more often a nominal or an adjectival group) in the initial position followed by a thematic noun (or pronoun):

" Marvellous beast, a fox! " (Galsworthy)

" Quite a sporty, fair and forty, that." (Galsworthy)

" First-rate head, Elderson." (Galsworthy)

" It was useless. A pity that." (McBain)

" A master touch that, I thought." (Christie)

Inverted word-order and unexpected changes in syntactic form are characteristic features of popular speech. In the next two short extracts the reader will not fail to feel the intellectual deficiency or at least a very primitive mentality underlying the old wives' lamentations:

" Very unpleasant it's been, " she went on. " Having poor auntie murdered and the police and all that..." (Christie)

" Said from the start I have that he didn't do it. A regular nice young gentleman. A lot of chuckle-heads the police are, and so I've said before now. Some thieving tramp is a great deal more likely. Now don't ее fret, my dear, it'll all come right, you see if it don't." (Christie)

3. Revaluation of syntactical meanings. Grammatical meanings, similar to notional meanings (which will be treated in the next chapter), can be 'shifted', i.e. used figuratively. In other words, grammatical forms (in our case syntactical) are sometimes used not in their original sphere — they perform a function which is not theirs originally.

To illustrate this, we can analyse the interrelations of such well-known concepts characterizing the sentence, as 'affirmation', 'negation', 'interrogation', 'exhortation' (i.e. order or request). It turns out that the corresponding sentence forms are interchangeable: in various circum-stances, affirmative, negative, interrogative and imperative sentences may replace one another, fulfilling the same (or nearly the same) commu­nicative intention. It goes without saying that all such functional 'deviations' are stylistically relevant.

Quasi-affirmative sentences. This provisional term denotes a certain variety of rhetorical question, namely those with a negative predicate. The implication of such a negative question is an affirmative statement:

'Isn't that too bad? ' = 'That is too bad.'

In Hearts and Crosses by O. Henry, one character exclaims, " Don't I remember! " (mark the punctuation). The implication is: " I do remember! ". The interrogative form makes the affirmative statement that is implied much stronger than it would be if expressed directly.


Quasi-negative sentences. Most of them are rhetorical questions with affirmative predicates:

" Did I say a word about the money? " (Shaw)

The implication is: " I did not say...".

Negative implication is typical not only of general questions, but of special questions as well:

" What's the good of a man behind a bit of glass?... What use is he there and what's the good of their banks? " (Jerome) Affective negation is also expressed in colloquial speech by a clause of unreal comparison beginning with as if and containing a predicate in the affirmative form:

" As if I ever stop thinking about the girl and her confounded vowels and consonants. I'm worn out thinking about her, and watching her lips and her teeth and her tongue..." (Shaw) Compare Russian sentences beginning with как будто бы. A very effective way (often resorted to in colloquial speech) of ex­pressing negation without using any negative particles or negative pro­nouns is ironical repetition of the interlocutor's utterance (or of its part): LADY BRITTOMART (pouting): Then go away. UNDERSHAFT (deprecatory): Go away! LADY BRITTOMART: Yes, go away. (Shaw)

" Shall you be back to dinner, sir? " — 'Dinner! ' muttered Soames and was gone." (Galsworthy)

Quasi-negative are also certain set expressions (cf. the Russian черт меня побери, черта с два and the like).

PICKERING (slowly): I think I know what you mean, Mrs. Higgins.

HIGGINS: Well, dash me if I do! (Shaw) " I've been expecting that from you, " he said. " The deuce you have! " thought Soames. (Galsworthy) ALICE: I know Brett is innocent. LANGDON: Innocent, like hell! (Gow and D'Usseau) " You take us for dirt under your feet, don't you? Catch you /taking liberties with a gentleman! " (Shaw)

Quasi-imperative sentences are those which express inducement (order or request) without the imperative form of the verb. Some of them do not name the required action, but only mention the object or a qualification of a self-evident action:

" Tea. For two. Out here." (Shaw)

" Here! Quick! "

Sometimes we observe sentences in which the adverb replaces the verb: " Off with youl"

Quasi-interrogative sentences are either imperative or declarative. Instead of asking How old are you? Where were you born? one may either command Fill in your age and birthplace or explain: Here you are to write down your age and birthplace.

To summarize, syntactical forms and meanings are interwoven and easily interchangeable. The task of stylistic analysis is to find out to what type of speech (and its sublanguage) the given construction belongs.

Types of Syntactic Connection Viewed Stylistically

Words, phrases, clauses, and sentences are connected with one another in speech. Words and phrases are mostly combined with their environment semantically, sometimes by means of auxiliary elements (prepositions and conjunctions). Clauses and independent sentences can be joined to one another asyndetically (in this case the connection is purely semantical); more often, conjunctions or other connectors are employed.

Stylistically relevant are changes in the type of connection between the aforementioned units.

Detachment. There are two types of relations between parts of the sentence directly opposed to each other. The first is the subject — predicate (or the theme — rheme) relation. To the second type belongs any other connection: that of an attribute to its head-word, of an object or an adverbial modifier to its predicate verb. Connections of the second type resemble one another: as distinct from the predicative connection which marks the act of communication, the other three serve the purpose of naming, not the purpose of sending new information to the listener (reader). Attributive, objective and adverbial word combinations perform virtually the same function in speech as do single words. This can be easily proved by comparing the following pairs of examples:

She was a beautiful woman. — She was a beauty. He spoke indistinctly. — He mumbled. We exchanged letters. — We corresponded.

Thus, we have established two polar types of syntactical relations within the sentence: the communicative type and the nominative type.

Between these two types, however, there is an intermediate type, effected by the 'detachment' of a secondary part of the sentence. De­tachment is specific phonetical treatment of a word or word-group: in­stead of the usual articulation when the word (phrase) is fused with its environment, the speaker makes a short pause before (and often after)


Compare John will come tomorrow with John will surely come tomorrow, John will certainly come tomorrow, John will come tomorrow, for sure, John will come tomorrow, I'm sure.

Modal words, phrases, and sentences of the second class are essential: they turn a positive statement into mere supposition (maybe, perhaps, probably, presumably, I suppose, I guess, etc.). Examples would be superfluous.

Parenthetic segments comprising additional information perform a number of stylistic functions.

One of the most important potentialities of such parentheses is the creation of the second plane, or background, to the narrative, or a mingling of 'voices' of different speech parties (cf. the metaphorical term introduced by M.M. Bakhtin: 'polyphony').

In the following extract one can see the feverish succession of thoughts in Clyde Griffiths' mind:

"... he was struck by the thought (what devil' s whisper? — what

evil hint of an evil spirit?) — supposing that he and Roberta — no,

say he and Sondra — (no, Sondra could swim so well, and so could

he) — he and Roberta were in a small boat somewhere and it should

capsize at the very time, say, of this dreadful complication which

was so harassing him? What an escape! What a relief from a gigantic

and by now really destroying problem! On the other hand — hold -

not so fast! — for could a man even think of such a solution in

connection with so difficult a problem as this without committing

a crime in his heart, really — a horrible, terrible crime? " (Dreiser)

In other cases, the parenthetic form of a statement makes it more

conspicuous, more important than it would be if it had the form of a

subordinate clause. The following example serves to illustrate it:

" The main entrance (he had never ventured to look beyond that) was a splendiferous combination of a glass and iron awning, coupled with a marble corridor lined with palms." (Dreiser) Compare the possible variety beyond which he had never ventured to look. It sounds like a casual, not very expressive remark made in passing. As distinct from subordinate clauses, parentheses are independent enough to function as exclamatory or interrogative segments of declara­tive sentences:

" Here is a long passage — what an enormous prospective I make of it! — leading from Peggoty's kitchen to the front door." (Dickens)

" That bit of gold meant food, life... power to go on writing and — who was to say? — maybe to write something that would bring in many pieces of gold." (London)




' See: Maltzev УЛ. Essays on English Stylistics. — Minsk, 1984.

* Ситнова НЛ. Эллипсис строевых (служебных) элементов в английской разговорной

речи: Автореф. дисс... канд. филол. наук. — Одесса, 1978. " Ситнова НЛ., idem.

4 See, for instance: Ganshina M., Vasilevskaya N. English Grammar. — M., 1962.

5 Kruisinga E. A Handbook of Present-Day English. English Accidence and Syntax. —

Groningen, 1932.

* For details see: Skrebnev Y.M. Parenthese und Absonderung // Zeitschrift fur Anglistik

und Amerikanistik. — Berlin, 1959, 1. S. 58-63.

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