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Figures of Quality 3 страница

There is blood on the earth that denies ye bread; Be your wounds like eyes

To weep for the dead, the dead, the dead. (Shelley)

The first line manifests iambic trimeter, the second consists of three dactylic feet plus one iambic foot. Each of the two subsequent lines has metric peculiarities of its own. Free verse, I.R. Galperin says, is characterized by: 1) a combination of different metrical feet in the line; 2) absence of equilinearity and 3) stanzas (see below) of varying length.3

Even strictly classical metres admit of certain variations in stress. Certain stresses are neglected in scanning, but distinctly felt in normal reading.


In other cases, on the contrary, the scanning stresses certain syllables which are unstressed in normal reading.

Loss of stress in a disyllabic foot makes it completely unstressed: u u. It is called the 'Pyrrhic foot' (from a proper name). The above-quoted stanza of Percy Bysshe Shelley (Men of England, wherefore plough...) has two Pyrrhic feet in the second and the fourth lines: For the lords who lay ye low... The rich robes your tyrants wear...

Scanning shows four stresses here:



In normal reading there are only three stresses, the first foot consisting of two unstressed syllables:


There are also cases of superfluous stresses: a disyllabic foot consists then of two stressed syllables instead of one stressed and one unstressed (/ /). A famous poem by Robert Burns written in iambic tetrameter begins with a line in which the first syllable must be stressed: Who's there for honest poverty...

Scanning: u' u 'u 'u'

Actual reading: " u'u'uu

A foot consisting of two stressed syllables is called a 'spondee'.

Accented verse. This is a type of verse in which only the number of stresses in a line is taken into account. The number of syllables and the type of the feet is irrelevant. Classical English verse (like classical Russian verse) is 'syllabo-tonic' (i.e. one in which both syllables and stresses, or 'tones' are accounted for). Accented verse is only 'tonic'. Here is an example in which every line has three stresses, and the feet vary from spondee to anapaest and iambus:

Work! Work! Work!

While the cock is crowing aloof!

And work — work — work —

Till the stars shine through the roof! (Hood)

Finally, there are poets who reject both metrical patterns and rhyme. When written or printed, their poems resemble regular verse only because of the shortness of the lines.

Beat! beat! drums! — blow! bugles! blow! Through the windows — through doors — burst

like a ruthless force,

Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation: Into the school where the scholar is studying;

Leave not the bridegroom quiet — no happiness must he have now with his bride;

Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field

or gathering his grain,

So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums — so shrill

you bugles blow. (Whitman)

I.E. Galperm writes: " This type of poetry can hardly be called verse from a purely structural point of view... It has become what is sometimes called poetic prose." (idem)

Rhyme. This is the second feature (after rhythm) distinguishing verse from prose. The term denotes a complete (or almost complete) coincidence of acoustic impressions produced by stressed syllables (often together with surrounding unstressed ones). As a rule, such syllables do not immediately follow each other: they mostly recur at the very end of verse lines.

Types of Rhyme

1. Rhymes in words ending with a stressed syllable (i.e. monosyllabic
rhymes) are called male (masculine, or single) rhymes:

dreams — streams

obey - away understand — hand

2. Rhymes in words (or word combinations) with the last syllable
unstressed are female (feminine, or double) rhymes:

duty - beauty

berry - merry

Bicket — kick it (Galsworthy)

Note. The terms 'male' and 'female' have nothing in common with grammatical gender or sex in English and Russian. They were coined in French where the ending and the stress in certain adjectives differ in accordance with their gender.

3. Rhymes in which the stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed
ones are 'dactylic' rhymes (in English, they are preferably called 'triple',
or 'treble' rhymes):

tenderly - slenderly battery — flattery

As a rule, it is single words that make a rhyme: stonealoneown; greypray (simple rhymes). Sometimes, however, a word rhymes with a word-group (compound rhymes). They are either feminine (bucketpluck it), or triple (dactylic): favouritesavour it.

According to the position of the rhyming lines, adjacent rhymes, crossing rhymes, and ring rhymes are distinguished. In descriptions, rhymes are usually replaced by letters of the Latin alphabet; every new rhyme being symbolized by a new letter: а, Ъ, с, d, etc. Adjacent: a abb; crossing: abab; ring: abba.


5 Зак. 169


The learner is expected to acquire some knowledge of certain features of traditional rhyming in the English poetry of past centuries.

One of them is the use of 'eye-rhymes' (or: 'rhymes for the eye'). Properly speaking, they are not rhymes: the endings are pronounced quite differently, but the spelling of the endings is identical or similar.

Thus Byron rhymes the words supply and memory: For us, even banquets fond regret supply In the red cup that crowns our memory.

In the well-known poem My Heart's in the Highlands by Robert Burns we encounter:

Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods, Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. The source of this tradition is to be searched for in the remote past when many of the modern homographs were also homophones. Nowadays they are merely accepted as rhymes: no one will mispronounce modern words for rhyme's sake.

It is worth noting, however, that numerous eye-rhymes have no historical grounds. Words that never sounded alike came to be used as eye-rhymes due to analogous force: homecome, Loverove, nowgrow, etc.

One should also take into account the dialect used by the writer (damewarm, riveinever were real rhymes f or R. Burns) or the time when the poem was written: for Chaucer, the words to pourlabour, havegrave, workclerk were perfect rhymes.

As mentioned above, rhymes usually occur in the final words of verse lines. Sometimes, though, the final word rhymes with a word inside the line ('inner', or 'internal' rhyme):

I am the daughter of earth and water... (Shelley) Rhymeless verse is called 'blank verse' ('белый стих' in Russian). It is mostly used by playwrights (see Shakespeare's tragedies); see also The Song of Hiawatha by H.W. Longfellow:

Should you ask me whence these stories, Whence these legends and traditions With the odor of the forest, With the dew and damp of meadows...

The structure of verse. The stanza. Two or more verse lines make a stanza (also called a 'strophe'). If the syllable is the shortest unit of prosody in general (i.e. prosody of both prose and verse), the foot is the smallest unit of metre in versification. The next unit is the line: it shows metrical pattern. Finally, the largest unit in verse is the stanza.

" Stanza is a verse segment composed of a number of lines haviag a definite measure and rhyming system which is repeated throughout the poem." (I.R. Galperin)

In what follows, a brief enumeration of stanzas typical of English poetry is preferred.

The ballad stanza. This variety is characteristic of folk ballads. The metre is the iambus, but it is not strictly kept to (dactylic and anapestic feet are also met with). The stanza consists of four lines. The first and the third have four feet each (tetrameter), the second and the fourth have three (trimeter). As a rule, only the second and the fourth lines rhyme; the first and the third do not.

Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone,

With a link a down a day,

And there he met a silly old woman

Was weeping on the way.

The heroic couplet. One of the oldest forms of English atrophies. The epithet 'heroic' implies the fact that this stanza was mostly employed in elevated genres. The word 'couplet' shows that it consists of two lines (cf. the word couple). The rhyming is aa, bb, cc, etc.» the metre, iambic pentameter. The first to employ it in England was Geoffrey Chaucer. See the beginning of his Canterbury Tales:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote

And bathed euery vein in swich licour

Of which vertu engendered is the floor...

The Spenserian stanza (introduced by Edmund Spenser in the six­teenth century). Nine lines, eight of them iambic pentameter, the ninth iambic hexameter. The rhyme pattern is: a b a b b с b с с.

Whilome in Albion's isle there dwelt a youth,

Who ne in virtue's ways did take delight;

But spent his days in riot most uncouth,

And vex'd with mirth the drowsy ear of Night,

Ah, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight,

Sore given to revel and ungodly glee;

Few earthly things found favour in his sight

Save concubines and carnal companie,

And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree. (Byron)

The ottava rima (from Latin octo, Italian otto, otta 'eight').A stanza consisting of eight lines, each of them iambic pentameter. The rhyming pattern is very strict: ab ab ab cc. This stanza came to England from Italy in the sixteenth century.





For illustration see stanza VIII of Don Juan by Lord Byron: In Seville was he born, a pleasant city, Famous for oranges and women — he Who has not seen it will be much to pity, So says the proverb — and I quite agree; Of all the Spanish towns is none so pretty Cadiz perhaps — but that you soon may see; — Don Juan's parents lived beside the river, A noble stream, and called the Guadalquivir.

Alexander Pushkin used the ottava rime («октава») in his humorous poem A Cottage in Kolomna:

Четырехстопный ямб мне надоел: Им пишет всякий. Мальчикам в забаву Пора б его оставить. Я хотел Давным-давно приняться за октаву. А в самом деле, я бы совладел С тройным созвучием. Пущусь на славу. Ведь рифмы запросто со мной живут: Две придут сами, третью приведут.

The sonnet (from the Italian sonetto). Properly speaking, it is not a part constituent of a longer poem: the sonnet is a stanza which at the same time is a complete poem in itself.

A sonnet is a verse of fourteen lines (iambic pentameter). The rhyming must be strictly observed. The classical pattern is as follows: two quatrains (i.e. four-line stanzas) with only two rhymes in both: abba abba. The two quatrains are followed by two tercets (i.e. three-line stanzas). The rhymes in the tercets are usually cdc ded. It is preferable to alternate female (a) and male (b) rhymes (alternation of male and female is also typical of the tercets).

But all these requirements and restrictions are hardly ever observed to the letter, especially by the English authors. Thus, the famous Shakespearian sonnets (154 in all) consist of 14 lines each, but the rhyming pattern is not observed; moreover, instead of two quatrains and two tercets, Shakespeare makes his sonnet of three quatrains (each with rhymes of its own) plus one couplet. See his Sonnet 130:

My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfume is there more delight


\ Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, — yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go, — My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she, belied with false compare.


1 Арнольд И.В. Стилистика современного английского языка. Стилистика декодиро-

вания. — Л., 1981. The second part of the title ('Stylistics of Decoding') implies teaching the reader to decode the writers' stylistic intentions.

2 See: Григорьев В.П. Поэтика слова. — M., 1979.

3 Galperin I.R. Stylistics. — M., 1971.


The stylistic value of types of co-occurring morphemes and mor­phological meanings has not yet been thoroughly investigated, although the importance of such research would be perfectly clear. The present chapter, therefore, contains only a few remarks showing the general di­rection of stylistic research.

The tense forms of the verb, for instance, could be studied to find out the way past actions are depicted in various types of narrative. The learner is expected to know from the course of elementary grammar the so-called 'historical present', i.e. the use of present-tense forms to express actions which took place in the past. But grammarians hardly ever mention the fact that the use of the 'historical present' (or 'praesens historicum') is considerably more typical of Russian than of English. In English, however, there are cases of linguistic incompetence of the speaker; present tense forms are used indiscriminately, along with those of the past tense, because the speaker does not feel any difference between the forms he came and he come. On the whole, present tense forms, being temporarily indefinite (" omnitemporal"), may be used instead of the past tense forms, i.e. may express past actions (not to speak of future actions, which are often expressed by present tense forms in any case).

As regards non-verbal (nominal or adjectival) forms, the general requirement of good taste is to abstain from repeating the same mor­phemes or the same parts of speech (except in cases when it is done on purpose for the sake of emphasis). Generally, it is advisable to avoid any superfluous repetition of forms or meanings. Thus, if an utterance

contains the inflectional genitive ('possessive case') Shakespeare's, the following utterance is to have a varying form of the same (or nearly the same) meaning: of Shakespeare. In a further utterance the same relation may be rendered by an adjectival form Shakespearian, and, finally, the speaker (writer) may have recourse to an attributive noun: Shakespeare plays.1 In this way the so-called 'elegant variation' is achieved.

Varying the morphological means of expressing grammatical notions is based, just as in the sphere of phonetics, upon the general rule: monotonous repetition of morphemes or frequent recurrence of mor­phological meanings expressed differently, is considered a stylistic fault (provided the repetition is not used on purpose).

Other problems of syntagmatic morphology concern cases when co­occurrence is not immediately felt by the producer and the recipient. But the general stylistic impression always depends on the morphological structure of the text, regardless of whether the co-occurrence of constituents is obvious and directly felt by language users, or whether this impression is accounted for as a result of special calculation. The prevalence in one text of certain morphological units (say, parts of speech), coupled with a lack of other units is often the result of special comparisons of text types.

Let us take as an example the morphological confrontation of col­loquial and bookish texts. It is a well-known fact that in the types mentioned, parts of speech are represented quite differently. According to the data obtained by many researchers, colloquial texts comprise much fewer nouns and adjectives than bookish texts do; at the same time, the colloquial sublanguage is very rich in pronouns, deictic words, and also words with a very broad range of meaning (thing, place, business, affair, fact, etc.).2

In colloquial speech, participial constructions are very rare (the so-called 'Nominative Absolute' is practically never used). At the same time, emphatic particles and interjections are very widely employed in everyday intercourse (just, even, simply; oh, eh, now then, etc.).


1 A comparative study of the four varieties was undertaken by Ch.Y. Latypov. See:

Латыпов Ч.Ю. Атрибутивные словосочетания с номинативными компонента­ми в современном английском языке: Автореф. дисс... канд. филол. наук. — М., 1968.

2 Кудрявцева Н.П. Широкозначная субстантивная лексика в английской разговорной

речи: Автореф. дисс... канд. филол. наук. — Одесса, 1988.




The subject of lexicology is known to be the vocabulary of language, and separate constituents of the vocabulary — words with their history. But if this is true, then the very problem of 'syntagmata' in lexicology is fallacious, and the term 'syntagmatic lexicology', a typical contradiction in terms.

On the other hand, since we know that lexicology deals with paradigmatic relations between words (by comparing vocabulary units with one another), there are reasons to include in lexicology the in­terrelations between words arranged syntagmatically. This seems the more reasonable as the problem 'Word and Context' is admittedly a lexicological one.

For lexicology of sequences the 'word-and-context' problem presents a number of stylistic problems — especially those connected with co-oc­currence of words of various stylistic colourings.

Results effected by collisions of stylistically different words in the text are varied and unpredictable. To find some regularity in them, we are bound to analyse every case as an individual linguistic event, taking into account the whole of its cultural and historical background. In the present chapter, however, we shall discuss only the most general obser­vations, perhaps even axiomatic ones.

Demonstrating the laws of interaction of co-occurring lexical units, we must take good care to maintain the purity of our stylistic experi­ment: the material analysed should be secure from any external influ­ence of the context. Hence we must take an utterance and, repeating it, replace every time only one word in a certain position by some other word. Let us vary the direct object of the sentence We have met this man before.

1. We have met this individual before.

2. We have met this person before.

3. We have met this chap before.

4. We have met this guy before.

It is obvious that the four varieties differ stylistically from one an­other. The first is so elevated that it is even sarcastic. The second is official-sounding. Both are higher than neutral. The third has a tinge of familiarity about it. The fourth is the lowest of all.

It may be stated that a stylistically coloured word imparts its colouring to the whole of the utterance. The words individual, person, chap, guy surrounded by neutral words (We have met this... before) do not lose any of their stylistic qualities. On the contrary, they dominate their surroundings. Examples 1, 2 are superneutral, 3 and 4, sub-neutral.


Yet it would be wrong to conclude that a specific word imparts its own colouring to the neutral words which precede and follow it. The words we, have, met, this, before are neutral. Their stylistic assimilation by the " strong" word is an illusion: only the utterance as a whole acquires the colouring of this word. The influence of an element upon the general stylistic value of the whole is often called 'stylistic irradiation', by analogy with a physiological phenomenon when pain is felt not only in the affected organ, but elsewhere as well.

It is worth mentioning that the effect of irradiation occurs not only in the sphere of words: we can observe this effect everywhere — a single dialectal feature in pronunciation betrays the speaker, discredits his phonetic system, making it substandard; a single metaphor may colour the whole of a paragraph, making it seem imaginative, and so on.

Thus we have established that a stylistically coloured ('specific') word in neutral surroundings is the strong, prevailing element of the utterance, its stylistic dominant.

More complicated are cases when the surroundings comprise another non-neutral word (other non-neutral words). The general rule, then, needs certain restrictions, and might read: a stylistically 'coloured' element dominates over the surroundings, provided they cannot offer another stylistic quality inconsistent with that element. A collision of incompatible elements leads to stylistic conflict. A mixture of styles brings about a humorous effect: co-occurrence of 'heterostylistic' words testifies to the linguistic incompetence of the speaker. Writers imitate the stylistic helplessness of their characters, especially their imaginary narrators.

O. Henry's famous couple of 'unillegal grafters', Jefferson Peters and Andrew Tucker, nearly always use a mixture of elevated words with non-literary lexical units or incorrect grammatical forms:

" 'Overlooking such a trivial little peccadillo as the habit of manslaughter, ' says I, 'what have you accomplished... that you could point to... as an evidence of your qualification for the position? '

" 'Why, ' says he, in his kind of Southern system of procrasti­nated accents, 'hain't you heard tell? There ain't any man, black or white... that can tote off a shoat [= carry away, steal a pig] as easy as I can without bein' heard, seen or cotched [= caught]... Some day... I hope to become reckernized [= recognized] as the champion shoat-stealer of the world.'"

Sometimes these two characters in their zeal for bookish expressions, confuse the words they mean with their paronyms, which makes their pretence all the more ridiculous:

" 'Jeff, ' says Andy after a long time, 'quite unseldom I have seen fit to impugn your molars when you have been chewing the rag with me about your conscientious way of doing business...'" Andy means to say he intended to criticize ('impugn') his friend's morals, but mispronounces the word, saying molars [= back teeth serving to grind, or simply, grinders].

Another character claims he is " stating a hypodermical case", instead

of 'a hypothetical case' [hypodermic means 'introduced beneath the skin'].

Of special stylistic significance is the use of foreign words to show

incomplete mastery of the language. We need not go far searching for

examples: a volume of short stories by О. Henry will provide us with nearly

everything we want. In the world-famous story The Last Leaf old Behrman

uses German words and pronounces English ones in the German manner:

" Vass! " he cried. " Is dere people in de world mit der foolishness

to die because leafs dey drop off from a confounded vine?..."

Macaronic verses are those in which two or more languages in­termingle. See, for example, Byron's description of a door in the last canto of Don Juan (canto = 'song', 'chapter'):

It opened with a most infernal creak, Like that of hell. " Lasciate ogni speranza Voi che entrate! " The hinge seemed to speak, Dreadful as Dante's rhima, or this stanza... (The Italian quotation means: " Leave behind every hope you who enter! ")

On the previous page one can see a French phrase characterizing scantiness of the hero's attire:

Completely sans culotte and without vest; In short, he hardly could be clothed with less... (The French phrase sans culotte means here, to put it euphemistically, 'without nether garments'.)

In the first canto of the poem we come across a stanza in which a Latin expression is subsequently translated into French, and the reason for using the Latin phrase is explained:

And if in the mean time her husband died,

Never could she survive that common loss;

But just suppose that moment should betide,

I only say suppose it — inter nos.

(This should be entre nous, for Julia thought

in French, but then the rhyme would go for nought.)

(inter nos = entre nous = 'between you and me'.)



Unintentional lexical mixtures of all kinds result in stylistic conflicts: violations of rules produce a ludicrous effect.

Also stylistically important is lexical recurrence (reappearance of the same word in the text).

V. V. Vinogradov and I.R. Galperin single out a special variety of lexical recurrence: the so-called 'root repetition', or 'sham tautology'. It consists in using attributes of the same root with their head-words. The latter thus gets its primary sense strengthened. I.R. Galperin's examples are: To live again in the youth of the young; the dodgerest of all the dodges; a brutish brute.

Similar examples are met with in set phrases, such as to out-Herod Herod (to surpass in cruelty the biblical king who on hearing the prophecy of Jesus Christ's prospective birth, ordered that all newborn babes be killed).

A variety of root repetition is the recurrence of the same noun in different case forms, or, as regards English (with practically no case forms in nouns), in varying case-like syntactic positions: They always disliked their neighbour, their neighbour's noisy company, the very sight of their neighbour, in fact. The phenomenon is known in stylistics as 'polyptoton'. The term, as the phenomenon itself, is better known in stylistic descriptions of inflectional languages.

Lexical repetition, i.e. recurrence of a word for the sake of emphasis, can be treated (as has already been done) in the chapter on paradigmatic syntax: as a redundancy of syntactical elements (mostly of homogeneous parts of the. sentence). On the other hand, repetition of a word is co­occurrence of identical lexical units. Our classification theory might be firmer and more precise if we said that paradigmatic syntax includes only a purely syntactical redundancy of elements: for instance, several predicates (instead of one), several attributes (instead of one), and so forth.

Thus the sentence A tall, snub-nosed, fair-haired woman stood at the gate would be an example of redundance of syntactical elements and should, therefore, be treated in paradigmatic syntax, whereas instances like He thought and thought and thought it over and over and over, though they also comprise several syntactically homogeneous elements, should be treated in the present chapter, as demonstrating lexical repetition (i.e. reappearance of the same lexical unit).

Repetition as an expressive device, as a means of emphasis, should be differentiated from cases of chance recurrence of the same word in unprepared, confused, or stuttering colloquial speech: " I —I —I never — never met her there."

Lexical repetition as a means of emphasis must be further distin­guished from reappearance of a word at some distance which, however, is

short enough for this recurrence to be noticeable. Its purpose is not to emphasize the idea, but merely to remind one of its importance to the discourse.

It is common knowledge that the insistent use of the same word throughout a text, if it is not done on purpose, betrays the stylistic in­adequacy of the writer (speaker), who cannot replace it by a synonym (see further chapter on syntagmatic semasiology) or change the construction altogether.

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