Билеты 2

The concept of imagery. Tropes
Art is virtually based on imagery. An arisctic image is a unit of art and it serves to reflect the reality as the author perceives it. The artistic image is an artistic presentation of the general through the individual, of the abstract through the concrete and the sensuous. In verbal art imagery is embodied in words used in a figurative way to attain a higher artistic expressiveness. Words in figurative expressions connote, or acquire additional layers of meaning in a particular context.
So, the verbal image is a pen-picture of a thing, person or idea expressed in a figurative way, i.e. by words used in their contextual meaning.
Images – due to their frequent use – often become recognized symbols.
Linguistic figurativeness or linguistic imagery can be found in various lexical lingual means that are termed either tropes (Ancient Gk. tropos ‘to turn’), or – like in our course – lexical stylistic devices.
A literary trope is the figurative use of a word or a phrase that creates imagery.NB! Imagery can be created by lexical SD’s only.
The rest of stylistic devices (morphological and syntactical, phonetic, graphic) do not create imagery, but serve as intensifiers: they can add some logical, emotive, expressive information to the utterance.
The verbal image is described as a complex phenomenon, a double picture generated by linguistic means, which is based on the co-presence of two thoughts of different things active together:
the direct thought – the tenor (T).
the figurative thought – the vehicle (V).
E.g. She (T) is a bird of passage (V).
The tenor is the subject of thought, while the vehicle is the concept of a thing, person or an abstract notion with which the tenor is compared or identified.
As I.V. Arnold points out, the structure of a verbal image also includes: the ground of comparison (G) — the similar feature of Т and V; the relation (R) between Т and V; the type of identification/comparison or, simply, the type of a trope.
Images may be:
general (macroimages), e.g. ‘War and Peace’
individual (microimages), e.g. that great ocean of deep depression.
I.R. Galperin divides images into three categories:
visual, e.g. It was a feast of colour.
aural (acoustic), e.g. ding-dong
relational, e.g. a man of figures, a man of great dignity.
Graphical stylistic means
Graph means are stylistically relevant because they let the reader understand what in oral speech is rendered with the help of prosodic elements: stress, pitch, pauses, the lengthening and multiplying of some sounds. Usually, graphical means render the emotional colouring of speech. They include: - punctuation marks - typographic techniques - graphons.
Punctuation marks alongside their function of dividing sentences into syntactic units and texts into sentences, they also point out elements prominent emotionally like emotional pauses, irony and some others, reflect not only logical but, also, rhythmical-metodical organization of speech. Their aim is - to attract the attention of the reader and to foreground expressive, emotional, evaluative, functional-stylistic and aesthetic information. Several exclamation and interrogation marks used in close succession mean that that the text is emotionally charged. At the same time these marks may deviate from their traditional use of expressing delight, surprise. Accordingly, the interrogation mark at the end of a sentence may indicate a rhetorical question, which, in fact, is a statement. A dash may be used to mark emotional pauses which may indicate such feelings as embarrassment, uncertainty, nervousness. Suspension marks may also be used in similar cases. A full-stop and a comma are often used to indicate detachment, which makes a member of the sentence more accented. The main function of inverted commas is to mark the beginning and the end of a quotation.
Special typographic techniques are used to reflect the emphasis and emotion of live speech. They are:
• Italics (letters slope forwards to the right), look [sound] emphatic,
• Printing in capital letters - the first letter in a word or the whole word. It also serves as a graphical basis for the formation of such stylistic device as autononiasia:
• Spacing out h a s
• Multiplication the absuuurdent creature
• Hyphenation: c-r-e-a-t-u-r-e
• Bold type
The graphon is an associative stylistic device of the phono-graphical level which is realized through the distortion of spelling norms. The changes in spelling supply some additional information about the character's social, regional, and national characteristics, his cultural and educational level, his age and his physical and emotional stale. (“So he ish”)
the interior graphons (gotta, wonna, gimme, lemme)
contact graphons (reflecting changes at word junctions when words are blended into one. e.g. o 'town —of town.
Examples of graphons can be found, also in Cockney, in Northern dialect, in American English - Negro pronunciation.
Tropes: metaphor
Metaphor is any kind of figurative use in art. As a SD metaphor is an imaginative identification of one concept (Т) with another (V), or a hidden comparison of two objects with no real connection. It is a transfer by similarity resulting in the violation of normal correspondence between concepts and words. Function. Metaphors make descriptions concrete and vivid. Metaphors can be embodied in all the basic parts of speech – nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
Noun Metaphors. V.A. Maltzev isolated certain structural patterns of noun metaphors, depending on the type of identification of Т and V: Т is V: Love is a disease. Т turns into V: E.g. The fine autumn afternoon was turning into smoke and distant fading flame. Something makes Т into V: E.g. The rising sun made every cloud a bonfire. V replaces Т: E.g. Our lamp (life) is spent, its out.
Adjective, Adverb and Verb Metaphors.
In non-noun metaphors the vehicle is hidden and must be identified by properties or actions denoted by adjectives, adverbs and verbs. E.g. It was a fine romantic cigarette.
Metaphor has no formal limitations: it can be a word, a phrase, any part of a sentence, or a sentence as a whole.
Simple, sustained metaphors
Simple metaphors contain only one vehicle.
E.g. His life was a tragedy.
Sustained (extended) metaphors occur whenever one metaphorical statement, creating an image, is followed by another, containing a continuation, or logical development of the previous one.
E.g. His life was a tragedy written in the terms of knock-about farce. (Maugham)
Genuine, trite metaphors
According to the degree of originality:
Genuine (authentic, 'living'). They are original, full of imagery, and therefore are treated as SD’s proper. Trite (dead, traditional, stereotyped). They are fixed in dictionaries clichés with faded imagery. E.g. a foot of a mountain, a mouth of a river, a root of the quarrel. Having become standardised through overuse, metaphors may also exist as idioms (to add fuel to the fire/flames).
Metaphor is also a common lingual means of occasional denomination that provides us with a means of explaining the unknown in terms of the known. Similarity on which metaphorical renaming is based may concern any property of the thing meant. It may be colour, form, character of motion, speed, value or anything else that shows a resemblance.
Syntactical devices based on peculiar arrangement of the members of the sentence (inversion, detachment, parallelism, chiasmus, antithesis)
Stylistic inversion differs from grammatical inversion. Stylistic inversion does not change the grammatical essence of the sentence.
It consists in an unusual displacement of words in order to make one of them more important, more emphatic, to make a logical stress on it or to add some expressive and emotive colour. Inversion may be complete – when the predicate is displaced, partial – with the displacement of secondary members of the sentence. There are 5 most frequent structural types of inversion:the object is placed in pre-position, the attribute is placed after the word it modifies,the adverbial modifier is placed at the beginning, both the modifier and predicate stand before the subject.
Detachment is an attribution of greater significance to а secondary member of the sentence, usu. an attribute or an adverbial modifier. due to which it is formally separated from the word it syntactically depends on. The stylistic effect of detachment is strengthening, emphasizing the word (phrase) . Detachment produces a stronger effect and sounds more independent. In oral speech a detached unit is marked by prominent intonation which in writing is indicated by the use of such punctuation marks as commas, full stops or dashes.
A variant of detachment is parenthesis.
Parallelism is a repetition of identical or similar syntactical patterns in two or more successive units. – Complete/Incomplete(depends on identity)
Parallelism performs different functions.
It contributes to rhythmic and melodic unification of adjacent sentences. It also either helps to emphasize the repeated element, or to create a contrast.
Chiasmus (kaiezmes) is sometimes characterized as 'parallelism reversed': it is also based on the repetition of syntactical patterns, but it has a reversed or inverted order in one of the two utterances. E.g. He came in and out went she.
Like parallel constructions, chiasmus contributes to the rhythmical quality of the utterance.
Antithesis is a balanced two-step structure in which the antagonistic objects or ideas are presented by dictionary or contextual antonyms.
E.g. Youth is lovely, age is lonely. The purpose is to demonstrate the contradictory nature of the referent, to compare things through a contrast and to attribute rhythm to the utterance.
Syntactical devices based on peculiar arrangement of the members of the sentence (repetition, anadiplosis, enumeration, suspense, gradation)
Lexico-Syntactical Repetition is a regular recurrence of a lexical unit, sometimes in close succession. It can be viewed as an expressive means of the language used to make an emotional impact and intensify the feelings. Besides, it ascribes rhythm to the utterance; at times it shows the monotony or continuity of action. In lexico-syntactical repetitions, unlike in purely syntactical repetitions (parallelism or chiasmus) the recurrence of the same lexical units is quite obligatory. Compositionally lexico-syntactical repetition falls into:
1.Simple Repetition 2.Anaphora (a…, a…)
Function. Anaphoric recurrence strengthens the element that recurs, helps the reader (hearer) fix it in his memory. It also imparts a certain rhythmical regularity to the syntactical units in question.
3. Epiphora (… a, … a) 4. Framing (a …a)
Function: Framing makes the whole utterance more compact and more complete. It is most effective in singling out paragraphs.
5. Anadiplosis (linking, reduplication, catch repetition) (… a, a…)
6. Chain Repetition (…a, a… b, b …)
It is the sequence of several anadiploses.
The two terms frequently used to group all kinds of synonymic repetitions are pleonasm and tautology.
Enumeration. In enumeration separate things, properties, actions and phenomena are brought together in the manner that they make a series of grammatically and semantically homogeneous parts of utterance.
Suspense is based on the delay of the most important information. As a result, the less important facts and subordinate details appear first, while the most significant idea is withheld till the end of the syntactical unit.
Suspense is often created by the insertion of a subordinate clause (or a parenthetic remark) between the members of the principal clause.
Sentences with suspense are called periodic sentences, or periods. Their function is to keep the reader in a state of uncertainty, expectation and interest.
Climax or gradation denotes such an arrangement of correlative ideas or notions in which what precedes is less than what follows. E.g. not a dollar – not a penny. Types:-logical - every consecutive word is stronger from the logical point of view. E.g. She is a lamb, a dove, a fool to him. -Emotional - the emotive intensity is implied. E.g. She was a crashing, stupendous… -Quantitative - based on the intensification of quantitative parametres. E.g. Mary had counted the months, the weeks, the days, the hours... The stylistic function of climax is to disclose the emotional tension of the character, to impress upon the reader the significance of the things described by suggested comparison.
Syntactical devices based on peculiar linkage
Asyndeton is a deliberate avoidance of connectives in the constructions where they would normally be used.
E.g. The noise was terrible, shattering: hundreds of tin buckets were being kicked down flights of stone steps; walls of houses were falling in; ships were going down; ten thousand people were screaming with toothache; steam hammers were breaking loose; whole warehouses of oilcloth were being stormed … (Priestley)
The absence of the connective may connote various implications: it indicates tense, energetic activities or shows a succession of minute actions. Besides, it imparts dynamic force to the syntactical unit.
Polysyndeton. It is – as opposed to asyndeton – an excessive use (repetition) of connectives.
E.g. … it was also rather exciting, which was more than could be said of the 13 bus and the lounge at the Burpen field and her room there and the aspirin and the hot water. (Priestley)
Intentionally used, the device creates the atmosphere of bustling activity, underlines the simultaneity of actions, discloses the connection of properties enumerated (their equal significance), imparts rhythm, and promotes a high-flown tonality of narrative.
The excessive use of conjunctions may betray the poverty of the speaker's grammar, showing the primitiveness of the character.
E.g. 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) (Cf. with the Russian a.)The Gap-Sentence Link
It is a formal separation of the utterance into two parts that leads to the obvious break in the semantic texture of the utterance and forms an ‘unexpected semantic leap.’
It is usu. conveyed by a full stop. Besides, the two parts may often be connected by and or but.
E.g. He will answer. And go.
As a result, the separated part sounds stronger and attracts attention.
E.g. ‘…You didn’t reelly know what you were doing at the time, did you?’
‘That’s it. I didn’t. Nerves, y’know. Highly strung …’ (Priestley)
The gap-sentence link has various functions. It may be used to indicate a subjective evaluation of the facts; it may introduce an effect resulting from a cause which has already had verbal expression or a sudden transition from one thought to another; it may serve to signal the introduction of inner represented speech.
Syntactical devices based on stylistic use of structural meaning
Here belong devices based on transposition which is placing a language sign in the surrounding that is unusual for its functioning.
Rhetorical question is based on the special interplay of two structural meanings – that of the question and that of the assertion – due to which the question is no longer a question but a statement expressed in the interrogative form. Hence, the SD consists in reshaping the grammatical meaning of the interrogative sentence.
Rhetorical question usu. pronounces a judgment with a definite emotional charge: irritation, anger, doubt, challenge, scorn, irony, suggestion, or, vice versa, joy, admiration, etc.
According to Y.M. Skrebnev the following two semantic varieties of interrogative sentences make up rhetorical questions:
- with a negative predicate but an affirmative implication:
E.g. Isn't that too bad? = That is too bad
- with an affirmative predicate but a negative implication:
E.g. My God, – what was the good of it all? (Priestley) = There was no good …
Rhetorical questions are most frequently used in dramatic narration and in the publicist style.
Litotes(laiteutiz) expresses an idea by means of negating the opposite idea.
Usu. litotes presupposes double negation which can be conveyed in different ways:
through a negative particle not or a negative pronoun no + a word with a negative affix,
E.g. It was not an unfriendly laugh, but it was not a sympathetic one either. (Priestley)
‘Why doesn’t Amy marry again? She is comparatively young, and she is not unattractive …’ (Maugham), and
through the negation of the antonym of the idea to be expressed,
E.g. Not a coward (a fool), not too bad, not overdone, not without his agreement.
Function. Litotes conveys doubts of the speaker about the exact characteristics of the object, renders his irony, and serves as a euphemistic technique.
Litotes is frequent in English and seems to be used more often than in Russian.
Syntactical devices based on peculiar use of colloquial constructions
Ellipsis is the omission of the word or words necessary for the complete syntactical construction of a sentence, but not necessary for understanding it.
In colloquial speech, such constructions are frequent and arise from the speed of delivery and economy of effort. Sometimes the omission of necessary words becomes an indicator of poor grammar. In works of fiction elliptical sentences are made use of to reproduce the direct speech of characters and create the atmosphere of naturalness; to show their social status; to impart brevity, immediacy and a quick tempo to the author's narrative. Besides oral speech and fiction, ellipsis is common in newspaper headlines, in papers or handbooks on technology and natural sciences.
Aposiopesis is a sudden and dramatic breaking off a thought in the middle of a sentence. Without finishing the utterance the speaker (or writer) either begins a new one or stops altogether unwilling or unable (being overwhelmed with emotions) to continue. Aposiopesis presupposes stopping for rhetorical effect with the continuation highly predictable: the missing part can be reconstructed from the context. Elliptical points and a dash may mark aposiopesis in print. Aposiopesis creates an emotional tension and invites the reader to guess what stands behind the break and unwillingness to proceed (doubt, irony, irritation, uncertainty, indecision, anger, a threat, a warning, etc.). Sometimes a break-in-the-narrative is caused by euphemistic considerations – not to name a thing being offensive to the ear.
A question-in-the-narrative is asked and answered (if the answer is not self-evident) by one and the same person, usually the author. It is mainly done for the sake of emotional impact. This variety of question may also remain unanswered to stimulate the addressee’s thinking process over the problem in question, thus performing a dialogue-or contact-establishing function. The device is also a means of verbal trickery, by which orators take over the initiative and make people believe that the thoughts imposed are their own.
Phonetic stylistic devices
Phonetic expressive means producing an emotional and aesthetic effect depend on the choice of words, their arrangement and repetition. They include alliteration, onomatopoeia , rhyme and rhythm.
Alliteration - repetition of the same sounds - usually initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables in any sequence of neighbouring words. It’s often used in newspaper headlines, proverbs, set expressions. (As blind as bat; Pride and prejudice. Sense and sensibility. The school of scandal. Silken set uncertain, rustling of each purple curtain.)
The Assonance – the repetition of similar vowels usually in stressed syllables. (Nor soul flesh now more than flesh helps soul).
Onomatopoeia (звукоподражание)- is a combination of speech sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature. E.g.: hiss, grumble, sizzle, murmur, bump, by things like machines tools, by people (laughter, cough),by animal.
Rhyme (рифма) – one of the properties of poetry, which is the repetition of the same sound, identical/similar, usually at the end of 2 or more lines. We normally distinguish b/n:full rhyme (night-right),incomplete rhyme (fresh-press),compound rhymes, eye-rhymes (visible, but not pronounced): (love-prove),masculine rhymes (monosyllabic words): e.g. down-town, feminine rhyme (words are accented on the last but one syllable: error-terror)
Functions of rhyme:1) to signalize the end of line and mark the arrangement of lines into stanzas (4ростишие) 2) rhythm becomes evident because of rhyme3) the ends receive greater prominent
Poetic rhythm – r. is created by the regular recurrence of (un)stressed syllables of equal poetic lines. The regular alterations of (un)stressed syllables form a unit which is a foot.
There are 5 basic metrical feet:1)iambus (ямб): the 2nd syllable is stressed (The flower / that smiles / today / tomorrow / dies.),2)Trochee (хорей): every first syllable of the two is stressed. (Who shall that fortune 3)dactyl (дактиль): the 1st of the 3 is stressed.4) amphibrach (амфибрахий): the middle of the 3 is stressed.5)anapaest (анапест): the last of the 3 is stressed (There is guilt in the sound, there’s guilt in …).
Morphological stylistic means (the noun, the pronoun)
MORPHOLOGY is a branch of linguistics that studies the form and structure of words, the rules of word formation; as well as parts of speech, their categories and forms. Morphological stylistics primarily investigates the cases of transposition.
Transposition can be defined as a the typical grammatical valency of a word that consists in the unusual use of the grammatical forms and categories of parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs) changing their grammatical meaning. Moreover, frequently transposition leads to the change in the semantic meaning of a word too.
The noun.The expressive potential of the English noun reveals itself in a nonstandard use (= transposition) of its 3 categories–case,number and definiteness/indefiniteness.
1)Transposition is observed when inanimate nouns are used in the genitive (possessive) case (instead of expressing the idea of possession with the help of the traditional ‘of-phrase’). So it often happens with nouns denoting time or in cases of personification, due to which the utterance sounds more elevated.E.g. Yesterday’s press. group-genitive produces a humorous effect as the words that are placed together are logically incompatible.
2)Proper names, abstract and material nouns are uncountables. Their use in the plural imparts some special expressive and emotional power, creates the effect of imagery, adds vividness and makes the description more concrete.E.g. The snows of Kilimanjaro.
3)Proper names used in the plural lend the narration a unique generalizing effect, or show the critical attitude of the speaker, or strengthen smb’s insignificance.E.g. several Goyas;
4)The use of the singular instead of an appropriate plural form creates a generalized, elevated effect often bordering on symbolization. The contrary device – the use of plural instead of singular – as a rule, makes the description more powerful and large-scale.E.g. The clamour of waters, snows, winds, rains ...
5)Personification and animification (zoonimic metaphor)
6)Metonymical usage – work of art, a thing made by someone
The pronoun
Transposition of the pronoun is connected with the change of the sphere of its use. Of special interest for stylistics are personal, indefinite, possessive and demonstrative pronouns.
Indef. ‘one’ instead of I makes the utt sound philosophical and abstract.
Familiar colloquial style – a man, a baby.
The pronoun we that usually means ‘speaking together or on behalf of other people’ or ‘the speaker plus another person or other persons’ .The plural of modesty, or the author's we is used with reference to a single person with the purpose to identify oneself with the group, or audience, or society at large, and to avoid extreme subjectivity. So it happens in the scientific prose style...
Often they has a purely expressive function because it does not substitute any real characters but indicates some abstract entity.
Archaic forms of the pronouns ye (you) and the form of the second pronoun singular thou are the indicators of the dialectal speech, of the official language (of a lawyer), of poetic and religious styles.
he/she/it – personification
Frequently, the demonstrative pronouns do not point at anything or single out objects out of their class but signal the excitement of the speaker.E.g. These lawyers!
Of particular expressive and emotional force is the combination of a demonstrative pronoun with a possessive pronoun (in its absolute form) in postposition. E.g. ‘This girl of mine’.Morphological stylistic means (the adjective, the verb)
MORPHOLOGY is a branch of linguistics that studies the form and structure of words, the rules of word formation; as well as parts of speech, their categories and forms. Morphological stylistics primarily investigates the cases of transposition.
Transposition can be defined as a the typical grammatical valency of a word that consists in the unusual use of the grammatical forms and categories of parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs) changing their grammatical meaning. Moreover, frequently transposition leads to the change in the semantic meaning of a word too.
The stylistic function of the adjective.
The only grammatical category of the English adjective today is that of degrees of comparison (positive – comparative – superlative). Only qualitative and quantitative adjectives can form the degrees of comparison. The resort to other adjectives leads to transposition.
Violation of the rules of forming degrees of comparison results in transposition too.
E.g. the strangest, the cunningest, the willingest our Earth ever had. - add expressiveness to the utterance.
1)A littler thing.
2)The indef article before the superlative degree makes the utterance more emotive and it shows an indefinitely high degree of some feature.(a most exiting).
3) more golden – golden is not qualitative and quantitative so theres no degree of comparison.
4)The use of comparative or superlative forms with other parts of speech may also convey a humorous colouring. E.g. He was the most married man I've ever met. She is a sweetest old lady.- more emotive Transferred (metaphorical) epithets expressed by adjectives are also cases of transposition. Here belong personifying epithets that traditionally characterize people but are used with inanimate objects or abstract notions. Their stylistic function often consists in conveying negative or ironical connotations.
The stylistic function of the verb and its categories.Transposition in verb categories (tense, aspect, voice, etc.) may also impart stylistically coloured expressiveness to the utterance.
The present tense forms, being temporarily indefinite , may be used instead of the past tense forms, i.e. express past actions.
E.g. And there opens the door and in he comes.- ‘dramatic’ or ‘historical present’,artistic illusion of reality and visibility.
The Present Indefinite referred to the future often renders determination.
Continuous forms do not always express continuity of the action and are frequently used instead of the common aspect forms to convey the speaker's state of mind, his mood, his intentions or feelings (conviction, determination, persistence, impatience, irritation, surprise, indignation, disapproval, etc.). Verbs of physical and mental perception do not regularly have continuous forms. When they do, however, we observe a highly emphatic structure.
The passive voice of the verb when viewed from a stylistic angle may demonstrate such functions as extreme generalisation and depersonalization.
The communicative aspect of modal verbs is of particular interest to stylistics as they render a wide range of emotions.
The use of the auxiliary do in affirmative sentences is a notable emphatic device.
Completely ‘ungrammatical’ and thus showing through the speech the ‘low’ social status of the speaker (and acquiring a functional stylistic meaning) are the following forms of ‘faulty grammar’: -the use of the singular instead of the plural and vice versa, -the attempts ‘to regularize irregular verbs’ by analogy, -the omission of an auxiliary verb in perfect forms.
Archaic ‘dost’ ‘hast” – reflect dialectal speech or highly bookish.
Classification of lexical stylistic devices
The problem of classification of tropes has existed for centuries going back to antique schools of rhetoric. But the majority of scholars have not been interested in presenting tropes as a generalized system. Most authors propose purely subjective classifications.
I.R. Galperin's classification of lexical stylistic devices is based on the 3 following criteria:
Group 1. Interaction of different types of lexical meaning:
-Dictionary (logical, literal) and contextual (figurative) meanings:
Metaphor, Metonymy, Irony, synecdoche, personification.-Primary and derivative logical meanings (of a polysemantic word):
Zeugma, Pun.
-Logical and emotive meanings:
Oxymoron, Epithet.
-Logical and nominative meanings:
Antonomasia.Group 2. Intensification of a feature:
Hyperbole (intensification of quantity, size, emotions, etc.),
Simile (intensification of affinity),
Periphrasis (intensification of an inherent property).
Group 3. Peculiar use of set expressions (interplay of their primary and contextual meanings, mainly when decomposed):
Clichés, Proverbs, Epigrams, Quotations, Allusions, Decomposition of set phrases.
Lexical stylistic devices are also classified according to the degree of originality into trite and genuine.
Genuine devices are original, full of imagery.
Trite devices are ready-made, fixed in dictionaries clichés. Imagery seems faded there.
Such cases are mainly dealt with in lexicology.
E.g. a root of the quarrel (trite metaphor).
Tropes: zeugma and pun
Zeugma is the blending together of two or more semantically incompatible word groups, having an identical lexical item (usu. a polysemantic word), into a single construction where this item is used only once.
E.g. He took my advice and my wallet.
In the resultant cluster the identical lexical item is in the same grammatical (syntactical) but different semantic relations with the adjacent units, which relate to semantic spheres inconsistent with each other.
Thus, without being repeated the lexical unit is used in a literal and in a transferred meaning.
E.g. With tears in her eyes and a Gucci bag she appeared at the door of his apartment.
Function. The effect produced by zeugmatic combinations is humorous or ironical.
Pun – the use of a word in such a manner as to bring out different meanings or applications of one polysemantic word, – or the use of words alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning (homophones, paronyms), often with humorous intent.
It is also called wordplay, play on words, paronomasia. Alongside the English term 'pun', the international (originally French) term calembour is current.
E.g. Seven days without water make one weak. (homophones).
Function. The creation of a jocular atmosphere caused by the intentional mistreatment of the meaning of the lexical unit either by the speaker.The majority of jokes are based on pun.
The distinction between zeugma and pun
Both zeugma and pun are based on polysemy and create a humorous effect.
The distinguishing feature is mainly a structural one as
-zeugma is always a structure with two adjacent elements linked with the central element which is used only once; while
-pun 1) is more independent as it needs a broader (than a structure) context for its decoding and there need not necessarily be a word in the sentence to which the pun-word refers; 2) pun-words often recur.
Moreover, pun is more varied as besides polysemy it rests on the use of homophones and paronyms.
Tropes: oxymoron and antonomasia
Oxymoron. (Gk. oxus ‘sharp’ + moros ‘foolish’) is a combination of words that express two diametrically opposite notions.
E.g. Her cheerfulness was the cheerfulness of despair. (Maugham)
Oxymoron ascribes some feature to an object or phenomenon incompatible with it, that is why one of its two components can be said to be used figuratively.
E.g. О loving hate! ( Shakespeare)
Moreover, in oxymoron the logical meaning prevails over the emotive but the emotive is the result of the clash between the logical and illogical.
Semantically an oxymoron can be of two types:
- evident (composed of dictionary antonyms), e.g. beautifully ugly; and
-non-evident (composed of words that render mutually exclusive notions and become contextual antonyms), e.g. jolly starvation.
Structurally oxymoron can be formed by an attributive combination (e.g. beautiful horror) or an adverbial word combination (e.g. to swear pleasingly, to be proudly weak).
To less frequent types belong combinations like ugly in a pleasant way, a sweet kind of torture, etc.
Function. In spite of the outward illogicality oxymoronic collocations are full of sober sense: they disclose seeming or genuine differences of objects and phenomena as well as the contradictions of life.
Sometimes they create an ironic or comical effect.
E.g. the noble family of swine. (Golding)
Antonomasia is usu. the substitution of the proper name of a person for another name in order to characterize him/her.
Casanova (for a ladies' man ), a Cicero (for an orator).
Function: characterization through name, creation of humorous atmosphere.
There exist 2 major types of antonomasia:
1) A proper name is used as a common noun. Here belong:
a) metaphorical antonomasia (when the proper name of a famous personage is applied to a person whose characteristic features resemble).
E.g. ‘I’m not a Michael Angelo, no, but I have something ...
b) metonymic antonomasia (observed in cases when a personal name stands for something connected with the bearer of that name).
E.g. I am fond of Dickens (= of Dickens' books).
The use of such antonomastic words demonstrates how proper nouns acquire new, logical meanings:
Some of them are still spelled with capital letters, others are already spelt with small letters.
E.g. She was beginning to like … middle-aged men … but … really nice attractive ones … had hardly more than an occasional faint gleam of interest to spare for a Miss Matfield. (Priestley)
They can be used in the plural.
E.g. It was a pity that silly young men did not amuse her, for there were plenty of Ivors about, whereas there were very few real grown-up men about …. (Priestley)
2)A common noun acquires a nominal meaning and is used as a proper noun.
In such usages, which are also termed speaking or telling names, token or tell-tale names, the common noun origin is still clearly perceived.
E.g. Shark Dodson, Mr. Cheeky.
M. is a trope based upon a real connection (inward or outward) – between the object of nomination and the object whose name by way of associations is used to replace it. (Cf. with metaphor where this connection is non-existent.)
Metonymy can also be defined as a nomination of the object through one of its inherent properties.
Function. Metonymy usually creates an ironic or even sarcastic effect, sometimes it serves intensification.
According to the relation between the tenor and the vehicle the following types of metonymy are differentiated:
1. the abstract stands for the concrete:
2. the container is mentioned instead of the contents:
E.g. He sipped one more bottle (of whisky).
3. the material instead of the thing made of it:
E.g. She was glancing through his water colours.
4. the maker stands for the thing made:
E.g. The Rembrandt turned out to be fake.
He adores Mozart.
5. the instrument is put for the agent:
E.g. His brush can be easily recognized.
6. a part is put for the whole (synecdoche):
E.g. There were long legs all around.
Synecdoche can as well be expressed grammatically.
An example of traditional (stereotyped) synecdoche is the use of the singular (the so-called generis singularis) when the plural (the whole class) is meant.
E.g. ‘A woman can forgive a man for the harm he does her’ he said, ‘but she can never forgive him for the sacrifices he makes on her account.’ (or: The woman ...). (Maugham)
The opposite type of synecdoche (‘the whole for a part’) occurs
-when the name of the genus is used in place of the name of the species:
E.g. Stop torturing the poor animal (instead of the poor dog); or
-when the 'plural of disapprobation' is resorted to:
E.g. Reading books when I am talking to you! (while one book is meant).
The stylistic device of simile
(Latin similis ‘similar’) is an explicit statement of partial identity of two objects belonging to entirely different classes of things.
E.g. She felt like a shivering and bruised ant. (Priestley)
The word explicit distinguishes simile from metaphor where comparison is not stated clearly:
a) Metaphor is a renaming where a word, a phrase, a sentence, etc. is used instead of another; simile always employs two names of two separate objects.
b) Simile always contains at least one more component part – a word or a word-group signalizing the idea of juxtaposition and comparison.
The formal signals of simile are mostly:
1) link words as, like – establishing the analogy categorically.
E.g. Her arms were like legs of mutton, her breasts like giant cabbages; her face, broad and fleshy, gave you an impression of almost indecent nakedness, and vast chin succeeded to vast chin. (Maugham)
2) link words as though, as if, than – establishing but a slight similarity.
E.g. It was as though he had become aware of the soul of the universe and were compelled to express it. (Maugham)
3) lexical and morphological means that establish resemblance, such as to resemble, to remind of, in a way or verbal phrases to bear a resemblance to, to have a look of; suffixes - ish, - like, - some, -y, etc.
E.g. He reminded you of those jolly, fat merchants that Rubens painted. (Maugham)
‘I believe you’re right, Sandycroft …’ said Mr. Smeeth, with the air of a dutiful cross-talk comedian. (Priestley)
… the place where Strickland lived had the beauty of the Garden of Eden. (Maugham)
He had …a small, still babyish mouth (Priestley).
The function of simile is specifying and illustrating.
There exist a lot of trite (hackneyed, familiar) similes in the English language.
E.g. as clear as a day, as black as a crow, to behave like a lamb.
Like metaphors similes can be sustained or extended.
E.g. Her tranquillity was like the sullen calm that broods over an island which has been swept by a hurricane. (Maugham)
Simile must be distinguished from logical comparison or comparison proper, which brings together two things belonging to one class, i.e. deals with what is logically comparable, while in simile there is usu. a bit of fantasy.
E.g. He is as clever as his father (the same class of objects – human beings).
Tropes: epithet
The epithet (Gk. epitheton ‘addition’) is an attributive (or adverbial) word or phrase used to characterise an object, i.e. to express an individual perception and evaluation of its features and properties. E.g. a giant moustache, a pessimistic rumble. (Priestley)
I.V. Arnold believes that it is a lexico-syntactical trope for it is usu. materialized in a sentence as an attribute, an adverbial modifier or a predicative.
The epithet can be expressed by an adjective, an adverb, a noun, a participle, etc. E.g. ‘What have I done now?’ she began indignantly (an adv., an adv. mod.). (Priestley)
The epithet differs from the logical (= descriptive) attribute, which shows the inherent property of a thing, thus being objective and non-evaluating. E.g. a middle-aged man, bluey-green walls. (Priestley)
Compositionally epithets fall into:
1) simple or word-epithets, e.g. Happiness for him had a feminine shape. (Priestley)
2) compound epithets (formed by compound adjectives), e.g. a crescent-shaped object; wild-looking young fellows (Priestley).
3) two-step epithets (supplied with intensifiers), e.g. … fatally second class … public school … (Priestley)
4) phrase epithets (also called hyphenated epithets when written through a hyphen), e.g. Now he was practically a four-hundred-a-year man instead of a three-hundred-a-year man. (Priestley) …
5) reversed epithets (composed of two nouns linked by an of-phrase where the attributive relation between the members of the combination shows that the SD is an epithet), e.g. a thick figure of a man (Priestley)
According to I.R. Galperin, semantically epithets may be divided into 2 groups:
a) associated underlining the essential feature of the object, e.g. tremendous moustache. (Priestley)
b) unassociated with the noun, unexpected and striking, e.g. the inhuman drawing-room. (Priestley)
V.A. Kukharenko splits epithets into:
1. fixed (trite, traditional, conventional, standing), e.g. a devoted friend, magic weather.
2. figurative (transferred) that can be metaphorical, metonymic, ironical, etc., e.g. bushy eyebrows. (Priestley)
From the point of view of the distribution of epithets in the sentence, there can be distinguished a string of epithets whose function is to give a multisided characterization. E.g. That she was not really a creature of that world only made her more fascinating, mysterious, romantic … (Priestley)
The stylistic device of periphrasis
(Gr. periphrazein ‘to express in a roundabout way’: peri – round + phrazein – ‘to show, to say’) is a roundabout way used to name some object or phenomenon. The other term for it is circumlocution.E.g. the attacking force (for a gang, a band). (O’Henry)
Periphrasis is a description of what could be named directly by a possible shorter and plainer wording;
it is naming the characteristic features of the object instead of naming the object itself.
Thus, it is akin to metonymy.
The difference between periphrasis and metonymy is that the former is always a phrase, i.e. consists of more than one word.
E.g. a thriller (for an exciting book) – metonymy, two hundred pages of blood-curdling narrative (for an exciting book) – periphrasis.Periphrases can also be genuine (real, artistic, etc.), and trite (traditional, stereotyped, dictionary, etc.).
E.g. instruments of pleasure (for women). (Maugham)
The stylistic effect (function) of periphrasis varies from elevation to humour and irony.
Periphrasis can be divided into 3 types:
1. Logical periphrasis – based on inherent properties of a thing.
E.g. He looked again at the poor dead thing that had been man, and then he started back in dismay. (Maugham)
2. Figurative (imaginative) periphrasis – based on imagery (usu. a metaphor or a metonymy).
E.g. a chevalier of fortune or chevalier of industry (for all sorts of adventurers and swindlers; for bandits). (O’Henry),
3. Euphemistic periphrasis.
The origin of the term 'euphemism' discloses the aim of the device very clearly, i.e. ‘speaking well’ (Gr. eu – ‘well’ + pheme ‘speaking’).
It implies the social practice of replacing the tabooed words or coarse expressions by conventionally more acceptable words and phrases that seem less categoric, milder, more harmless (or at least less offensive).
E.g. the word to die has the following euphemisms: to pass away, to expire, to be no more, to depart, to join the majority, to be gone, to kick the bucket, to give up the ghost, to go west.
Euphemism is a term of speech ethics that is sometimes figuratively called ‘a whitewashing device’.
Euphemisms may be divided into several groups according to their spheres of application.
The most recognized types are the following: 1) religious, 2) moral, 3) medical, and 4) parliamentary and political.
E.g. a garbage man – is today substituted for a sanitation worker;
having sexual intercourse with – making love to, sleeping with;
crippled and handicapped – disabled;
undeveloped countries – developing.
The abundant use of periphrastic and euphemistic expressions is a sign of periphrastic or euphemistic style of expression which at times becomes a norm and a requirement.
E.g. a colourful personality (for an excessively eccentric person).The stylistic device of irony and hyperbole
Hyperbole. (Gk. hyperbolē ‘excess’) is a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement of a feature (quantity, size, etc.) essential to the object.
E.g. I am dying of hunger (exaggerated feelings).
Hyperbole differs from a mere exaggeration intended to be understood as an exaggeration.
Y.M. Skrebnev points out there must be something illogical in hyperbole, something unreal, impossible, contrary to common sense.
The logical and psychological opposite of hyperbole is meiosis. It is lessening, weakening, reducing the real characteristics of the object of speech to mean the opposite of what is said.
E.g. It will cost you a pretty penny (a large sum of money is implimed).
Meiosis should not be confused with a variant of hyperbole, i.e. understatement: when the object spoken about is really small or insignificant, and the expression used to denote it strengthens, exaggerates and emphasizes its smallness and insignificance.
E.g. a cat-size pony (= a very small pony), a drop of water (= not much water).
Meiosis is typical of the British manner of speech, in opposition to American English in which hyperbole seems to prevail.
E.g. An English girl and an American girl climb a steep mountain in the Alps. The English girl says: It's a bit exhausting, isn't it? The American echoes: Why, sure, it's terrific!!!
Function. Hyperbole adds dramatic force or attributes a humorous or even ironical sounding.
Many hyperboles have become trite.
E.g. A thousand pardons.
Haven't seen you for ages!
Irony.Irony is based on the contrast between the literal (dictionary) meaning and the intended meaning: one thing is said and the opposite is implied. Irony is generally used to convey a negative meaning (ridicule, contempt) though only positive concepts may be used in it.
E.g. ‘God damn my wife. She is an excellent woman. I wish she was in hell.’ (Maugham)
Very seldom the opposite type of irony where ‘blame stands for praise’ is observed: coarse and accusing words are used approvingly.
E.g. Clever bastard! Lucky devil!
Besides, Y.M. Skrebnev distinguishes 2 kinds of ironic utterances:
explicit ironical, which no one would take at their face value due to the situation, tune and structure; implicit ironical, when the ironical message is communicated against a wider context. In oral speech, irony is often made prominent by emphatic intonation.
In writing, the most typical signs are graphical, like inverted commas or italics.
Irony can be understood from the context without any special graphical indication.
Irony must not be confused with humour, although they have much in common.
One of the functions of irony is producing a humorous effect.
But unlike humour that always causes laughter, that is friendly and positive by its character, irony presupposes critical evaluation of the thing spoken about and expresses ridicule, mockery or contempt.
An ironic effect is frequently achieved by the mixture of styles: the use of the high-flown style on socially low and insignificant topics or in a friendly talk, etc.
Stylistic use of set expressions
Set expressions (clichés, proverbs, epigrams, quotations, allusions, etc.) are treated in different ways in lexicology and stylistics.
Lexicology studies the character of a set expression and its components, its etymology and meaning. Stylistics is interested in the communicative effect and expressive power of a set phrase. Besides, when a set expression is used in its unaltered form it can be qualified as an expressive means of the language; when used in a modified variant it assumes one of the features of a SD, it acquires a stylistic meaning, though not becoming a SD.
A cliché is a word or expression which has lost its originality or effectiveness because it has been used too often. Practically all tropes tend to lose their imaginative power, or part of their imaginative power thus becoming trite, but often they retain their emotional colouring.
In other words, a cliché is a kind of stable word combination which has become familiar, has won general recognition and which by its iteration has been accepted as a unit of the language. E.g. rosy dreams of youth, deceptively simple, the march of science, rising expectations, growing awareness, to see things through rose-coloured glasses.The effects achieved by using clichés include besides expressing emotions or attitudes, also evaluation and brevity. To say Jack of all trades is shorter than a person who can turn his hands to any kind of work.
Proverbs are short, well-known, supposedly wise sayings usu. in simple language.
Proverbs are brief statements showing in a condensed form the accumulated people’s wisdom and life experience of the community and serving as conventional practical symbols for abstract ideas.
Their typical features are: rhythm, rhyme and/or alliteration, brevity (which manifests itself also in the omission of articles and connectives), the use of contrasts, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
Proverbs are usually didactic and involve imagery. E.g. Out of sight, out of mind.
Proverbs should not be confused with maxims, i.e. with non-metaphorical precepts. E.g. Better late than never; You never know what you can do till you try. They are not allegorical; there is nothing figurative in them, they are understood literally, word for word.
In other words, a modified proverb presupposes a simultaneous application of two meanings: the face-value or primary meaning, and an extended meaning drawn from the context. E.g. Come, he said, milk is spilt (it’s no use crying over spilt milk).
An epigram (Gr. epigraphein ‘to write on’) is a short clever amusing saying or a poem. In most cases epigrams are witty statements coined by some individuals whose names we know (unlike in proverbs).
They have a generalizing function and are self-sufficient. There are special dictionaries which are called "Dictionaries of Quotations." These, in fact, are mostly dictionaries of epigrams. E.g. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. (Keats)
Epigrams are close to aphorisms. Though the latter are shorter and do not look like quotations. A quotation is a repetition of a phrase or statement from a book, speech and the like used by way of authority, illustration, proof or as a basis for further speculation on the matter in hand. (I.R. Galperin)
Quotations are usually marked graphically by inverted commas, dashes or italics, they are mostly accompanied by a reference to the author of the quotation. Quotations need not necessarily be short.
E.g. Friends, Romans, countrymen
– Lend me your ears. (Shakespeare)
Quotations often turn into epigrams. E.g. To be or not to be? (Shakespeare)
Quotations used as an argumentative technique allow no modifications of meaning. Such quotations are especially frequent in scientific texts, in religious writing and in the journalistic style.
An allusion (Latin allusio ‘a playing with’) is an indirect quotation, reference or a hint by word or phrase to a historical, literary, mythological or biblical fact which is presumably known to the listener/reader.
As a rule no indication of the source of the allusion is given, which makes it different from quotations proper (direct quotations) and epigrams.
Another difference is of a structural nature: a quotation proper must repeat the exact wording of the original; an allusion is only a mention of a word or phrase which may be regarded as the key-word of the utterance.
Allusions are a frequent device in advertisements and headlines. Besides, they may function within the literary text as similes, metaphors, metaphorical epithets, periphrases, etc. E.g. She has got a Mona Lisa smile.
Decomposition of set phrases.
Set phrases are used as expressive means of language which already makes them the object of interest for stylistics.
E.g. to be a square peg in the round hole.The meaning of a set expression can be understood only from the combination as a whole.
A very effective stylistic device consists in the intentional violation of the traditional norms of the use of set phrases that is called decomposition, deformation, demotivation or breaking up of set expressions.
Function. Set expressions are usu. decomposed for creating a humorous, ironic, sarcastic effect or even the atmosphere of absurdity.
There are several types of decomposition of set expressions:
1.inclusion or prolongation, e.g. She took a desperate hold of his arm;
2.interaction, e.g. to be fed up with smth + to be fed to the teeth = There are the words of a man who for some reason not disclosed is fed up with the front teeth with the adored object;
3.substitution (partial or complete),
e.g. Divorces (instead of marriages) are made in heavens. (O. Wilde)
To dish or not to dish? (about a satellite antenna; instead of Shakespearean To be or not to be?).
4. changes in spelling (attaining a new meaning and at the same time preserving or imitating the phonetical form of the original set expression), e.g. Sofa, So Good! (instead of So far, so good, when a furniture shop praises its sofas).

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