Chapter IV. SYNTAX OF SEQUENCES
The distinctive features of syntagmatic syntax, the traits differentiat-
ing it from paradigmatic syntax, are obvious. Paradigmatic syntax deals
with the structure of the sentence, the number and position of its con-
stituents, compared with other choices. Syntagmatic syntax deals mainly
with a chain of sentences, the sequence of sentences constituting a text.
we search for stylistic functions in the sequence of sentence forms.
Sentences in sequence often show no regular alternation of form. We
see that such syntax is stylistically neutral. Often, however, certain
regular alternations or reiterations are conspicuous and stylistically rele-
For example, regular alternation of interrogative and declarative
sentences characterizes the text as a dialogue (if questions and answers
belong to different speakers) or as an inner monologue (if there is one
Regular interchange or repetition may not only concern communicative
types of sentences, but their syntactic structure as well.
Parallelism contributes to rhythmic and melodic unification of adja
cent sentences. But not only that. As everywhere in language, semantic
is the predominant factor. It is only with regard to lexical meanings tha
the constructive function of parallelism can be defined. It serves eithe
to emphasize the repeated element, or to create a contrast or else underlines the semantic connection between sentences.
we can discern the following lexico-syntactical devices.
anaphora, epiphora, symploca, anadiplosis, chiasmus.
Anaphora. This term implies identity of beginnings, of one or sever
initial elements in adjacent sentences (verse lines, stanzas, paragraphs).
This device, often met with, serves the purpose of strengthening the
element that recurs:
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer...
Farewell to the forests and wild hanging woods!
Anaphoric recurrence of words or word combinations helps the reader
(hearer) to fix the recurring segment in his memory. It also imparts a
certain rhythmical regularity to the prosodic system of the text.
Epiphora. This stylistic figure is the opposite of anaphora. It is re-
currence of one or several elements concluding two (or more) syntacti-
cal units (utterances, verse lines, sentences, paragraphs, chapters). Ex-
Framing. This term is used here to denote the recurrence of the initial
segment at the very end of a syntactic unit (sentence, paragraph, stanza):
"Money is what he's after, money!" (Galore)
"Those kids were getting it all right, with busted heads and
bleeding faces — those kids were getting it." (Griffith)
Chiasmus means 'crossing'. The term
denotes what is sometimes characterized as 'parallelism reversed': two
syntactical constructions (sentences or phrases) are parallel, but their
members (words) change places, their syntactical positions.
"I love my Love and my Love loves me!" (Coleridge)
"The jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might
have been the j ail..." (Dickens )