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The stylistic value of types of co-occurring morphemes and mor-

phological 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 di-

rection 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"), maybe 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 mor-

phemes 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

imy superfluous repetition of forms or meanings. Thus, if an utterance

contains the inflectional genitive ('possessive case') Shakespeare's, th

following utterance is to have a varying form of the same (or nearl

the same) meaning: of Shakespeare. In a further utterance the sam

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' i


Varying the morphological means of expressing grammatical notion

is based, just as in the sphere of phonetics, upon the general rule:

monotonous repetition of morphemes or frequent recurrence of mor-

phological meanings expressed differently, is considered a stylistic faul

(provided the repetition is not used on purpose).

Other problems of syntagmatic morphology concern cases when co-

occurrence is not immediately felt by the producer and the recipient. Bu

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 col-

loquial 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.).


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