[ Назад ]

The onomasiological approach in stylistic syntax is aimed at finding out

what sublanguage is involved and what expressive value a syntactical unit

(sentence or other utterance) has, treated in abstraction from its

environment. What is studied here is the syntactical paradigm, i.e. a set of

parallel (more or less equivalent, interchangeable, though formally different)

syntactical structures and their comparative stylistic significance.

It is known that the sentence, as distinct from units of lower levels, is

n sequence of relatively independent lexical and phrasal units (words and

word combinations). What differentiates a sentence from a word is the fact that the sentence

structure is changeable: the sentence is not a unit of constant length

possessing neither upper nor lower limitations — it can be shortened or

extended; it can be complete or incomplete, simple, compound, or complex.

Its constituents, length, word order, as well as communicative type

(assertion, negation, interrogation, exhortation) are variable.

1-A. Stylistically significant are: elliptical sentences, nominative sen-

tences, unfinished sentences, as well as sentences in which certain aux-

iliary elements are missing.

Ellipsis. The term 'elliptical sentence' implies absence of one or both

principal parts (the subject, the predicate). typical of colloquial speech.

Another variety with a very wide currency is the pattern in which the

finite verb of the predicate is missing. The first sentence of the following

example lacks the link-verb are;

In informal speech, the striving for brevity permits leaving out the

subject and the modal verb of a complex predicate.

An extreme case of ellipsis can be observed in the sentence consisting

of only three words, which sentence, however, is compound expressing


"Perhaps, perhaps not." (Clifford)

In works of fiction, elliptical sentences are made use of either to

reproduce the direct speech of characters, or to impart brevity, a quick

tempo and (sometimes) emotional tension to the author's narrative.

"He became one of the prominent men of the House. Spoke

clearly, sensibly, and modestly, and was never too long. Held the

House where men of higher abilities 'bored' it." (Collins)

Beside oral speech and fiction (which aim at economy and expressiveness, respectively), ellipsis is common to some special types of texts.

All kinds of elliptical constructions (including special ready-made

formulas) are resorted to in telegraphic messages. The reason is clear:

every word is paid for.

Aposiopesis. This term, which in Greek means 'silence', denotes

intentional abstention from continuing the utterance to the end. The

speaker (writer) either begins a new utterance or stops altogether. It goes

without saying that an utterance unfinished due to external reasons (state

of agitation, sudden change of circumstances) is not a stylistic device, as

in the following case:

KEITH (letting go her arms ): My God! If the police come — find me here — (He dashes to the door. Then stops). (Galsworthy)

Nominative sentences. The communicative function of a nominative

sentence is a mere statement of the existence of an object, a phenomenon:

"London. Fog everywhere. Implacable November weather."

They arouse in the mind of the hearer (reader) a more or less isolated image of the object,

Absence of auxiliary elements. The term implies the form-words or

'operators' (as opposed to notional words): auxiliary verbs, articles,

prepositions, conjunctions. All these elements, except conjunctions, are

omitted in careless colloquial speech; conjunctions, both in colloquial

speech and fiction.

1-B. Redundance of syntactical elements. Material and structural

overloading occurs in various types of utterances. Thus, a complex

sentence, as opposed to a simple one, is a type of utterance in which the

'addresser' (speaker, writer) intends to place as much information as

possible. The reasons are clear: in oral

communication, limitations of memory prevent the speaker from using

prolonged elaborate constructions,

Types of syntactical redundance viewed paradigmatically. A paradigmatic approach presupposes comparing units of the same rank.

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

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)

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 otherwords, grammatical forms (in our

case syntactical) are sometimes used not in their original sphere — they

perform a function which is not theirs originally.

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.'

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


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. De-

tachment is specific phonetical treatment of a word or word-group: in-

stead of the usual articulation when the word (phrase) is fused with its

environment, the speaker makes a short pause before (and often after) the detached segment and lays special stress on it. As a result of this, the

word (phrase) appears to be opposed to the rest of the sentence — to what

precedes it and follows it. Hence, the detached part is underlined as

something specially important. From the viewpoint of communicative

syntax, it acquires a 'rheme-like' status — it becomes 'semi-com-

municative', not just nominative.

In writing and in print, detached parts are separated from the rest of

the sentence by punctuation marks (mostly by commas or dashes). Unusual

placement in the sentence (inversion — see above) is also a sure sign of


The general stylistic effect of detachment is strengthening, empha-

sizing the word (or phrase) in question. Besides, detachment imparts

additional syntactical meanings to the word or phrase. The second of the

following two sentences comprises a detached phrase which can be

qualified as an adverbial modifier of concession:

"I met John with his friend the other day."

"How could John, with his heart of gold, leave his family?"

Practically speaking, any secondary part may be detached:

Attribute: "Very small and child-like, he never looked more than


Appositive: "Brave boy, he saved my life and shall not regret

it." (Twain)

Adverbial modifier:

"And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted nevermore!" (Рое)

Direct object: "Talent, Mr. Micawber has, capital, Mr. Micawber

has not." (Dickens)

Prepositional object: "It was indeed, to Forsyte eyes, an odd

house." (Galsworthy)

Subordination and coordination. Clauses and independent sentences

are combined either by way of subordination or coordination. Besides,

they maybe combined asyndetically, in which case it is hard to say whether

we observe asyndetic subordination or asyndetic coordination.

It often happens that the same semantic relations between two

neighbouring utterances may be expressed in three different ways:

"When the clock struck twelve, he came" — subordination.

"The clock struck twelve, and he came" — coordination.

"The clock struck twelve, he came" — asyndetic connection.

The reader must know from his own experience that the use of complex

sentences, especially with complicated phrasal conjunctions (or, to be more

exact, set phrases used as 'conjunction equivalents' for a conjunction can

never be a phrase: it is a word, one word, as any other part of speech),

such as in view of the fact that or with regard to the circumstances of

which... is a sure sign of formal written types of speech. True, the use of

complex sentences is by no means alien to everyday oral communication,

only the conjunctions preferred are much simpler — when, where, if and

the like.

But on the whole, in oral speech we mostly find either asyndeton, or

frequent use of the 'universal' coordinative conjunction and. Its function

becomes clear only due to the general semantic correlation of the clauses


"You never can tell in these cases how they are going to turn out

and it's best to be on the safe side." (Dreiser)

Here, the conjunction and evidently signalizes the relation of cause

and consequence between the two clauses.

"Open that silly mouth of yours just once, and you'll find your-

self in jail, right alongside the black boy!" (Gow and D'Usseau)

This compound sentence is an equivalent of a complex sentence with a

subordinate clause of condition (If you open...).

"It is funny that they [the mice] should be there, and not a crumb,

since Mr. Timothy took to not coming down just before the war."

( Galsworthy )

Here, the conjunction and introduces something like an adverbial

clause of concession (although there is not a crumb here...).

What is naturally expressed by coordinating conjunctions in ordinary

speech, may be rather artificially made into a complex sentence with a

pedantic subordinate clause (in legal matters):

"I gave the key to Mr. Smith, who then passed it to Mrs. Brown."

What the witness had really said before his testimony was put to paper,

looked simpler and shorter:

"I gave the key to John, and he to Jane."

Parenthetic words, phrases and sentences. They either express

modality of what is predicated or imply additional information, mostly

evaluating what is said or supplying some kind of additional informa-

tion. Parenthetic elements comprising additional information seem to

be a kind of protest against the linear character of the text: the language

user interrupts himself trying in vain to say two things at once.

Words, phrases and sentences of modal meaning may be divided into

two classes: those expressing certainty and such as imply different degrees

of probability.

Examples of the first class are logically superfluous: they do not add

anything to what is meant without them, except showing the speaker's own

doubt of what he says and his attempt to make himself believe what he says.6

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


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 declara-

tive 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)


Network | английский | архитектура эвм | астрономия | аудит | биология | вычислительная математика | география | Гражданское право | демография | дискретная математика | законодательство | история | квантовая физика | компиляторы | КСЕ - Концепция современного естествознания | культурология | линейная алгебра | литература | математическая статистика | математический анализ | Международный стандарт финансовой отчетности МСФО | менеджмент | метрология | механика | немецкий | неорганическая химия | ОБЖ | общая физика | операционные системы | оптимизация в сапр | органическая химия | педагогика | политология | правоведение | прочие дисциплины | психология (методы) | радиоэлектроника | религия | русский | сертификация | сопромат | социология | теория вероятностей | управление в технических системах | физкультура | философия | фотография | французский | школьная математика | экология | экономика | экономика (словарь) | язык Assembler | язык Basic, VB | язык Pascal | язык Си, Си++ |