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Language epithets (traditional)
5. Speech epithets = slavish knees, sleepless bay
6. Fixed epithets (used in ballads and folklore) = dark forest, green wood, good ship, brave cavaliers.
7. Epithets can also be classified according to part of speech, as they can be expressed by any notional speech part - noun, verb, adjective, adverb.
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. In other words, it is a combination of two words in which the meanings of the two clash, being opposite in sense. E.g.: “sweet sorrow”, “nice rascal”, “pleasantly ugly face”, “horribly beautiful”, “a deafening silence”, etc.
Simile is a figure of speech in which the subject is compared to another subject. The formal elements of a simile are like, as, as if, as though, such as, seem, etc. E.g. : ‘A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle’. Simile is a comparison of two unlike things.
Periphrasis is a very peculiar stylistic device which basically means paraphrasing, using an indirect form of expression instead of a simpler one, in other words, using a complicated syntactical structure instead of a word.
Logical periphrases are phrases synonymic with the words which were substituted by periphrases: “Mr. Du Pont was dressed in the conventional disguise with which Brooks Brothers cover the shame of American millionaires.” (M.St.) “The conventional disguise” stands here for “the suit” and “the shame of American millionaires” - for “the paunch (the belly)”. This periphrasis may be also considered euphemistic, as it offers a more polite qualification instead of a coarser one.
Figurative periphrasis is made, in fact, of phrase-metonymies and phrase- metaphors, as we may see from the following example: “The hospital was crowded with the surgically interesting products of the fighting in Africa” (I.Sh.) where the extended metonymy stands for “the wounded”.
Hyperbole is largely synonymous with exaggeration and overstatement. It is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used due to strong feelings or is used to create a strong impression and is not meant to be taken literally. It is very deliberate and gives greater emphasis to the statement. It is often used in poetry and is a literary device. Like all other SDs, it is fresh = original = genuine when first used, and trite = dead = stale when often repeated.
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The exaggerated phenomenon can be different (size, quantity, emotion, etc.). E.g.: “I could eat a horse”, “I've heard that a billion times”.
The antonym to hyperbole is understatement. E.g.: “He has a brain the size of a pinhead”, “The little woman, she was of pocket size...”
The majority of English words are neutral. Neutral words do not have stylistic connotations. Their meanings are purely denotative. They are such words as table, man, day, weather, to go, good, first, something, enough. Besides neutral vocabulary, there are two great stylistically marked layers of words in English word-stock: literary vocabulary and colloquial vocabulary. Literary vocabulary includes bookish words, terms, poetic and archaic words, barbarisms and neologisms. Colloquial vocabulary embraces conversational lexis, jargonisms, professionalisms, dialectal, slangy and vulgar words. Neutral words form the lexical backbone of all functional styles. They are understood and accepted by all English-speaking people. Being the main source of synonymy and polysemy, neutral words easily produce new meanings and stylistic variants. Compare: mouse = 1) a small furry animal with a long tail; 2) mouse = a small device that you move in order to do things on a computer screen; 3) mouse = someone who is quiet and prefers not to be noticed.
The term supra-phrasal unit (SPU) is used to denote a
A paragraph is a graphical term used to name a group of sen-
Inversion/Change of Word Order aims at making one of the members of the sentence more conspicuous, more important, more emphatic.
‘Talent Mr.Micawber has; capital Mr.Micawber has not.’
Came frightful days of snow and rain.
Detached Construction is a secondary part of a sentence, placed so that it seems formally independent of the word it logically refers to. The detached part, being torn away from its referent, assumes a greater degree of significance.
Steyne rose up, grinding his teeth, pale, and with fury in his eyes.
This stylistic device is akin to inversion, detached construction produces a much stronger effect. ‘I want to go’, he said, miserable.’
A variant of detached construction is parenthesis. Parenthesis is a qualifying, explanatory or appositive word, phrase, sentence, etc. which interrupts a syntactic construction, giving an utterance an additional meaning or emotional colouring. It is indicated in writing by commas, brackets or dashes.
Carl, a great singer, was not a good dancer.
Parallel Construction may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro-structures. The necessary condition in parallel construction is identical, or similar, syntactical structure in two or more sentences or parts of a sentence in close succession:
‘There were real silver spoons to stir the tea with, and real china cups to drink tea out of, and plates of the same to hold the cakes and toast in.’
Parallel Construction is most frequently used in enumeration, antithesis and climax, thus consolidating the general effect achieved by these stylistic devices.
In the following example parallelism backs up repetition, alliteration, and antithesis, making the whole sentence almost epigrammatic:
‘And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot.’
Parallel Construction emphasizes the similarity, diversity, contrasts the ideas equates the significance of the parts.
Our senses perceive no extremes. Too much sound deafens us; too much light dazzles us; too great distance or proximity hinders our view.
Parallelism always generates rhythm; hence it is natural to be used in poetry.
Chiasmus/ Reversed Parallel Construction is based on the repetition of a syntactical pattern, but it has a cross order of words and phases.
1. In peace sons bury their fathers,
But in war fathers bury their sons.
2. Down dropped the breeze,
The sails dropped down.
Chiasmus lays stress on the second part of the utterance and always brings in some new shade of meaning or additional emphasis.
Repetition is used when the speaker is under the stress of strong emotions. It shows the state of mind of the speaker.‘Stop!’-she cried. ‘Don’t tell me! I don’t want to hear; I don’t want to hear what you’ve come for. I don’t want to hear.’The repetition ‘I don’t want to hear’ shows the excited state of mind of the speaker. Repetition aims at fixing the attention of the reader on the key-word of the utterance.
Enumeration is a stylistic device by which separate things, objects, phenomena, actions or properties are named one by one so that they produce a chain. The links of the chain are forced to display some semantic homogeneity.
Suspense consists in arranging the matter of communication in such a way that the less important parts are amassed at the beginning, the main idea being withheld till the end of the sentence. Thus the reader’s attention is held and his interest kept up, as he is in the state of uncertainty and expectation. Suspense sometimes goes together with Climax.
Climax/Gradation is the arrangement of sentences which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance or emotional tension in the utterance. The gradual increase in significance may be maintained in three ways: logical, emotional and quantitative. Emotional climax is mainly found in sentences.
Antithesis is a stylistic opposition, setting thing one against the other. In order to characterize a thing or phenomenon from a specific point of view, it may be necessary to find points of sharp contrast.
1. A saint abroad, and a devil at home.
2. Youth is lovely, age is lonely,
Youth is fiery, age is frosty.
3. Man proposes, God disposes.
Antithesis has the basic function of rhyme-forming because of the parallel arrangement on which it is founded.
Crabbed age and youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care…
Litotesis a peculiar use of negative construction: the negation plus noun or adjective establish a positive feature in a person or thing. It is a deliberate understatement used to produce a stylistic effect. Litotes is not a pure negation, but a negation that includes affirmation.
It is not bad.-(Is a good thing)
He is no coward.-(He is a brave man)
Such negative constructions have a stronger effect on the reader than affirmative ones.
She was not without taste.
The constructions with two negations: not unlike, not unpromising, not displeased make positive phrases.
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