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Colloquial vs. Literary Type of Communication. Oral vs. Written Form of Communication

Language means which we choose for communication depend on several factors, the most important among them being the situation of the communication act. Indeed, depending on the situation (which includes the purpose of the communication and its participants) we adhere either to informal, or to formal manner. The former is observed in everyday non-official communication which is known as colloquial speech. Colloquial speech occupies a prominent place in our lives, and is viewed by some linguists as a system of language means so strongly differing from those pre-sented in the formal (literary) communication that it can be classified as an independent entity with its own peculiar units and rules of their structuring. (See the works of O. Lapteva, O. Sirotinina, L. Zemskaya.)

The literary communication, most often (but not always) materialized in the written form, is not homogeneous, and pro-ceeding from its function (purpose) we speak of different functional styles. As the whole of the language itself, functional styles are also changeable. Their quantity and quality change in the course of their development. At present most scholars differentiate such functional styles: scientific, official, publicist, newspaper, belles-lettres.*

Scientific style isemployed in professional communication. Its most conspicuous feature is the abundance of terms denoting objects, phenomena and processes characteristic of some particular field of science and technique. Scientific style is also known

* See pp. 5 - 6 of this manual.


for its precision, clarity and logical cohesion which is responsible for the repeated use of such_cliches as: "Proceeding from..."; "As it was said above..."; "In connection with..." and other lexico-syntactical forms emphasizing the logical connection and interdependence of consecutive parts of the discourse,

Official style, or the style of official documents, is the most conservative one. It preserves cast-iron forms of structuring and uses syntactical constructions and words long known as archaic and not observed anywhere else. Addressing documents and official letters, signing them, expressing the reasons and considerations leading to the subject of the document (letter)-all this is strictly regulated both lexically and syntactically. All emotiveness and subjective modality are completely banned out of this style.

Publicist style is a perfect example of the historical change-ability of stylistic differentiation of discourses. In ancient Greece, e.g., it was practiced mainly in its oral form and was best known as oratoric style, within which views and sentiments of the addresser (orator) found their expression. Nowadays political, ideological, ethical, social beliefs and statements of the addresser are prevailingly expressed in the written form, which was labelled publicist in accordance with the name of the correspond-ing genre and its practitioners. Publicist style is famous for its explicit pragmatic function of persuasion directed at influencing the reader and shaping his views, in accordance with the argumentation of the author. Correspondingly, we find in publi-cist style a blend of the rigorous logical reasoning, reflecting the objective state of things, and a strong subjectivity reflecting the author's personal feelings and emotions towards the discussed subject.

Newspaper style, as it is evident from its name, is found in newspapers. You should not conclude though that everything published in a newspaper should be referred to the newspaper style. The paper contains vastly varying materials, some of them being publicist essays, some - feature articles, some - scientific reviews, some - official stock-exchange accounts etc., so that a daily (weekly) newspaper also offers a variety of styles. When we mention "newspaper style", we mean informative materials, characteristic of newspaper only and not found in other publi-cations. To attract the reader's attention to the news, special graphical means are used. British and American papers are notor-ious fоr the change of type, specific headlines, space ordering, etc. We find here a large proportion of dates and personal names of countries, territories, institutions, individuals. To achieve the effect of objectivity and impartiality in rendering some fact or event, most of newspaper information is published anonymously,


without the name of the newsman who supplied it, with little or no subjective modality. But the position and attitude of the paper, nonetheless, become clear from the choice not only of subject-matter but also of words denoting international or domestic issues.

Belles-lettres style, or the style of creative literature may be called the richest register of communication: besides its own language means which are not used in any other sphere of commu-nication, belles-lettres style makes ample use of other styles too, for in numerous works of literary art we find elements of scientific, official and other functional types of speech. Besides informative and persuasive functions, also found in other functional styles, the belles-lettres style has a unique task to impress the reader aesthetically. The form becomes meaningful and carries additional information as you must have seen from previous chapters. Boundless possibilities of expressing one's thoughts and feelings make the belles-lettres style a highly attractive field of investigation for a linguist.

Speaking of belles-lettres style most scholars almost automati-cally refer to it prose works, regarding poetrythe domain of a special poetic style. Viewed diachronically this opinion does not seem controversial, for poems of previous centuries, indeed, adhered to a very specific vocabulary and its ordering. But poetry of the twentieth century does not show much difference from prosaic vocabulary, its subjects are no more limited to several specific "poetic" fields but widely cover practically all spheres of existence of contemporary man. So it is hardly relevant to speak of a separate poetic style meaning contemporary literature.

Finishing this brief outline of functional styles observed in modern English, it is necessary to stress again, two points. The first one concerns the dichotomy - written::oral, which is not synonymous to the dichotomy-literary-colloquial, the former opposition meaning the form of presentation, the latter - the choice of language means. There are colloquial messages in the written form (such as personal letters, informal notes, diaries and journals) and vice versa, we have examples of literary discourses in the oral form (as in a recital, lecture, report, paper read at a conference, etc.).

The second point deals with the flexibility of style boundaries: the borders within which a style presumably functions are not rigid and allow various degrees of overlapping and melting into each other. It is not accidental that rather often we speak of inter-mediate cases such as the popular scientific style which combines the features of scientific and belles-lettres styles, or the style

of new journalism which is a combination of publicist, newspaperand belles-lettres styles, etc.

Exercise. Analyse the peculiarities of functional styles in the following examples:

1. Nothing could be more obvious, it seems to me, than that
art shouldbe moraland that the first business of criticism, at
least some of the time, should be to judge works of literature
(or painting or even music) on grounds of the production's
moral worth. By "moral" I do not mean some such timid evasion
as "not too blatantly immoral". It is not enough to say, with the
support of mountains of documentation from sociologists, psychi-
atrists, and the New York City Police Department, that television
is a bad influence when it actively encourages pouring gasoline
on people and setting fire to them. On the contrary, television -
or any other more or less artistic medium - is good (as opposed to pernicious or vacuous) only when it has a clear positive moral effect, presenting valid models for imitation, eternal verities worth keeping in mind, and a benevolent vision of the possible which can inspire and incite human beings towards virtue, towards life affirmation as opposed to destruction or indifferences. This obviously does not mean that art should hold upcheap or cornball models of behaviour, though even those do more good in the short run than does, say, an attractive bad model like the quick-witted cynic so endlessly celebrated in light-hearted films about voluptuous women and international intrigue. In the long run, of course, cornball morality leads to rebellion and the loss of faith. (J. G.)

2. In tagmemics we make a crucial theoretical difference
between the grammatical hierarchy and the referential one
In a normal instance of reporting a single event in time, the two
are potentially isomorphic with coterminous borders. But when
simultaneous, must be sequenced in the report. In some cases, a
chronological or logical sequence can in English be partially or
completely changed in presentational order (e. g. told backwards);
when this is done, the referential structure of the tale is unaffected,
rut the grammatical structure of the telling is radically altered.
Grammatical order is necessarily linear (since words come out
of the mouth one at a time), but referential order is at least poten-
tially simultaneous.

Describing a static situation presents problems parallel to nose of presenting an event involving change or movement. Both static and dynamic events are made linear in grammatical presentation even if the items or events are, referentially speaking, simultaneous in space or time. (K. Pk.)

 


3.Techniques of comparison form a natural part of the
literary critic's analytic and evaluative process: in discussing one
work, critics frequently have in mind, and almost as frequently
appeal to, works in the same or another language. Comparative
literature systematically extends this latter tendency, aiming to
enhance awareness of the qualities of one work by using the
products of another linguistic culture as an illuminating context;
or studying some broad topic or theme as it is realized ("trans-
formed") in the literatures of different languages. It is worth
insisting on comparative literature's kinship with criticism in gen-
eral, for there is evidently a danger that its exponents may
seek to argue an unnatural distinctiveness in their activities
(this urge to establish a distinct identity is the source of many
unfruitfully abstract justifications of comparative literature); and on
the other hand a danger that its opponents may regard the
discipline as nothing more than demonstration of "affinities"
and "influences" among different literatures - an activity which is not critical at all, belonging rather to the categorizing spirit of literary history. (R. F.)

4. Caging men as a means of dealing with the problem of crime
is a modern refinement of man's ancient and limitless inhumanity,
as well as his vast capacity for self-delusion. Murderers and
felons used to be hanged, beheaded, flogged, tortured, broken
on the rack, blinded, ridden out of town on a rail, tarred and
feathered, or arrayed in the stocks. Nobody pretended that such
penalties were anything other than punishment and revenge.
Before nineteenth-century American developments, dungeons
were mostly for the convenient custody of political prisoners,
debtors, and those awaiting trial. American progress with many
another gim "advance", gave the world the penitentiary.

In 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush read to a small gathering in the Philadelphia home of Benjamin Franklin a paper in which he said that the right way to treat offenders was to cause them to repent of their crimes. Ironically taken up by gentle Quakers, Rush's notion was that offenders should be locked alone in cells, day and night, so that in such awful solitude they would have nothing to do but to ponder their acts, repent, and reform. To this day, the American liberal-progressive-idea persists that there is some way to make people repent and reform. Psychiatry, if not solitude will provide perfectability.

Three years after Rush proposed it, a single-cellular peniten-tiary was established in the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia. By the 1830s, Pennsylvania had constructed two more state penitentiaries, that followed the Philadelphia reform idea. Mean-while, in New York, where such reforms as the lock-step had

 


been devised, the "Auburn system" evolved from the Pennsylvania program. It provided for individual cells and total silence, but added congregate employment in shops, fields, or quarries during a long, hard working day. Repressive and undeviating routine, unremitting labor, harsh subsistence conditions, and frequent floggings complemented the monastic silence; so did striped uniforms and the great wall around the already secure fortress. The auburn system became the model for American penitentiaries in most of the states, and the lofty notions of the Philadelphians soon were lost in the spirit expressed by Elam Lynds, the first warden of Sing Sing (built in 1825): "Reformation of the criminal could not possibly be effected until the spirit of the criminal was broken."

The nineteenth-century penitentiary produced more mental break-downs, suicides, and deaths than repentance. "I believe," wrote Charles Dickens, after visiting such an institution, "that very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers." Yet, the idea persisted that men could be reformed (now we say "rehabilitated") in such hellholes - a grotesque derivation from the idea that man is not only perfectable but rational enough to determine his behavior through self-interest.

A later underpinning of the nineteenth-century prison was its profitability. The sale and intraprison use of prison-industry prod-ucts fitted right into the productivity ethic of a growing nation. Convicts, moreover, could be and were in some states rented out like oxen to upright businessmen. Taxpayers were happy, cheap labor was available, and prison officials, busily developing their bureaucracies, saw their institutions entrenched. The American prison system - a design to reform criminals by caging humans -found a permanent place in American society and flourished largely unchanged into the twentieth century. In 1871, a Virginia court put the matter in perspective when it ruled that prisoners were "slaves of the state". (Wic.)

5. Winter was coming on - the terrible Russian winter. I heard business men speak of it so: "Winter was always Russia's best friend. Perhaps now it will rid us of Revolution." On the freezing front miserable armies continued to starve and die, without enthusiasm. The railways were breaking down, food lessening, factories closing. The desperate masses cried out that the bour-geoisie was sabotaging the life of the people, causing defeat on the Front. Riga had been surrendered just after General Kornilov said publicly, "Must we pay with Riga the price of bringing the country to a sense of its duty?"


To Americans it is incredible that the class war should develop to such a pitch. But I have personally met officers on the Northern Front who frankly preferred' military disaster to cooperation with the Soldiers' Committees. The secretary of the Petrograd branch of the Cadet party told me that the break-down of the country's economic life was part of a campaign to discredit the Revolution. An Allied diplomat, whose name I promised not to mention, confirmed this from his own knowledge. I know of certain coal-mines near Kharkov which were fired and flooded by their owners, of textile factories at Moscow whose engineers put the machinery out of order when they left, of railroad official caught by the workers in the act of crippling locomotives.

A large section of the propertied classes preferred the Germans to the Revolution - even to the Provisional Government - and didn't hesitate to say so. In the Russian household where I lived, the subject of conversation at the dinner-table was almost invariably the coming of the Germans, bringing "law and order". One evening I spent at the house of a Moscow merchant; during tea we asked the eleven people at the table whether they preferred "Wilhelm or the Bolsheviki". The vote was ten for Wilhelm.

The speculators took advantage of the universal disorganiza-tion to pile up fortunes, and to spend them in fantastic revelry or the corruption of Government officials. Foodstuff and fuel were hoarded, or secretly sent out of the country to Sweden. In the first four months of the Revolution, for example, the reserve foodsupplies were almost openly looted from the great Municipal warehouses of Petrograd, until the two-years provision of grain had fallen to less than enough to feed the city for one month. According to the official report of the last Minister of Supplies in the Provisional Government, coffee was bought wholesale in Vladivostok for two roubles a pound and the consumer in Petrograd paid thirteen. In all the stores of the large cities were tons of food and clothing; but only the rich could buy them. (J. R.)

6. Professor W. H. Leeman

79 Rigby Drive London

Dorset, Merseyside 10th March 19...

Dear Sir!

Contributed papers accepted for the Conference will be presented in oral sessions or in poster sessions, each type of presentation being considered of equal importance for the success of the conference. The choice between the one or the other way of presentation will be made by the Programme Committee.

 


The first is a ten-minute talk in a conventional session, followed by a poster presentation in a poster area. In the poster period (about two hours) authors will post visual material about their work on a designated board and will be prepared to present details and answer questions relating to their paper. The second mode of presentation is the conventional format of twenty-minute talks without poster periods. This will be used for some sessions, particularly those for which public discussion is especially important or for which there is a large well-defined audience.

Sincerely T. W. Thomas, Chairman.

7. My Lord, February 7th, 1755

I have been lately informed, by the proprietor of 'The World", that two papers, in which my "Dictionary" is recommended to the public, were written by your Lordship. To be so distinguished is an honour, which, being very little accustomed to favours from the great, I know not well how to receive or in what terms to acknowledge.

When, with some slight encouragement, I first visited your Lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the en-chantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself "Le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre",-that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all that I could; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

Seven years, My Lord, have now passed since I waited in your outward rooms or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before. The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with love, and found him a native of the rocks. Is not a patron, My Lord, one, who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?

The notice you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary and cannot impart it; till I am known and do not want it. I hope it is no very


cynical asperity, not to confess obligations when no benefit has been received; or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron, which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.

Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to any favourer of learning, I shall now be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation,

My Lord

Your Lordship's most humble, most obedient Servant Sam Jonson. Liverpool, 17th July 19... .

8. Messrs. M. Worthington & Co., Ltd., Oil Importers, c/o Messrs. Williams & C; Ship Agents, 17 Fenchurch Street, London, E., C, England Dear Sirs,

Re: 9500 tons of Edible Oil under. В/LNos.: 2732, 3734, 4657 m/t Gorky ar'd 16.07.

In connection with your request to start discharging the above cargo first by pumping out bottom layer into barges and then to go on with pumping the rest of the cargo into shore tanks I wish to point out the following.

As per clause of the Bill of Lading "Weight, quantity and quality unknown to me" the carrier is not responsible for the quantity and quality of the goods, but it is our duty to deliver the cargo in the same good order and conditions as located, it means that we are to deliver the cargo in accordance with the measurements taken after loading and in conformity with the samples taken from each tank on completion of loading.

Therefore if you insist upon such a fractional layer discharging of this cargo, I would kindly ask you to send your representative to take joint samples and measurements of each tank, on the understanding that duplicate samples, jointly taken and sealed, will be kept aboard our ship for further reference. The figures, obtained from these measurements and analyses will enable you to give us clean receipts for the cargo in question, after which we shall immediately start discharging the cargo in full compliance with your instructions.

It is, of course, understood, that, inasmuch as such discharging is not in strict compliance with established practice, you will bear all the responsibility, as well as the expenses and / or consequences arising therefrom, which please confirm.

 


Yours faithfully С. I. Sh....

Master of the m / t Gorky 2.38 p. m.

9. Speech of Viscount Simon of the House of Lords:

Defamation Bill 3.12 p.m.

The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, made a speech of much persuasiveness on the second reading raising this point, and today as is natural and proper, he has again presented with his usual skill, and I am sure with the greatest sincerity, many of the same considerations. I certainly do not take the view that the argument in this matter is all on the side. One could not possibly say that when one considers that there is considerable academic opinion at the present time in favour of this change and in view of the fact that there are other countries under the British Flag where, I understand, there was a change in the law, to a greater or less degree, in the direction which the noble and learned Earl so earnestly recommends to the House. But just as I am very willing to accept the view that the case for resisting the noble Earl's Amendment is not overwhelming, so I do not think it reasonable that the view should be taken that the argument is practically and considerably the other way. The real truth is that, in framing statuary provisions about the law of defamation, we have to choose the sensible way between two principles, each of which is greatly to be admired but both of which run into some conflict. (July 28, 1952.)

10. DEPENDENT

STUDENTS who want a bigger say in the running of univer-sities will be reindorced in their view by the latest effort of the vice-chancellor of Liverpool University and some other academics.

Today these allegedly wise and learned individuals issue, under the patronage of the Right-Wing Institute of Economic Affairs a statement of the "urgency of establishing an inde-pendent university".

By "independent" they mean one which is dependent on finance from rich private individuals and Big Business, instead of from the Government.

It is a monstrous misuse of the English language to claim that such a university would be independent. It would depend entirely on the good will of the rich, and would find its finances cut off immediately if it displeased them.

Universities already have to rely too much on Big Business sources of finance, including from US and other firms engaged in war preparations.

 


Whatever criticisms there may be about the Government's part in their finance at any rate there is some possibility of democratic control over the public money allocated to the universities.

There would be none if it all came as a result of boardroom decisions (M. St.)

11. Great March for Black-White Solidarity

Britain's labour movement embarked in united force on the fight against racism when 25,000 people demonstrated in London yesterday to affirm their solidarity with black workers.

Their march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square gave a sample of the massive strength which the movement can mobilize to crash an evil which one speaker warned had become "almost institutionalized" in Britain.

The broad array of speakers in the square and of mass organi-zations on the march also showed this movement's potential might when it acts in unity.

It was the same point made four days earlier by another in London in which 80,000 people demonstrated against government cuts in public spending.

A hundred Labour Party, TUC and black people's leaders were at the front of yesterday's, as it headed out of the park behind a "United Against Racism" banner.

As the head of the column reached Piccadilly Circus, marchers six and eight abreast were still leaving the park. A vast number of red, white and gold union and other banners, too many to list, glinted in the sun.

Among them, too, came student branches from many colleges and universities, Labour and Communist Party organizations.

Various Indian workers' associations, the standing Conference of Pakistanis, The South African Congress of Trade Unions, and many other bodies were also represented on the march. (M. St.)

12. In most countries, foreign languages have traditionally
been taught for a small number of hours per week, but for
several years on end. Modern thought on this matter suggests that
telescoping language courses brings a number of unexpected
advantages. Thus it seems that a course of 500 hours spread over
five years is much less effective than the same course spread
over one year, while if it were concentrated into six months it
might produce outstanding results. One crucial factor here is the
reduction in opportunities for forgetting; however, quite apart
from the difficulty of making the time in school time-tables when
some other subject would inevitably have to be reduced, there is
a limit to the intensity of language teaching which individuals can
tolerate over a protracted period. It is clear that such a limit

 


exists; it is not known in detail how the limit varies for different individuals, nor for different age-groups, and research into these factors is urgently needed. At any rate, a larger total number of hours per week and a tendency towards more frequent teaching periods are the two aspects of intensity which are at present being tried out in many places, with generally encouraging results (P. St.)

13. I deal with farmers, things like dips and feed.
Every third month I book myself in at

The------------------ Hotel in-------------------- ton for three days.

The boots carries my lean old leather case

Up to a single, where I hang my hat.

One beer, and then "the dinner", at which I read

The------------------ shire Times from soup to stewed pears.

Births, deaths. For sale. Police court. Motor spares

Afterwards, whisky in the Smoke Room:.Clough,

Margetts, the Captain, Dr. Watterson:

Who makes ends meet, who's taking the knock,

Government tariffs, wages, price of stock.

Smoke hangs under the light. The pictures on

The walls are comic-hunting, the trenches, stuff

Nobody minds or notices. A sound

Of dominoes from the Bar. I stand a round. (Ph. L.)

14. Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging, I look down.

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds Bends low, comes up twenty years away Stooping in rhythm through potato drills Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft

Against the inside knee was levered firmly.

He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep

To scatter new potatoes that we picked

Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

My God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man. (S. H.)

 





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