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Paradigmatic stylistics

(Stylistics of units)

<- 1. Phonetics <- 2. Morphology <- 3. Lexicology <- 4. Syntax <- 5. Semasiology

-> Syntagmatic -> stylistics

-> (Stylistics of -> sequences)


Paradigmatic stylistics

Looking closer into this system we'll be able to distinguish specific units and their stylistic potentials or functions. Thus paradigmatic stylistics (stylistics of units) is subdivided into five branches.

Paradigmatic phoneticsactually describes phonographical stylistic features of a written text. Since we cannot hear written speech but in our "mind" writers often resort to graphic means to reproduce the phonetic peculiarities of individual speech or dialect. Such intentional non-standard spelhng is called "graphons" (a term borrowed from V. A. Kucharenko).

I know these Eye-talians! (Lawrence) - in this case the graphon is used to show despise or contempt of the speaker for Italians.

In Cockney speech whose phonetic peculiarities are all too well known you'll hear [ai] in place of [ei], [a:] instead of [au], they drop "h's" and so on. It frequently becomes a means of speech characterisation and often creates a humorous effect.

The author illustrates it with a story of a cockney family trying to impress a visitor with their "correct" English:

"Faiher, said one of the children at breakfast. - I want some more 'am please".-You mustn't say 'am, my child, the correct form is 'am, - retorted his father, passing the plate with sliced ham on it. "But I did say 'am, pleaded the boy". "No, you didn't: you said 'am instead-of 'am". The mother turned to the guest smiling: "Oh, don't mind them, sir, pray. They are both trying to say 'am and both think it is 'am they are saying" (47, p. 41).

Other graphic means to emphasise the "unheard" phonetic charecter-istics such as the pitch ofvoice, the stress, and other melodic features are italics, capitalisation, repetition of letters, onomatopoeia (sound imitation).

E.g. I AM sorry; "Аррееее Noooooyeeeeerr" (Happy New Year); cock-a-doodle-doo.

Paradigmatic morphologyobserves the stylistic potentials of grammar forms, which Leech would describe as deviant. Out of several va­rieties of morphological categorial forms the author chooses a less predictable or unpredictable one, which renders this form some stylistic connotation. The peculiar use of a number of grammatical categories for stylistic purposes may serve as an ample example of this type of expressive means.

The use of a present tense of a verb on the background of a past-tense narration got a special name historical present in linguistics.

E. g. What else do I remember? Let me see.

There comes out of the cloud our house... (Dickens)

Another category that helps create stylistic colouring is that of gender. The result of its deviant use is personification and depersonification. As Skrebnev points out although the morphological category of gender is practically non-existent in modern English special rules concern whole classes of nouns that are traditionally associated with feminine or masculine gender. Thus countries are generally classed as feminine (France sent her representative to the conference.) Abstract notions associated with strength and fierceness are personified as masculine while feminine is associated with beauty or gentleness (death, fear, war, anger - he, spring, peace, kindness - she). Names of vessels

and other vehicles (ship, boat, carriage, coach, car) are treated as feminine.

Another deviant use of this category according to Skrebnev is the use of animate nouns as inanimate ones that he terms "depersonification" illustrated by the following passage:

"Where did you find it?" asked Mord Em'ly of Miss Gilliken with a satirical accent.

"Who are you calling "it"?" demanded Mr. Barden aggressively. "P'raps you'll kindly call me 'im and not it". (Partridge)

Similar cases of deviation on the morphological level are given by the author for the categories of person, number, mood and some others.

Paradigmatic lexicologysubdivides English vocabulary into stylistic layers. In most works on this problem (cf. books by Galperin, Arnold, Vinogradov) all words of the national language are usually described in terms of neutral, literary and colloquial with further subdivision into poetic, archaic, foreign, jargonisms, slang, etc.

Skrebnev uses different terms for practically the same purposes. His terminology includes correspondingly neutral, positive (elevated) and negative (degraded) layers.

Subdivision inside these categories is much the same with the exclusion of such groups as bookish and archaic words and special terms that Galperin, for example, includes into the special literary vocabulary (described as positive in Skrebnev's system) while Skrebnev claims that they may have both a positive and negative styUstic function depending on the purpose of the utterance and the context. The same consideration concerns the so-called barbarisms or foreign

words whose stylistic value (elevated or degraded) depends on the kind of text in which they are used. To illustrate his point Skrebnev gives two examples of barbarisms used by people of different social class and age. Used by an upper-class character from John Galsworthy the word chic has a tinge of elegance showing the character's knowledge of French. He maintains that Itahan words ciao and bambino current among Russian youngsters at one time were also considered stylistically 'higher' than their Russian equivalents. At the same time it's hard to say whether they should ah be classified as positive just because they are of foreign origin. Each instance of use should be considered individually.

Stylistic differentiation suggested by Skrebnev includes the following stratification

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