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Библиографическая запись: Stylistics. — Текст : электронный // – информационный филологический ресурс : [сайт]. – URL: (дата обращения: 4.12.2023)




    Expressive means of the language

    Language can be neutral and expressive. Expressiveness can be distinguished at all levels of the language. The expressive means of the language are phonetic, morphological, word-building, lexical, phraseological and syntactical forms that exist in the language as a system for the purpose of logical and emotional intensification of the utterance. expressive means exist on all the levels of the language. The most powerful are phonetic expressive means including stress, whispering, high/fall alliteration.

    Morphological expressive means include the use of second and third persons.

    Word-building expressive means - the use of deminuative suffixes, such as -y (frequently used). On the lexical level we distinguish neutral vocabulary and exressive vocabulary. [to die - to go West, to work - to labour, fear - horror]. Proverbs also belong to the expressive vocabulary. On the syntactical level we distinguish between the inversion and repetition.

    A stylistic device is a conscious and intentional intencification of some typical structural or semantic property of a language unit (word, word combination or sentence) promoted to a generalised stater and thus become a generative model. stylistic devices are built according to a fixed model [a nice table, a tasty table, an angry table; a tasty table - a case of metonomy, an angry table - a transfered epithet]. Expressive means are trite and frequently employed. Stylistic devices are geniune to a certain extent. Stylistic devices belong to the language in use. Expressive means belong to the language as a system. Expressive means are fixed in the dictionaries. According to their structure expressive means and stylistic devices can be the same [a cold day - expressive means, a sparkling day - a stylistic device]. Exits own features and qualitiespressive means have a trite emotive meaning. Stylistic devices have very conspiuitive emotive meaning.

    The spoken and written varieties of the language

    The spoken variety was recognised a couple of decades ago. Originally the written variety is more ancient and better studied. Both varieties are different according to the two principles: the aim of communication and the situation of communication. Of the two varieties of the language diachronically the spoken one is primary. Each of these varieties has developed its own features and qualities, which in many ways may be regarded as opposed to each other. The oral variety is maintained in the form of a dialogue. Written in a form of a monologue. The oral variety presupposes the existence of inteloqutor and it is characterised by the speech melody, rhythm, rhyme, individual picularities of the voice. the written variety is deprived of it.

    Pecularities of the oral variety:

    • abundant use of ellypes [happy to meet you; who you will?]

    By the notion of ellypses we understand a simple sentence with the subject or part of a predicate. The object is ommited and the parts which are ommitted can be reconstructed by the means of a situation.

    • the use of the direct word order in questions or ommissions of auxilliary verbs [you have been to school?]
    • the abundant use of shortenings
    • emphatic constructions and words [naive that she is].
    • incompleteness of the sentences [you don't come, she will].
    • the absence of articles and prepositions <when, which> [I don't know he'll be here].
    • vocabulary pecularities <abundant use of colloquial and neutral vocabulary> [infant - child - kid]
    • the use of simple tenses

    Pecularities of the written language

    • it is carried out in the form of a monologue; the time of the text perception is different; the author has the time to think the text over.
    • the written text is characterised by the developed description, beautiful wording, description of details, exact wording.
    • it is characterised by the text segmentation, thus the text falls into paragraphers, chapters, books, volumes, syntactical periods.
    • the written text is characterised by complex syntactical constructions, use of the participle, the participal complex, infinitive, gerund.
    • the absence of ellypses, conjunctions
    • the completeness of the information, no incomplete sentences
    • repetitions, parallel constructions, inversions.

    Meanings of a word

    The lexical meaning of any word is the substance of the word which, being reflected in the minds of people who use the language, contains the fixed notion of the thing or process, which this object denotes.

    Any word exists in the language in use; thus it developes the so called contextual meaning, which is a meaning, viewed as a category, which is able to acquire the meaning imposed on the word by the context.

    Primary or dictionary/first meaning exists both in the language as a system and in the language in use. It can be emotive meaning and exist in the language as a system. It is materialised as denoting the object. Emotive meaning has references, denoting not a phenomena, but feelings and emotions of the speaker to words [I feel so damned lonely!]. Sometimes a word has ermotive meaning only. [She was not a  flirt, not even a coquette]. These words denote a person, who tries to attract the opposite sex. But they both have acquired a derogatory shade of meaning and this shade may grow into indepemdent meaning fixed in dictionaries with special emotive meanings.

    Emotional meaning can ber found in language in use only. Thus, a word has a contextual emotive meaning. The context can often show if the word should be taken as an objective expression or if it can arouse emotional meaning. [Or wall, or sweet lovely wall!]. A colourless, everyday term, acquires emotional obertones. Emotive meaning of words plays an important role in stylistics while emotional colouring may be regarded as a stage of emotive meaning. Anything having a strong impact on our senses may be considered as having emotive meaning.

    Evaluated meaning is used both in the language as a system and in use. Here words are divided by positive, negative and neutral evaluation.

    Figurative meaning exists in language in use only. [No help was need]. The word "help" was used in its figurative meaning, substituiting the word "resque".

    Primary and secondary meanings

    Some dictionaries give a very extended list of primary and secondary meanings of a word. It's essential for stylistic purposes to distinguish them as some stylistic devices are built on the interplay of these meanings [inwardly - 1) within; 2) secretly].

    Special literary vocabulary and terms

    Terms are easily coined and accepted and the new coinages easily replace the out-of-date ones. Thus we speak about highly conventional character of terms. Characteristic feature of terms is their derived relevance to the system or set of terms used in a particular science, discipline or art.

    A term is directly connected with the concept it denotes and unlike other words it directs the mind to the essential quality of a thing, phenomenon or action as seen by the scientists. It may be said that terms belong to the style of science, but they can also be found in newspaper style, publicistic and public style. However their functions does change. If it is used in the literature, then a term may become a stylistic device. The function of terms is to indicate the technical pecularities of the subject or to make some references to the occupation of the character.

    With the increase of general education and expansion of techniquessome terms have lost their quality as terms and have passed into the common literary or even common vocabulary. This process is called determinization, when words become re-established in their therminological function.

    But the terms are used in their normal function in the belles-lettres style; they should be easily understood from the context and the function of these words is not terminological but stylistic.

    If a term used in the belles-lettres style sets the reader at odds with the text, we observe a stylistic effect, caused either by a specific use of terms, used in their proper meaning or by the realization of the two meanings.

    Poetic and highly literary words

    Their main function is to sustain a special evaluated atmosphere of poetry. Poetic words form an insignificant layer of special literary vocabulary. They are mostly archaic or very rarely used highly literary words. On the whole they are detached from the common literary vocabulary. The use of poetic words doesn't as a rule create the atmosphere of poetry, but it substitutes its expressiveness.

    The common way of creating such words is compounding [young-eyed, rosy-fingered]. Poetic words and expressions are understandable to a limited number of readers. In modern poetry words are often used in strange combinations [the sound of shame].

    Archaic words

    These words are divided into the three groups: archaic, obsolescent, obsolete. There are three stages in the aging processes of words:

    • they become rarely used; they are in the stage of gradually passing out from use; these are the morphological forms belonging to the earlier stage of the development of the language [thee, thou], corresponding verbal endings [thou makest], many French borrowings [palfreu]
    • they have already gone completely out of use and are still recognised by the English-speaking people. [me thinks = it seems to me, nay = no].
    • archaic words proper is no longer recognisable in modern English; such words were in use during the Old English period, are earlier dropped out of the language or have changed in the appearance so much that they have become unrecognizable [losso =lazy fellow].

    Obsolescent words are used in different kinds of documents and legal English. Obsolent words are used mostly in poetry. Archaic words are also used to create an evaluated effect. Thus, the use of archaic words is astylistic device. In historical novels they create an atmosphere of the past. In the depiction of events of the present they assume the function of a stylistic device proper. The stylistic functions of the archaic words are based on the temporary perception of the event. Even when used in a terminological aspect they create a special atmosphere in the utterance.

    Barbarisms and foreignisms

    Barbarisms are words of foreign origin, which haven't been entirely assimilated into the english language. Tey bear the appearance of a borrowing and are felt as something alien to the naitive tongue. They form a great part of the English vocabulary. The science studying such words is called etymology. However they are considered to be on the outskirts of the literary language. Barbarisms have become facts of the English vocabulary.

    Foreign words do not belong to the English vocabulary and they are not registered in the english dictionaries and often are to be explained.

    Barbarisms are a historical category. Words enter the class of words named barbarisms and many of them gradually merged with the native English vocabulary (conscious, retrogate). Both barbarisms and foreign words are widely used in various styles, but they have mainly local colour, concerning customs and habits describe conditions of life and are referred to concrete events. They are foreignisms in belles-lettres and publicistic.

    Literary coinages (none-words)

    Neologism is a new word or a new meaning for an established word. When a word or a meaning is fixed in dictionaries, it is no longer new.

    Some words are cined to be used at the moment of speech, possessing the property of temporariness. New coinages may become synonyms of some old words or substitute them.

    • terminological coinages, indicating new-born concepts, which may result from the science or used with the need to understand the nature of the phenomenon better [computer].
    • stylistic coinages are coined because their creators seek expressive utterance [thingism].
    • none-words are coined for a particular occasion [I'm wifed in taxes and mother-in-lawed, and uncled, and aunted, and cousened within the inch of my life].

    General principles of standard classification of the English Vocabulary

    The vocabulary classification is important for stylistic purposes as some stylistic devices are based on the interplay of different stylistic aspects of words. The wordstock of English can be divided into the three main layers:

    • literary

    consists of the groups of words, accepted legitimate members of the English Vocabulary; they have no dialectual or local, but bookish character, which made them stable; the literary vocabulary consists of common literary, sewn poetic, archaic words, barbarisms, foreign words and literary coinages.

    • neutral

    universal character, unrestricted in use; it can be employed in all styles of the languageand in all spheres of activities; it's the most stable layer.

    • colloquial

    limited to a definite language community or to a special locality; it's aspect is its spoken character, which makes it unstable; this layer consists of common colloquial words, slang, jargonisms, professional words, dialectual words, vulgar words, colloquial coinages.

    All these three layers are groupped under the term Standard English Vocabulary. Other groups are regarded as special literary vocabulary [kid - child - infant]. Neutral, common literary and common colloquial vocabulary form the bulk of the English Vocabulary. They are used both in literary and colloquial language. They are the main source of synonimy and polysemy. They are fruitful in the production of the new coinages/meanings. The most neutral English words are those of monosyllabic character. The development of conversion is the most productive means of word-building. Unlike all the other groups, the neutral words can be considered as having a special stylistic colouring. Common literary words are mostly used in writting, literary units, standing in opposition to colloquial units. One can always tell a literary word from a colloquial one. Yet no objective criteria for it have been worked out. The main distinction between the synonyms remains stylistic. Colloquial words are more emotionally coloured than literary. Neutral words have no degree of emotiveness. Both literary and colloquial words have their upper and lower ranges. For literary words the lower range aproaches the neutral layer and has a tendency to pass to the lower layers. The lines of demarkation between these layers are blurred. Common colloquial vocabulary is considered to be a part of the Standard English Vocabulary. It boards on the neutral and special colloquial vocabulary. Some of the lexical items are close to the non-standrard colloquial groups, such as jargonisms. Other words approach the neutral bulk of the English Vocabulary. Thus, the words "teenager" and "hippie" are colloquial words, passing into the neutral English Vocabulary. Thast is because they are losing their non-standard character, becoming wider recognised.

    The spoken language is full of set expressions [to be up to sth.]. The stylistic function of the different layers of the English Vocabulary depends on the interaction when they are opposed to each other. It is interesting that anything written assumes a greater degree of significance, than spoken. If the spoken takes place of the written or vice verse, it is a stylistic device.  


    Slang seems to mean everything that lays below the Standard English. There's no more or less satisfactory definition of this ambiguious term. No other European language has singled out a special layer of Vocabulary and named it slang.

    Slang is:

    • a language of a highly colloquial style laying below the level of educated speech and consisting of words or of current words, employed in some special sense.
    • the special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low character; thus, slang is represented both as a special vocabulary and a special language, and so, it causes confussion.

    Slang requires constant innovation, so that words are replaced by new slangisms. Many words formally labelled as slang have become units of Standard English [kid]. The term "slang" should be used for those forms of English which are distorted in dsome way - phonetically, morphologically or lexically and also to some elements, that can be called overcolloquial. Slang is a deviation from the established low level of the colloquial vocabulary [to take stock in = to be interrupted, orout = nonsense]. There're many kinds of slang - public, house, commercial, military. There is a standard slang, which is a way of speaking, using special words and phrases in some special sense. Here we speak about jargonisms.

    A jargon is a term for a group of words existing in every language, aimed at preserving secrecy within one or another social group.

    There are mainly old words with the new meanings [louf = hat, greese = money, tiger hunter = gambler]. Jargonisms are social in character and not regional (the jargon of thieves, sportsmen). Jargon remains a foreign language for the outsiders of any social group. Slang needs no translation, while jargon is a code. It sometimes becomes recognized in the literary language of the country [fan, queer]. But on the whole jargonisms are special groups within the non-literary layer of words. There is a common jargon for all social groups, easily understood by everybody.

    Professionalisms are used in a definite trade, profession or by people with common interests. They are correlated to terms.

    Professionalisms are special words in the non-literary layer of the English Vocabulary, though terms belong to the literary layer. The thing is that professionalisms remain in circulation within a definite community, while terms belong to science. Professionalism are monosemantic [teens fish = submarin]. Professionalisms are used in emotive descriptions to depict the natural speech of character to show his psychology.

    Dialectual words are in the process of the integration into the English Neutral Language, remain beyond its literary boundaries and their use is referred to a definite layer (lower). They are recognised as Standard Colloquial English [lassie = a girl, lad = a young man, duft = silly]. Dialectual words are mostly found in the style of emotive description. Thus they characterised personalities through speech.

    Vulgarisms are swear words of an abuisive character [demon, to Hell, goddamn], and obscene words. They are of Anglo-Saxon character and are never to aquire the status of Standard English though they are widely used.

    Colloquial coinages or non-words are spontaneous. They are not fixed in dictionaries. They dissapear from the language without a trace. Built by means of affixes they are based on certain semantic changes of words [to be the limit = unbearable]. Semantic changes in word meaning can be really striking [expeculiar = odd].

    Phonetic expressive means

    Onomatopoeia is the reproduction of the sounds existing in nature and surrounding world (wind, thunder, laughter). There are two types of it:

    • direct, which is imitation of sounds produced by animate objects or animals
    • indirect, which is a combination of sounds, aimed at making the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense. [And the silken, sad, uncertain/Rustling of each purple curtain...] - the repetition of "s" produces the effect of rustling.

    Alliteration is aimed at imparting a melodic effect of the utterance, which goes from the repitition of similiar sounds (consonant sounds)particulary at the begining of words. It also aims at giving a logical stress to the main concept (it doesn't bear any lexical or other meaning). Allusion is deeply rooted in the traditions of English folklore [the fair breeze blew/the white foam flew/the furrow followed free; Sense and Sensibility; to rob Peter to pay Paul].

    Rhyme is a repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations in words. In verse rhyming words are usually placed at the end of lines, but the similarity of sound combinations can be different.

    • complete or fall rhyme is represented by the identical vowel sound and the following consonant in a stressed syllable [might - write, good - stood].
    • incomplete rhyme can be vowel [flesh - fresh - press] and consonant [laugh - prof, have - grave, dear - bear]; it can be percieved only in written form.
    • compound is the combination of words is made to sound one word [forget-me-not].

    According to the way rhymes are arranged in the context: couplets [ai-ai], triple [a-a-a], cross [a-b-a-b], framing [a-b-b-a]. Internal rhyme are the rhyming words, which are placed within the line [I bring fresh showers for the thirsty flowers]

    Rhythm is a frequently or periodicity of contrasting segments of speech of long/short, stressed/unstressed, high/low alterations of similar units. It is the main factor that brings melody into the utterance. Rhythm in verse as a stylistic device is a combination of the ideal metrical scheme and its variations. It is determined by the character of syllables the verse contains.

    General classification of expressive means and stylistic devices

    1. Expressive means and stylistic devices are classified according to the principles of the levels of the language. We distinguish among phonetic, lexical, syntactical devices and expressive means. Lexical stylistic devices and expressive means are classified according to three principles:
    • interplay of different types of lexical meaning.

    Here we have metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron, irony, epithet, zeugma, pun; words in context may acquire additional lexical meanings, not fixed in dictionaries <contextual meaning>. This meaning sometimes deviate from the dictionary meaning to such a degree, that the new meaning becomes the opposite of the primary meaning. The transferred meaning will always depend on the dictionary/logical meaning to a greater or lesser degree. It is the correlation between the two types of lexical meaning: dictionary and contextual. In the context the word realizes one meaning. If two meanings are realized, it will make the understanding difficult. When a word realizes the primary logical and derivative meaning we register a stylistic device.

    • interplay between the primary dictionary and contextual meanings

    This process constitutes the: metaphor, based on the principle of identification of two objects; metonymy, based on the substitution of one object for another; irony, which is a contrary concept.

    The interplay of primary and derivative logical meaning <the meaning, which can be registered as a secondary one and which is derived from the primary meaning by means of metaphor and metonymy>. It consists of the following: zeugma, which is the use of the word in the same grammatical but different semantic relations to the two adjusted words; pun is a stylistic device based on the interaction of two well-known meanings of a word or phrase. The only reliable distinguishing feature between zeugma and pun is a structural one. Zeugma is a realization of two meanings wth a help of a verb, which is made to refer to different subjects r objects, while pun is more independent and can be realized within the limits of the context, paragraph, text or even the whole novel.

    • the interaction of logical <the precise naming of a feature, idea or phenomenon> and emotive <has reference to the feelings and emotions of the speaker towards the subject>.

    Here we have interjections, exclamatory words, which are words we use when we expressour feelings strongly, which may be said to exist in a language as conventional symbols of human emotions. Also epithet.

    Epithet is a stylistic device used to characterize an object, pointing out some of the properties or features of the object with the aim of giving an individual p;erception and evaluation of these features.

    Oxumoron is a combination of two words in which the meanings of the two clash, being opposite in sense.

    Intencification of certain features of the object, one of the qualities of the object in question is made to some degree essential (simile, hyperbole, periphrasis, euphemism).

    Simile is based on the characterisation of one , object by bringing it into contact with another object belonging to an entirely different class of things.

    Periphrasis has a form of a free word combination or a sentence which substitutes a certain notion or thing.

    Euphemism is a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one.

    Hyperbole is based on a deliberate exaggeration of a feature, essential to the object or phenomenon.

    The use of set expressions:

    Cliche is a commonly used expression that has become hackneyed.

    Proverbs and sayings are facts of language, which are collected in dictionaries and have typical features such as rhythm, rhyme, alliteration.

    Irony is a stylistic device, based on the simultaneous realization of the two logical meanings (dictionary and contextual), but both stay in opposition to each other; thus, the word which has a positive evaluation realizes negative evaluation in the context. [It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one's pocket].

    The word containing irony is marked by intonation. Irony can be realized by means of separate words, usually adjectives, adverbs or word combination or even by whole sentences. Irony can hardly be trite. Naturally, it is always original. It is used in humorous, satirical, comic prose. Irony is a device, usually used in the belles-lettres, publicistic and newspaper style. Irony mustn't be confused with humour. Irony produces a satirical effect, which is always negative, and it is the function of the text, while humour always causes laughter and produces a positive evaluaton of the object described.

    Expressive means based on the interaction of the primary and derivative meanings

    Derivative logical meaning can be regarded as a secondary one and which is derived from the primary one by means of metaphor or metonymy. In the context a word realizes one meaning, if two meanings are realized, it mixes the conversation. And when a word realizes the primary logical and derivative meanings, we register a stylistic device. Such interaction between the derivative and logical meanings constitutes a polysemantic stylistic device, when a word materializes several meanings in the context [Than hate me, you will, if ever now. Now while the world is bent by deeds to cross]. The primary meaning of the word "hate" is to "dislike strongly". This basic meaning has brought to life some derivatives [to bear malice to, to feel a repulsive attitude]. All these derivative meanings interact with the primary one and this network of meanings constitutes the polysemantic effect.

    Zeugma is the use of a word in the same grammatical, but different semantic relations to the two adjusted words [The patient failed to pay him a visit and a fee]. Zeugma is usually realized withinb the limits of one and the same sentence and is used in emotive styles (humorous, prose, poetry). The function of zeugma is to create a humorous effect. Zeugma is often used in the advertising and headlines to attract attention.

    Expressive means and stylistic devices based on the interaction of emotive and primary meanings

    Lexical stylistic devices include epithets, oxumoron, interjections. The main feature is that all of them realize to some extent the combination of primary dictionary and subjective emotive evaluating meanings.

    Logical meaning is the precise meaning of the idea, objest, the name by which we recognize a word.

    Emotive meaning materializes a concept of the word, but unlike logical meaning it has references not to the things or phenomena, but to feelings and emotions of the speaker towards the thing or to his emotions. Therefore the emotive meaning bears reference to things, phenomena or ideas through their evaluation.

    Emotive meaning is registered in the dictionary and is embedded in the structure of the word. "Good" has a positive emotive meaning.

    Emotional meaning is in the language in use only. It can't be registered in a dictionary; each word has either positive or negative meaning.

    Evaluated meaning can be positive or negative. Very often language evaluated meaning, situational and emotional meanings overlap.

    Figurative meaning is a concept developed through a kind of impression which has been produced by the concept [a warm man].

    Interjections are words we use when we express our feelings strongly and which may be said to exist in language as conventional symbols of emotions. They can be divided into primary <devoided of the language meaning and having only emotive meaning> [Ah! Oh!]. We regard them as negative. In the text they have emotive meaning; derivative - partly retained logical meaning, but emotional meaning is stronger [boy, well, fine]. Interjections may be divided into colloquial [gosh, well, why], bookish [alas], neutral [oh, ah].

    Classification of epithets

    Epithet is an interplay of logical, emotive, evaluative and figurative meanings. It has the following structure:

    adjective + noun [wild wind, loud ocean]

    verb + adverb [he laughed hartedly]

    There is a difference between the logical attribution and emotive. Logical attribution describes a quality inherent in the object [white snow], while epithet describes quality which is not or partially inherent to the object [heart-burning smile].

    Classification of epithets

    1. Semantically, epithets may be divided into two groups:
    2. a) associated is a point to a feature, which is essential to the object; they describe the idea which is to a certain extent inherent to the concept of the object [Dark Forest - the idea of the colour]
    3. b) unassociated are the attributes used to characterize the object by adding a feature which is not inherent in it; it will surprise the readers by unexpectedness and novelty; as a rule they are used to describe humour [bread-and-butter letter, stock question].

    There is no clear barrier between associated and unassociasted epithets. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between these two notions [restless sea].

    1. We distinguish figurative and non-figurative epithets based on their figurative basis. Figurative epithets are metaphorical [foxy fates], metonymical [Cold War, Golden Years], ironical []
    2. From the structural point of view epithets can be simple, compound [heart-burning smile], phrase [good-for-nothing boy], sentence [he spoke in what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it manner].
    3. Originally, epithets can be trite <expressive means of the language> [dark forest, Cold War] and geniune <a stylistic device which is always subjective, new, renders evaluation and modality, is stronger than trite>. [a joyful mountain top - an epithet based on metonymical periphrasis].
    4. From the point of view of distribution of the epithets we distinguish transferred epithets which are originally logical attributes and describe a state of a human being, but they be referred to an animate objects [sleepless pillow].

    String of epithets which gives a many-sided depiction of the object [rosy-cheecked, aple-faced young woman].

    Original unassociated epithets are used in belles-lettres style and poetry in abundance. In newspaper style we can come across a lot of cases of phrase and sentence epithets. Tried epithets are most powerful expressive means of the language in abundance.


    Oxumoron is a stylistic device based on the interrelation of primary logical and emotional types of meanings. structural models:

    • adjective + noun [sweet sorrow]
    • verb + adverb [peopled desert]

    It can be trite [awfully happy] and geniune [proud humidity]. It can be used widely to create a humorous effect in advertising, publicistic and belles-lettres style.


    Antonomasie is the interplay between the logical and nominal meanings of a word. Nominal meaning is that one, which, expressing concepts indicate a particular object out of it. [Society is now one polished horde, is formed of two mighty tribes: the Bores and the Bored - geniune antonomasie].

    It is very important to know that this device is mainly realized in the written speech , because generally the capital letters are the only signals to denote the presence of this stylistic device. In this example of the use of antonomasie the nominal meaning is hardly percieved, the logical meaning of the word being too strong. It is intended to point out the leading, most characteristical feature of a person or event at the same time pinning this leading trate as a proper name to the person or event concerned. It is a much favoured device in the belles-lettres style. In Russian literature it is employed by many of our classic writers [Korobochka, Sobakevich]. Now it is faling out of use. It's now not confined to the belles-lettres style, though it's often found in publicistic style - magazines, articles, essays, military language [I suspect that the Nos and Do Not Knows would...]


    It is an indirect reference by word or phrase to a historical, literary, mythological, Biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life made in a course of writting. The use of allusion presupposes the knowledge of the fact, thing or person, alluded to on the part of a reader or listener. As a rule, no indication of the source is given. This is one of the notable differences between quotation and allusion, plus there is a structural difference.

    Thus, quotation must repeat the exact wording of the original while the allusion is only a mention of a word of phrase, which is assumed to be known like an allusion, which serves as a vessel to poure a new meaning into. Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and knowledge of the reader. Allusion and quotation may be turned into non-set expressions, because they are used only for the occasion.

    Allusion thus is to be known more familiar. However sometimes allusions refer to the things, which need commentary. Allusions are used in different styles, but their function is the same. However, the discovering of an allusion is not always easy [Pie in the sky for the railman. - It comes natural, that many people know the refrain of the song "you'll get a pie in the sky, when you die". Railmen had been given many promises, but nothing more].


    Simile is a stylistic device based on the intencification of some feature of the concept in question [You behave like a savage. - the feature of wildness is stressed]. The object being compared by means of simile belongs to different classes [He folded himself like an umbrella]. While logical comparisson means weighing the two objects belonging to one class of objects with the purpose of establishing the difference [as clever as his mother], structurally, simile presupposes conjunctions [like, as ... as, as ... if, seem, look]. Simile and metaphor differ only according to their structure. simile falls into trite [busy as a bee] and geniune. Structurally, simile can be simple and sustained [His mind was restless, but it worked pervasively and thoughts jerked through his brain like misfirings of a defective carburator]. The word "jerk" in its microcontext like in combination with "thoughts" is a case of metaphor which lead to the simile (...the misfirings...), where the word "jerk" bears its logical meaning. The linking notion is the movement "jerking" which has a resemblence between the working carburator. Simile is widely used in the belles-lettres and publicistic styles.


    Periphrasis is a stylistic device which has a form of a free word combinationor a sentence, which substitutes a certain notion or a thing. It is a use of longer phrasing in the place of a possible shorter form of expression. It can be divided into logical, which is based on one of the inherent properties of the object or, perhaps, features of the object described [place of destination = London, the most pardonable of human weaknesses = love]. Figurative periphrasis is based on metaphor, metonymy, irony [the Sun = the punctual servant of all work, to marry = to tie the knot]. Metaphor or metonymy is usually one word while metonomical or metaphorical periphrasis are the word combinations from which one can't ommit any element. Periphrasis can be divided into trite, fixed word combinations, like cliches hardly registered as periphrasis [wife = my better half, women = fair sex] and geniune [I understand you're poor and wish to earn money while nursing the boy, my son, who has been so prematurely deprived of what can never be replaced]. Periphrasis can also be historical [the King = the Victor Lord] and political, strongly associated with the sphere of application and the epoch they were used in. Periphrasis can be found in newspaper and belles-lettres style.


    The variety of periphrasis is called a euphemism. It's a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one [to die - to pass away - to expire - to be no more]. Thus, a euphemism is a synonym with mild effect. Sometimes this effect is called a "white-washing device". Linguistic pecularity of euphemism is in the following: every euphemism must call up a definite synonym in the mind and the synonym must follow a euphemism like a shadow [to possess a wild imagination - to tell stories in the proper context - to lie]. Such synonyms can be freshly invented. The euphemisms are expressive means of the language and are to bve found in all book dictionaries. They can be regarded as stylistic devices as they refer the mind to the concept directly, not through the medium of another word. We distinguish several groups og euphemisms according to the sphere of application: religious, moral, medical, parlimentary. The life of euphemism is short. Very soon they become closely associated with the referent and give way to a newly coined word or word combination. Political euphemisms are really understatements. Their aim is to mislead publicopinion and to express what is unpleasant in a more delicate maner. Sometimes disagreeable parts are even distorted with the help of euphemisms. Geniune euphemism must call up the word it stands for and it is always the result of some deliberate clash between the two synonyms [a woman of a certain type - a slut]. Periphrasis and euphemism were characteristic of certain literature trendes and even produced a term "periphrastic style". It soon gave rise to a more straightforward way of describing things.


    Hyperbole is a stylistic device with a function of intencifying one certain property of an object described. It can be defined as a deliberate overstatement or exaggeration of a feeling or feature essential to the object  (unlike periphrasis). In extreme form this exaggeration is carried to an illogical degree, sometimes a kind of absurdum [He was so tall, that I wasn't sure, if he had a face]. Like many stylistic devices hyperbole may lose its quality as a stylistic device through frequent repetition and become a unit of the language as a system, reproduced in speech in an unaltered form [scared to death, I'll give the world to see him]. Hyperbole differs from mere exaggeration in that it is intended to be understood as exaggeration. A Russian linguist Potebnya states "Hyperbole is the result of any kind of intoxication by emotion which prevents a person from seeing things in true dimension; and the reader is not carried away by the emotion of the writer, hyperbole becomes a mere exaggeration." Thus, hyperbole is a device which sharpens the reader's ability to make a logical assessment of the utterance. This is achieved by the awakening the idea of feeling, where the thought takes the upper hand, though, not to the detriment of feeling.

    Use of set expressions

    A set expression is a very wide notion, which covers such notions as phraseological units, idioms and phrasal verbs. Set expressions can be divided into two groups: logical and figurative. The last ones have figurative basis. Phraseological units are charcterised by the stability of a form. They are regarded as set expressions ready for use as cliches.

    Phraseological units are expressive means, while they are frequently employed and have no originality. They have emotive meaning as a rule [to drop like a hot potato = to stop].

    Features of phraseological units:

    • stability of form
    • the presume of figurative base
    • emotive colouring
    • belonging to the oral variety of the language

    There're two tendencies in the language studies concerned with the problem of word.

    1. analytical - seeks to disserver one component from another
    2. synthetic - integrate the parts of a combination to a stable unit

    They are treated differently in the lexicology and stylistics. In lexicology the parts of a stable lexical unit may be separated to make a sceintific investigation of the character of the combination and to analyse the component. In stylistics we analyse the components to get some communicative effect sought by the writer. And here we come to the cliche.

    A cliche is generally defined as an expression that has become hackneyed and trite. This division lacks one point: a cliche strives after originality whereas it has lost the esthetic generating power it once had. There's always a contradiction between what is aimed at and what is attained [rosy dreams of use, ripe = old age]. Definition from dictionaries show that cliche is a derogatory term and it's necessary to avoid everything that may be called by that name. The thing is that most of the widely recorded word combinations adopted in the language are unjustly classified as cliches. Cliches are unregistered in dictionaries. Phraseological units are, and they occur in different styles (belles-lettres, newspaper, official documents). Cliche can be part and parcel of other stylistic devices (sustained metaphor, complex figurative images). 

    Proverbs and sayings

    They are collected in special dictionaries. Features: rhyme, rythm, alliteration. Proverbs are brief statements, showing in condenced form the accumulated life experience of the community serving as a conventional phraseological symbols for abstract ideas. Usually image-bearing, complete sentences, logically arranged. A saying stands for the notion and has a nominative function [to add fuel to fire - to scold sb.]. If issued approprietely, proverbs and sayings will never use their freshness and vigour. Proverbs and sayings can be regarded as expressive means of the literature; emotionally coloured and difficult. They are usually built on some image. When the proverb is used in unaltered form, it is an expressive means. When in a modified variant assumes one of the features of a stylistic device. Acquires a stylistic meaning without becoming a stylistic device [You know which side the law is buttered - is formed from - His bread is buttered on both sides]. We have a decomposition of a phrase. It occurs in the belles-lettres, newspapers, emotive prose, headlines. A proverb presuposes a simultaneous application of two meanings: primary and extended/contextual.

    Epigrams and quotations

    Epigrams are stylistic devices akeen to a proverb. The only difference is that epigrams are coined by individuals whose names we know, while proverbs are coinages of the people. Epigrams are short, witty statements, showing the ingenious turn of mind of the originator. They always have a literary bookish air about them that distinguishes them from proverbs. They have a generating function and are self-sufficient. The sentence gets accepted as a word combination and often becomes part of the language as a whole. Brevity is the essential feature of the epigram [Mighty is he, who conquers himself]. In fact, epigram is a surpraphrasal unit in sense, though not in structure. Poetry is epigrammatic in essense. It always strives for brevity of expression, leaving to the mind of the reader the pleassure of ampliphying the idea. A quotation is a repetition of a phrase or statement from a book, used by authority as an illustration or proof used as a basis for further speculation on the matter of fact. By repeating a passage in a new environment we attach to the utterance an importance it might not have had in the context it was primarily used. Plus we create a stable language unit. And what is quoted must be worth quoting, since a quotation will inevitably have some degree of generalization. Quotations are usually marked off in the text by inbverted commas or other graphical means.

    A quotation is an exact reproduction of an actual utterance made by a certain author. They are echos of somebody's words. So utterance, when quoted undergo subtle change. Originally, they are units of the text they belong to, but once quoted they are rank in pile no more. A quotation is always set against the other sentence in the texts by its greater sense and significance. It has two meanings a primary one and the applicated. Unlike epigrams they need not to be short. Quotations are also used in epigraphs. In this case the quotations possess great associative power and cause connotative meanings.

    General classification of syntactic expressive means and stylistic devices

    Syntax is the branch of language science studying the relations between words, word combinations and larger kinds of utterance. According to Galperin there're four groups of syntactic expressive means and stylistic devices:

    1. Compositional patterns of syntactic arrangements (stylistic conversion, detached constructions, parallel constructions, chiasmus, repetition, enumeration, suspense, climax, antithesis)
    2. Particular ways of combining parts of the utterrance (asyndenton, polysyndenton, the gap-sentence link)
    3. Particular use of colloquial constructions (ellypses, break-in-the-narrative, question-in-the-narrative, uttered/unuttered speech)
    4. Stylistic use of structural meaning (rhetorical question litotes).

    Unlike other synthetic expressive means of the language which are used in discourse, syntactic stylistic devices are proceded as design aimed and having a designed impact on the reader. When parallel constructions are used in a dialogue, - it is an expressive means, when in the author's speech - a stylistic device. Structural syntactic stylistic devices are always in special relations with the intonation involved. The more explicity structural syntactic relations are expressed, the weaker will be the intonation pattern, up to disapperance and vice verse. The capacity to serve as a connection is a inherent quality of a great number of words and perhaps if there're set in a position, which calls for continuation or description of an event. To follow closely how parts of an utterance are connected and to verify interdependence between its parts is often different either because of the abscence of identical signs (asyndoton) or because of the present of too many identical signs (polysyndoton). Emotional syntactic structures typical for the oral variety of the language are sometimes very effectively used to depict the emotional state of mind of the characters. They may even  be used in particular cases in the narrative of the author, and they have the same feature. When such constructions have entered the monologue, they assume qualities of a stylistic device. On analogy with transparence of meaning in which words are used other than in their logical sense, syntactic structures may also be used in the meanings other than their primary. Every syntactic structure has its function, called its structural meaning. When the structural is used in some other function, it may be said to assume a new meaning which is similar to lexical transfered meaning.

    Stylistic and grammatical inversion

    Word order is a crucial syntactic problem in many languages. In English it has "tolerably fixed word order", according to Jasperson: subject + predicate + object [Talent he has, capital he has not] - here the effect of inverted word order is backed up by antithesis and parallel construction. Unlike grammatical invertion, stylistic inversion doesn't change the structural meaning of the sentense in an utterance, but has some structural function. Stylistic inversion aimes at attaching logical stress or additional emotional colouring to the surface meaning of the utterance. Thus, a specific intonation patternis an inevitable satellite of inversion. Stylistic inversion isn't a violation of norms of Standard English. It is a practical realization of what is otential in the language itself.


    • the object is placed at the beginning of a sentence
    • the attributes is placed after the word it modifies (post-position, used when three or more attributes) [with fingers weary and worn].
    • the predicative is placed before the subject [A good generous prayer it was]
    • the predicative stands before the linkword and both are placed before the subject [Rude am I in my speech]
    • adverbial modifyer is placed at the beginning of the sentense [Eagerly I wished the morrow]
    • both modifyer and predicate stand before the subject [In went Mr. Rickwick. Down dropped the breethe]

    Those five models comprise the most common and recognized models of inversions but in modern English and American poetry there is a tendency to experiment with the word order which make the language intelligible. Inversion as a stylistic device is always sense-motivated. There's a tendency to account for inversion in poetry by rhythmical or considerations, which may be true but lacks one point that talented poets will never sacrifice sense for form. Inverted word order is one of the forms of what are known as emphatic constructions.

    31.10.2020, 2037 просмотров.

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