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SYNTACTICAL DEVICES BASED ON PECULIAR STYLISTIC USE OF STRUCTURAL MEANING
Here belong devices based on transposition which is placing a language sign in the surrounding which is unusual for its functioning.
Rhetorical question is based on the special interplay of two structural meanings – that of the question and that of the assertion – due to which the question is no longer a question but a statement expressed in the interrogative form.Hence, the SD consists in reshaping the grammatical meaning of the interrogative sentence.
E.g. ‘ Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly?’ (Maugham)
Rhetorical question usu. pronounces a judgment with a definite emotional charge: indignation, irritation, anger, doubt, challenge, scorn, irony, suggestion, or, vice versa, joy, admiration, etc.
According to Y.M. Skrebnev the following two semantic varieties of interrogative sentences make up rhetorical questions:
quasi-affirmative sentences (those with a negative predicate but an affirmative implication):
E.g. Isn't that too bad? = That is too bad, and
quasi-negative sentences (those with an affirmative predicate but a negative implication):
E.g. My God, – what was the good of it all? (Priestley) = There was no good …
Rhetorical questions are most frequently used in dramatic narration and in the publicist style.
Litotes expresses an idea by means of negating the opposite idea.
Hence, it is a device with the help of which two meanings are materialized simultaneously: the direct (negative) and transferred (affirmative).
Usu. litotes presupposes double negation which can be conveyed in different ways:
through a negative particle not or a negative pronoun no + a word with a negative affix,
E.g. It was not an unfriendly laugh, but it was not a sympathetic one either. (Priestley)
‘Why doesn’t Amy marry again? She is comparatively young, and she is not unattractive …’ (Maugham), and
through the negation of the antonym of the idea to be expressed,
E.g. Not a coward (a fool), not too bad, not overdone, not without his agreement.
Litotes is the opposite of hyperbole and may be said to be a specific form of meiosis or to produce a meiotic effect.
Though two minuses make a plus, the deliberate understatement that takes place in the use of litotes results in the weakening of the meaning obtained.
E.g. not bad is weaker than just good; not without his assistance – than with his assistance.
Function. Litotes conveys doubts of the speaker about the exact characteristics of the object, renders his irony, and serves as a euphemistic technique.
Litotes is frequent in English and seems to be used more often than in Russian.
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