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Stylistic Inversion

The usual Word-order in English is Subject — Verb (Predicate) — Object (S—P—O). Any other order will change the impact on the reader. Stylistic Inversion is an intended violation of the usual order of the members of the sentence for stylistic purpose. It aims at attaching logical stressor additional emotional colouring to the surface meaning of the sentence.

e.g. grammar inversion: No sooner had I looked at him, when he began to cry. SI can be classified according to the following patterns:

1. the object is placed at the beginning of the sentence. Time he has, desire to study he hasn’t.

2. the predicative is placed before the subject or the link-verb. A good student he was. Rude am I in my speech… (Shakespeare). The former is mostly characteristic for colloquial speech, the latter – bookish.

3. the attribute is placed after the word it modifies (postposition of the attribute). With fingers weary and worn… (Thomas Hood) it usually adds solemnity, elevation and melodiousness in prose.

4. the adverbial modifier is placed at the beginning of the sentence. At your feet I fall. Down dropped the breeze (Coleridge). The AM is accented itself here, but it also foregrounds the subject at the last position, which is very emphatic.

5. Both modifier and predicate stand before the subject. Down dropped the breeze (Coleridge).

Detached constructions. Detachment is a stylistic device based on singling out a secondary member of the sentence with the help of punctuation (intonation), so that it seems formally independent of the word it refers to. Being formally independent this secondary member acquires a greater degree of significance and is given prominence by intonation. e.g. She was gone. For good. They are detached with the help of commas, dashes or even a full stop: I have to beg you for money. Daily. DC as an SD is a typification of the syntactical peculiarities of colloquial language. Function: to focus the reader’s attention.

A variant of DC is parenthesis (вводное слово или предложение) – is a qualifying, explanatory or appositive word, phrase, clause, sentence, or other sequence which interrupts a syntactic construction without otherwise affecting it, having often a characteristic intonation and indicated in writing by commas, brackets or dashes. It gives the utterance an additional nuance of meaning or a tinge of emotional colouring.

19. Climax. Anticlimax. Suspense

Suspense затягивание, задержка главной мысли - is a compositional device that consists in arranging the utterance in such a way, that the less important, descriptive parts are placed at the beginning, while the main idea is presented in the end of the utterance. The sentences of this type are called periodic. Thus the reader's interest is held up, he is kept in a state of un’certainty and expectation. This device is typical of oratoric style. Suspense and climax sometimes go together.

Climax (gradation) кульминация – is an arrangement of sentences or phrases which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance, or emotional tension in the utterance. It’s ascending series of words or utterances in which intensity or significance increases step by step.

e. g. Every racing car, every racer, every mechanic, every ice - cream van was also plastered with advertising.

C. can be logical, emotional or quantitative. Logical c. is based on the relative importance (objective or subjective) of the component parts looked at from the point of view of the concepts put in them. Emotive C –based on the relative emotional tension produced by words with emotive meaning. Quantitative C is an evident increase in the volume of the corresponding concepts: Little by little, bit by bit, and day by day, and year by year the baron got the worst of some disputed question. (Dickens)

It helps to show the relative importance of things as seen by the author, or to impress upon the reader the significance of the things described by suggested comparison, or to depict phenomena dynamically. Anticlimax – the decrease of tension.


20. Antithesis. Rhetorical question. Litotes

Antithesis, literal meaning opposite, is a rhetorical device in which two opposite ideas are put together in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect.

Antithesis emphasizes the idea of contrast by parallel structures of the contrasted phrases or clauses, i.e. the structures of phrases and clauses are similar in order to draw the attention of the listeners or readers. For example:

“Setting foot on the moon may be a small step for a man but a giant step for mankind.”

The use of contrasting ideas, “a small step” and “a giant step”, in the sentence above emphasizes the significance of one of the biggest landmarks of human history.
Syntactical Stylistic Devices Based on Stylistic Use of Structural Meaning
Rhetorical question
is a statement in a form of a question, that expects no answer. It is asked in order to make a statement rather than to get a reply. They are frequently used in dramatic situation and in publicistic style.

e. g. What was the good of discontented people who fitted in nowhere?

Litotes - is a use of two negative notions for creating a positive one. Its function is to convey doubts of the speaker concerning the exact characteristics of the object or a feeling, irony, restraint.

e.g. It's not a bad thing - It's a good thing.

e.g. He is no coward. He is a brave man.

e.g. He was not without taste.

e.g. He is no fool.


21. Parallel constructions. Chiasmus. Types of repetition

Parallel construction is a device which may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro-structures dealt with the syntactical whole and the paragraph. Parallelism is more or less complete identity of syntactical structure in two or more sentences or parts of sentence in close succession.

e.g. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see… (Shakespeare)

P.c-s are often backed up by the lexical repetition. In this case P acquires additional semantic stylistic value. P.c-s are most frequently used in enumerations, antithesis and in climax, thus consolidating the general effect achieved by these SDs. It carries the idea of semantic equality of the parts, does the emotive function, generates rhythm.

Chiasmus (Reversed Parallel Construction) from Greek [cross arrangement] – перекрестный\ реверсированный параллелизм - is based on repetition of syntactical patterns, but it has a reversed order in one of the utterances. I.e.one of the sentences is inverted as compared to that of the second sentence: SPO-OPS.

Down dropped the breeze,

The sails dropped down. (Coleridge) e.g. The public wants a thing, therefore it is supplied with it, or if it is supplied with a thing, it wants it. (Thackeray).

Chiasmus is sometimes achieved by a sudden change from active voice to passive or vice versa. It brings in some new shade of meaning or additional emphasis on the second part.

Repetition is reiteration of the same word or phrase with the view of expressiveness. As an SD it fixes the reader’s attention on the key-word of the utterance. It can be of various types: at the beginning - anaphora; at the end – epiphora; the last word of one is repeated at the beginning of the next part – anadiplosis (linking/ reduplication) – Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all ye know on earth… (Keats); at the beginning and at the end of a sentence/paragraph – framing – кольцевой повтор, рамка. It helps to promote the text categories: prospection, retrospection, presupposition, predictability, wholeness, intensifies the utterance, produces the monotony of action, makes the rhythm.

The special type of R is called distant rep-n – when the repeated word /phrase occurs not in a close succession, but in some distance from one another. The distance may be a chapter, several chapters and so on.


22. Asyndeton. Polysyndeton. Ellipsis. Break-in-the-narration

Particular ways of combining parts of the utterance: Syntactical Stylistic Devices Based on Peculiar Linkage

Asyndeton is a deliberate avoidance of conjunctions in constructions in which they would normally used. e.g. He couldn't go abroad alone, the sea upset his liver, he hated hotels.

Polysyndeton - is a deliberate usage (overuse) of connectives between the parts of the sentence. It’s mostly identical repetition of conjunctions: used to emphasize simultaneousness of described actions, to disclose the authors subjective attitude towards the characters, to create the rhythmical effect.

e. g. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. The difference between the Enumeration and P: the first shows things united, the second – isolated.

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