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Теорграмматика / Теоретическая грамматика английского языка.[М. Я. Блох].doc
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§ 2. An attempt to revise the traditional communicative classification of sentences was made by the American scholar Ch. Fries who classed them, as a deliberate challenge to the


"accepted routine", not in accord with the purposes of communication, but according to the responses they elicit [Fries, 29-53].

In Fries's system, as a universal speech unit subjected to communicative analysis was chosen not immediately a sentence, but an utterance unit (a "free" utterance, i.e. capable of isolation) understood as a continuous chunk of talk by one speaker in a dialogue. The sentence was then defined as a minimum free utterance.

Utterances collected from the tape-recorded corpus of dialogues (mostly telephone conversations) were first classed into "situation utterances" (eliciting a response), and "response utterances". Situation single free utterances (i.e. sentences) were further divided into three groups:

1) Utterances that are regularly followed by oral responses only. These are greetings, calls, questions. E.g.:

Hello! Good-bye! See you soon! ... Dad! Say, dear! Colonel Howard! ... Have you got moved in? What are you going to do for the summer? ...

2) Utterances regularly eliciting action responses. These are requests or commands. E.g.:

Read that again, will you? Oh, wait a minute! Please have him call Operator Six when he comes in! Will you see just exactly what his status is?

3) Utterances regularly eliciting conventional signals of attention to continuous discourse. These are statements. E.g.:

I've been talking with Mr. D — in the purchasing department about our type-writer. (—Yes?). That order went in March seventh. However it seems that we are about eighth on the list. (— I see). Etc.

Alongside of the described "communicative" utterances, i.e. utterances directed to a definite listener, another, minor type of utterances were recognised as not directed to any listener but, as Ch. Fries puts it, "characteristic of situations such as surprise, sudden pain, disgust, anger, laughter, sorrow" [Fries, 53]. E.g.: Oh, oh! Goodness! My God! Darn! Gosh! Etc.

Such and like interjectional units were classed by Ch. Fries as "noncommunicative" utterances.

Observing the given classification, it is not difficult to


see that, far from refuting or discarding the traditional classification of sentences built up on the principle of the "purpose of communication", it rather confirms and specifies it. Indeed, the very purpose of communication inherent in the addressing sentence is reflected in the listener's response. The second and third groups of Ch, Fries's "communicative" sentences-utterances are just identical imperative and declarative types both by the employed names and definition. As for the first group, it is essentially heterogeneous, which is recognised by the investigator himself, who distinguishes in its composition three communicatively different subgroups. One of these ("C") is constituted by "questions", i.e. classical interrogative sentences. The other two, viz. greetings ("A") and calls ("B"), are syntactically not cardinal, but, rather, minor intermediary types, making up the periphery of declarative sentences (greetings — statements of conventional goodwill at meeting and parting) and imperative sentences (calls — requests for attention). As regards "non-communicative" utterances — interjectional units, they are devoid of any immediately expressed intellective semantics, which excludes them from the general category of sentence as such (see further).

Thus, the undertaken analysis should, in point of fact, be looked upon as an actual application of the notions of communicative sentence-types to the study of oral speech, resulting in further specifications and development of these notions.

§ 3. Alongside of the three cardinal communicative sentence-types, another type of sentences is recognised in the theory of syntax, namely, the so-called exclamatory sentence. In modern linguistics it has been demonstrated that exclamatory sentences do not possess any complete set of qualities that could place them on one and the same level with the three cardinal communicative types of sentences. The property of exclamation should be considered as an accompanying feature which is effected within the system of the three cardinal communicative types of sentences.* In other words, each of the cardinal communicative sentence types can be represented in the two variants, viz. non-exclamatory and exclamatory. For instance, with the following

*See:Грамматика русского языка. М., 1960. Т, 2. Синтаксис, ч. I, с. 353; 365 и сл.


exclamatory sentences-statements it is easy to identify their non-exclamatory declarative prototypes:

What a very small cabin it was! (K. Mansfield) — It was a very small cabin. How utterly she had lost count of events! (J. Galsworthy) <— She had lost count of events. Why, if it isn't my lady! (J. Erskine) «— It is my lady.

Similarly, exclamatory questions are immediately related in the syntactic system to the corresponding non-exclamatory interrogative sentences. E.g.:

Whatever do you mean, Mr. Critchlow? (A. Bennett) «-What do you mean? Then why in God's name did you come? (K. Mansfield) «- Why did you come?

Imperative sentences, naturally, are characterised by a higher general degree of emotive intensity than the other two cardinal communicative sentence-types. Still, they form analogous pairs, whose constituent units are distinguished from each other by no other feature than the presence or absence of exclamation as such. E.g.:

Francis, will you please try to speak sensibly! (E. Hemingway) «- Try to speak sensibly. Don't you dare to compare me to common people! (B. Shaw) <— Don't compare me to common people. Never so long as you live say I made you do that! (J. Erskine) <— Don't say I made you do that.

As is seen from the given examples, all the three pairs of variant communicative types of sentences (non-exclamatory — exclamatory for each cardinal division) make up distinct semantico-syntactic oppositions effected by regular grammatical means of language, such as intonation, word-order and special constructions with functional-auxiliary lexemic elements. It follows from this that the functional-communicative classification of sentences specially distinguishing emotive factor should discriminate, on the lower level of analysis, between the six sentence-types forming, respectively, three groups (pairs) of cardinal communicative quality.

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