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5. Stylistically coloured words and context

All lexical units that belong to the special literary and special colloquial layers of vocabulary are considered stylistically coloured because they have definite functional stylistic connotations and in most cases (like for example slang or poetic words) are charged with bright emotionality and expressiveness. All units of stylistically coloured vocabulary, as it have already been shown, perform a definite stylistic function within a certain functional style or can acquire additional stylistic functions in other functional styles. After the general discussion of the nature and function of the words that belong to different stylistic strata the question of their correlation with the context is undoubtedly worth considering.

Literary text is a complex unity of interrelated elements, where each element is correlated with other elements of the text and of its micro and macro context. This correlation always results, on the one hand, in additional stylistic meanings that this element may acquire, on the other – in the so-called irradiation of the stylistic function of this element on the surrounding elements of the text.

For example, in St. B. Barstow’s novel Such is the love the main character uses slangy words bint, bird, chick, baby, tart while speaking about his girl-friends and the neutral word girl relating to his sister. Consequently being contrasted with the colloquial elements of the context the latter neutral word becomes forgrounded, is charged with emotive and expressive connotations and mirrors the speaker’s positive attitude. In Mac Innes novel Absolute beginners the archaic word brethren which denotes the representatives of the old generation and is used against the background of the abundance of slangy words and jargonisms loses its poetic nature, sounds ironic (even with a jeer) and disrespectfully.

Even a single poetic word included into the neutral context may change the modality of the whole paragraph. Or on the contrary – a colloquial element against the background of poetic text makes it sound hush and unceremonious.

E.g. I’ve no great cause to love that plot of earth,

Which holds what might have been the noblest nation:

But though I owe it little but my birth,

I feel a mixed regret and veneration

For its decaying fame and former worth

Seven years (the usual term of transportation)

Of absence lay one’s old resentments level,

When a man’s country’s going to the devil (G. G. Byron).

The cited lines describe the author’s contemporary reality and represent his attitude towards his country and people. A vulgar expression “go to the devil” intensifies his judgment and makes the stanza low-colloquial and bitter-ironic.

The role of dissemination of the elements that belong to one stylistic layer into the elements of the other stylistic layer is very important for stylistic analysis. For example, in R. Kipling poem McAndrew’s Hymn there are three interwoven lexical groups: a group of terms, a group of religious expressions with the corresponding archaic grammatical forms and a group of vernacular words and phonetic patterns. As the result of this device a complex metaphor is created: an ignorant and uneducated ship mechanic recites a peculiar hymn to the ship engine that is the essence of his life and work:

Lord, Thou hast made this world below the shadow of a dream,

An’, taught by time, I tak’it so-exceptin’ always Steam.

From coupler-flange to spindle-guide, I see Thy Hand, O god –

Predestination in the stride o’yon connectin’-rod (R. Kipling).

A Ukrainian poet I.Drach imbues his verse with the colloquial vocabulary (that in this case reflect the author’s sympathy to the people described) in order to create the atmosphere of deep intimacy and confidence. The striking contrast between the colloquial vocabulary and bright original metaphors supports the idea of contrast between the platitude of life and beauty of nature.

Дві сестри, тоненькі і сухенькі,

Ловлять осінь в пелени над ставом.

З господарства лине тихий чистий дзенькіт,

У воді поплюскує небавом.

Віспа порябила лиця жовті,

Доброти у серці не роз’їла.

Полум’яне листя сипле жовтень,

Тужавіє нива задубіла.

Гуси білі, вилизані, тлусті,

Гелготять, бо скоро будуть вбиті,

І калина у червоній хустці

Кровю сходить по степлілім літі.

Дві сестри старенькі на пташарні

Лускають насіння гарбузове,

І дрижать їх руки незугарні,

Чорні,закоцюрблені, дубові.

Кури, гуси – все життя у пірї.

Є город маленький коло хати.

Чорнобривці спіють на подвірї.

Є коза, щоб молоко давати.

А вітри двадцятого століття

Моє серце трудне підіймають.

І сидять старенькі край заміті

У вогні осіннього розмаю (І, Драч).

The shift of functional-stylistic characteristics within the structure of literary texts always conveys significant information: contributes to the development of imagery structure of the text, increases the preciseness of description, creates metaphors and characterizes literary personalities. In most cases the stylistic effect can be based on the discrepancy between the choice of lexical units and the situation or the theme of the text which very often leads to the irony, humour or sarcasm (e.g. when bookish, archaic and official vocabulary is used to describe trivial events):

The village Maecenas, in petticoats, patronizing art to the extend of two cups of tea and a slice of plum-cake (A.H. Huxley).

Кота Андріяненко віддати не може, бо кіт убієнний (О. Вишня).

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