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Lecture No 3. Stylistic resources of English and Ukrainian Grammar

Grammar is a branch of linguistics that studies grammatical structure of language, its units on different language levels: the levels of morphology and syntax. It consists of morphology, word-building and syntax, the latter being further subdivided into the level of phrase, the level of sentence and the level of text. Grammatical Stylistics, taking into consideration data obtained within the domain of grammar, studies grammatical means which are able to produce specific stylistic effect according to the aim and purpose of speech.

1. Stylistic resources of English and Ukrainian Word-building

Speaking about the stylistic function of word in a context we cannot omit the question of word building models expressiveness and the way it enriches the stylistic system of the language. Stylistic peculiarities of the words created according to certain word building patterns are distinguished by contrasting two or more lexical units with the same root but different affixes: кіт – котик – котичок – котяра – котюга. It goes without saying that the latter four words render additional stylistic connotations and are more emotionally loaded than the first one. There are a number of morphemes with different lexico-grammatical meanings that impart additional shades of expressiveness to the word and, apart of their inherent properties, serve as the vehicle of additional information (logical, emotive, evaluative) and are used for stylistic purposes.

What does it mean to use a morpheme for stylistic purpose?

A morpheme is foregrounded through its repetition. Both root and affixation morphemes can be emphasized through repetition.

It was there again, more clearly then before: the terrible expression of pain in her eyes; unblinking, unaccepting, unbelieving pain (D. Uhnak).

New scum, of course, has come to take the place of the old, but the oldest scum, the thickest scum, and the scummiest scum has come from across the ocean (E. Hemingway).

Микола Хвильовий чи не перший усвідомив, що в літературу і мистецтво починає поступово проникати казенно-бюрократичний підхід до творчості, грубий окрик, свавільне жонглювання політичними фразами, підпирання аргументів політичними тезами (М. Жулинський).

When repeated morphemes come into the focus of attention and stress either the logical meaning of the word or its emotive or evaluative meaning. They also inevitably add the rhythmical effect to the text and contribute to its unity. Morphemic repetition is also a powerful means to create humoristic, sarcastic effect, a resourceful way to characterize the speaker as in the following sentence:

Прискорення розвязання питання постачання населення продуктами харчування.

Another way of morphemic foregrounding to create additional information is extension of its normative valency, which results in the formation of new words. These words are created for special communicative situations and are not used beyond these occasions. This is why they are called occasional words; they are characterized by their freshness, originality, lucidity of their inner form and meaning and are aimed to attract reader’s or hearer’s attention by their novelty and unpredictability:

The girls could not take their panamas hats because this was not far from the school gates and hatlessness was an offence (M. Spark).

To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son (A. Tolkien).

Світами вітровінь поля відволочила,

Прижовклено збіліла далина –

Дніпровими високими очима

Дитинно-сіро глянула весна (М. Вінграновський).

The analysis of English and Ukrainian word-building patterns from the stylistic point of view reveals the fact that in both languages there is little coincidence in the number of morphological units rendering different stylistic meanings as well as in the nomenclature of their functional and stylistic variants.

The following word building patterns are regarded stylistically relevant:


In Ukrainian there is a great number of:

1) bookish suffixes and prefixes which are used predominantly in official and scientific styles (спрямованість, активація, профіцит, конструктор, геніальний, дисциплінарний, інтернаціоналізація, ультрарадикальний, редуплікація, історизм, національність, суспільство ). When these suffixes or prefixes are added to the stems of neutral or colloquial words newly created lexical units are always stylistically coloured: мудрація, поведенція, штукенція, бабенція, недоумкуватість, наплювізм, крутійство, хвостизм, бабизм;

2) suffixes of subjective evaluation –юх, - л, - ил, - о: упертюх, вайло, тріпло, бурмилo;

3) diminutive suffixes -ісіньк, - есеньк, - юсіньк, - еньк, -ичк: білесенький, теплесенький, малюсінький, старесенький, гостинчик, хлопчик. Being added to the different parts of speech these suffixes contribute to the creation of intimate, petting atmosphere of the utterance. They also are used to create words with ironic, satirical stylistic meanings and can impart negative evaluative connotation to the utterance: ідейка, днинка, копійчина, ремонтик, анекдотик, самогонник, пивасик;

4) suffixes with the meaning of “great number” or hyperbolic meaning which denote the highest degree of a certain quality or impart negative emotional connotations to the word: злодюга, морозище, вітрисько, босовило, хижачся, мишва, татарва.

5)archaic prefixes па-, пра-, уз- which are used to create bookish, solemn words: паморозь, правітер, праматір, уславлений;

6 ) synonymic affixation: глибина – глибінь; висота – височінь where the second component of each pair is more expressive and poetic.

Expressiveness on the level of word building in English is not so developed as in Ukrainian. But the question of stylistic potential of English word building means cannot be disregarded. Thus English suffix – ish that means a little degree of a certain quality being added to a noun imparts to it negative evaluative connotations: childish, doggish, honey-moonish, Dickenisish, Mark Twainish. Whereas suffixes –ian, -esque on the contrary embody positive connotations: Shakespearian, Dantesque, etc.The usage of suffixes -ard, -ster, -eer and -monger is the most frequent way of creating negative effect: drunkard, coward, oldster, profiteer, black-marketeer, panic-monger. Suffixes such as -kin, -let, -ling, -y, -ic are used in order to diminish the value of something: lamkin, chicklet, starlet, weakling, daddy, lassie.

Words created by means of affixation are always more expressive than their affixless equivalents: unbending – rigid, unerring – accurate, unmasked – revealed. Prefix un- being added to different verbal, nominal or adjectival stems not only embodies implicit negation but also serves as a powerful means to express the idea in a condensed, contracted way:

The wretch concentrated all in self

Living shall forfeit fair renown

And doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust from when it sprung

Unwept, unhonoured and unsung (W. Scott)


Compounding is another highly resourceful means of creating stylistic effect. The source of Ukrainian poetic compounds is folklore: жар-птиця, вовчик-братик, смуток-жаль, молити-просити, стежка-мережка, гуси-лебеді etc. Ukrainian words that are created by means of combining two word stems are considered more poetic and expressive than their one-stem loaned synonyms: пейзаж – краєвид, фонтан – водограй, біографія – життєпис, бібліотека – книгозбірня, космонавти – зореплавці.

In English the compounding aimed at stylistic effect is based on unnatural valency of the components: boy-friend-in-chief (on the analogy of “commander-in-chief”), on syntagmatic connection: Miss what’s-her-name, a dog–in-the-monger, on rhyming: helter-skelter, chit-chat, riff-raff, on substantivation of phrasal verbs: a pin-up, a pick-up, etc.

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