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1.Stylistic classification of the English vocabulary.

Vocabulary word-stock

three layers:

  1. literary,

  2. neutral,

  3. colloquial.

Neutral words make the major bulk of any type of text (either oral or written). They possess no stylistic connotation and can be used in any communicative situation. (table, man, day)

Terms are used in the scientific functional style. The denotative meanings of terms are clearly defined. (approbation, triangle, vector)

Professionalisms are term-like words they are used and understoodby members of a certain trade or profession (scalpel, round pliers);

Literary vocabulary:

- Poetic words create poetic image and make speech elevated. Their nature is archaic. (Albion, quoth, steed, courser, sylvan, maiden, foe).

- Archaic words belong to Old English and are not recognized nowadays. The function is to create realistic background to historical works of literature (methinks = it seems to me, nay = no).

- Bookish words are mainly used in oral speech, diplomacy and business. Main function is to create the tone of solemnity, sophistication, seriousness, learnedness (communications=negotiations, commence=begin, respond=answer, hibernate=wintry).

- Neologisms:

Internet terms: network, server, e-mail, provider, site, Internet, Message, Microsoft;

Stylistic neologisms are new words denoting existing object or concepts: seesaw, hush-hash work;

Lexical neologisms are new words denoting new objects and concepts: push-button war, rockumentary, fruitologist, death-star.

Nonce words are created by speakers to meet the need of the actual communication situation. They achieve one-time purpose and disappear: womanity, balconyful of gentlemen.

Barbarisms are non-assimilated borrowing from French and Latin (alter ago - другой я, protégé-протеже). Function: show foreign origin of the character.

- Colloquial vocabulary is a part of standard English word-stock.

- Colloquialisms – functional colloquial elements (social phrases, greetings, form of address. Functions: emotive, phatic, conative (oops, oh, wow, ala);

- Dialectisms are words used by people of a certain community living in a certain territory. (Sir, you speak English well = Cousin, y’all talk mighty fine; Paisano, you speak good the English; Landsman, you English is planty all right already).

- Slang is a language that takes off its coat, spits on its hands and goes to work. It is non-standard vocabulary understood and used by the whole nation (Sir, I spit on you and your bloody opinion.) Types of slang:

- Cant is a conversional, familiar idiom used only by member of specific occupation, trade, profession, class, age group, interest group.

- Jargon – non-standard words used by people of a certain asocial group to keep their intercourse secret (white stuff=cocaine or morphine, candy=cocaine;

- Argot is both the cant and jargon of any criminal group (snifter=cocaine addict, candy man=drug seller, cap=capsule with narcotic;

- Vulgarisms are expletives or swear words as well as obscene words end expressions.

2. The notion of style in the language. Notion of language expressive means and

stylistic devices. Convergence of stylistic devices.

Stylistics is the branch of linguistics, which studies the principles, and effect of choice and combination of different language elements in rendering thought and emotion under different conditions of communication.

  • Style is proper words in proper places (J. Swift)

  • Style is the art of speaking and writing clearly, correctly and with ease and grace (Chesterfield)

  • Style is the choice and disposition of words (Young)

  • Style is a contextually restricted linguistic variation (Enkvist)

  • Style is an emphasis (expressive, affective or aesthetic) added to the information conveyed by the linguistic structure (Riffaterre)

Expressive means

  • Phonetic, morphological, lexical, syntactical forms which exist in the language-as-a-system for the purpose of logical, expressive, emotional intensification of the utterance are called EM

child, kid, youngster, tot;

  • In a paradigm, we are confronted with the language expressive potential called "expressive means” which are marked members of stylistic oppositions, having their invariant meaning in language. They are "those phonetic, morphological, word-building, lexical, phraseological and syntactical forms which exist in language-as-system for the purpose of logical and/or emotional intensification of the utterance" (Galperin)

Stylistic devices

Lexical stylistic device is such type of denoting phenomena that serves to create additional expressive, evaluative, subjective connotations. In fact we deal with the intended substitution of the existing names approved by long usage and fixed in dictionaries, prompted by the speaker’s subjective original view and evaluation of things. Each type of intended substitution results in a stylistic device called also a trope.

Convergence as the term implies denotes a combination or accumulation of stylistic devices promoting the same idea, emotion or motive. Stylistic function is not the property and purpose of expressive means of the language as such. Any type of expressive means will make sense stylistically when treated as a part of a bigger unit, the context, or the whole text. It means that there is no immediate dependence between a certain stylistic device and a definite stylistic function.

A stylistic device is not attached to this or that stylistic effect. Therefore a hyperbole, for instance, may provide any number of effects: tragic, comical, pathetic or grotesque. Inversion may give the narration a highly elevated tone or an ironic ring of parody.

This "chameleon" quality of a stylistic device enables the author to apply different devices for the same purpose. The use of more than one type of expressive means in close succession is a powerful technique to support the idea that carries paramount importance in the author's view. Such redundancy ensures the delivery of the message to the reader.

An extract from E. Waugh's novel "Decline and Fall" demonstrates convergence of expressive means used to create an effect of the glamorous appearance of a very colorful lady character who symbolizes the high style of living, beauty and grandeur.

The door opened and from the cushions within emerged a tall young man in a clinging dove-gray coat. After him, like the first breath of spring in the Champs-Elysee came Mrs. Beste-Chetwynde - two lizard-skin feet, silk legs, chinchilla body, a tight little black hat, pinned with platinum

and diamonds, and the high invariable voice that may be heard in any Ritz Hotel from New York to Budapest.

Inversion used in both sentences (...from the cushion within emerged a tall man; ...like the first breath of spring came Mrs. Beste-Chetwynde) at once sets an elevated tone of the passage.

The simile that brings about a sensory image of awakening nature together with the allusion to Paris - the symbol of the world's capita! of pleasures - sustains this impression: like the first breath of spring in the Champs-Ely see. A few other allusions to the world capitals and their best hotels - New York, Budapest, any Ritz Hotel all symbolize the wealthy way of life of the lady who belongs to the international jet-set distinguished from the rest of the world by her money, beauty and aristocratic descent.

The use of metonymy creates the cinematographic effect of shots and fragments of the picture as perceived by the gazing crowd and suggests the details usually blown up in fashionable newspaper columns on high society life: two lizard-skin feet, silk legs, chichilla body, a tight little black hat... the invariable voice.

The choice of words associated with high-quality life style: exotic materials, expensive clothes and jewelry creates a semantic field that enhances the impression still further (lizard, silk, chinchilla, platinum and diamonds). A special contribution to the high-flown style of description is made by the careful choice of words that belong to the literary bookish stratum: emerge, cushions, dove, invariable.

Even the name of the character - Mrs. Beste-Chetwynde - is a device in itself, it's the so-called speaking name, a variety of antonomasia. Not only its implication (best) but also the structure symbolizes the

lady's high social standing because hyphenated names in Britain testify to the noble ancestry. So the total effect of extravagant and glamour is achieved by the concentrated use of at least eight types of expressive means within one paragraph.

Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices.

Major patterns of sound arrangement

  • Versification



  • Sound-instrumentation




  • Rhyme denotes a complete (or almost complete) coincidence of acoustic impressions produced by stressed syllables (often together with surrounding unstressed ones).

As a rule, such syllables do not immediately follow each other: they mostly recur at the very end of verse lines

Types of rhyme

According to the variants of stress:

  • male (the last syllables of the rhymed words are stressed) DREAMS-STREAMS

  • female (the next syllables to the last are stressed) DUTY-BEAUTY

  • dactylic (the third syllables from the end are stressed) BATTERY — FLATTERY

According to the position of the lines:

  • adjacent rhymes aabb

  • crossing rhymes abab

  • ring rhymes abba

  • inner rhyme (I am the daughter of earth and water. (Shelley))

According to the quality of sounds:

  • complete WEEK-WEAK

  • Broken FEET-FEEL

  • Eye-rhyme WOOD-FLOOD

  • Rhythm is a recurring stress pattern in poetry. It is an even alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables

  • A foot is a combination of one stressed and some unstressed syllables

  • Types of foot:

  • Trochee (-.), iambus (.-),

  • Dactyl (-..), amphibrach (.-.)

  • Anapest (..-)

Sound instrumentation

  • Alliteration is a stylistically motivated repetition of consonants

Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

(Ch. Dickens)

  • Assonance is the repetition of similar vowel sounds

Tell this soul with sorrow laden,

if within the distant Aiden,

I shall clasp a sainted maiden,

whom the angels name Lenore

(E.A. Poe)


formation of a name or word by an imitation of the sound associated with the thing or action

  • Direct onomatopoeia

buzz, beep, quack-quack

  • Indirect onomatopoeia

hiss, rustle, whistle, whisper

  • Lexical onomatopoeia

thud, crack, slurp, buzz

  • Nonlexical onomatopoeia

brrrrm, vroom-vroom

4. Syntactical stylistic devices; their structural, semantic and functional characteristics


  • syntax, as contrasted to lexis, is incapable of conveying emotions as such, but it immediately reacts to their presence or absence (K.Dolinin)

  • expressiveness in syntax is the structural reaction of syntax to the presence or absence of emotions as well as to the varying degrees of their presence (E.Trofimova).

Expressive means in syntax based on

  • the reduction of the basic model (ellipsis, aposiopesis, nominative sentences, asyndeton)

  • the extension of the sentence model (repetition, enumeration, syntactical tautology, polysyndeton, emphatic constructions, parenthetic sentences);

  • change of the word order (detachment, inversion, separation / syntactical split)

  • Ellipsis - a syntactic structure in which there is no subject, or predicate, or both

Where did you go? – To the disco.

  • Asyndeton - a deliberate avoidance of conjunctions used to connect sentences, clauses, phrases or words

  • Bicket did not answer ; his throat felt too dry.

  • Aposiopesis (or break-in-the-narrative ) is realized through incompleteness of sentence structure. (If you go on like this...)

  • Repetition

  • ordinary :

  • Please, get well — fast - fast - fast. (J.Webster)

  • framing or ring :

  • We are going to be lucky, we are. (J. Priestley )

  • catch repetition (anadiplosis )

  • It was a nice face, a face you get to like. (r.Chandler )

  • chain repetition

  • The originals were returned to the envelopes, and the envelopes to the box, and the box to the vault. ( R.Stout )

  • root-repetition

  • "Schemmer, Karl Schemmer, was a brute, a brutish brute." (London)

  • Enumeration - the repetition of the homogeneous words or word combinations in the same syntactical position

  • There were cows, goats, peacocks and sheep in the village.

  • Syntactical tautology - the repetition of semantically identical elements of the sentence (usually the subject expressed by a noun and a pronoun)

  • I ain’t got no news from nobody.

  • Parenthetic sentences - sentences and phrases inserted into a syntactical structure of another sentence

  • It was only when he had been decisively turned down by everyone approached – banks, trusts, insurance companies, and private lenders – that his original confidence waned. (a.Haily)

  • Emphatic constructions - intensification of any part of the utterance

  • It was to the small house that he came at the end.

Polysyndeton - the repetition of the same conjunction before the enumerated components of the sentence

  • And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7)

  • Stylistic devices in syntax based on

  • - interconnection of several syntactical constructions in a certain context (parallelism, chiasmus, anaphora, epiphora)

  • - the transposition of the meaning of the syntactical construction or the model of the sentence (rhetoric questions)

  • - the transposition of the meaning of the means of connection between the components of the sentence or sentences (parcellation, subordination instead of coordination)

5. Metaphorical group of stylistic devices. Mechanism of metaphoric transfer of

  • name. Types of metaphor.

Metaphor – transposition of a name based on similarity/ likeness of two objects;

Types of metaphor

Semantic types:

Genuine or original (created by speakers): The wind was a torrent of darkness among the trees.

Trite or dead (are fixed in the dictionary): To burn with desire, floods of tears;

Structural types:

Simple (elementary) consist of single words, or compound words, or phrases

The good book is the best of friends.

Sustained/extended metaphors appear in cases when a word which has been used metaphorically makes other words of the sentence also realize their metaphoric meanings.

Blondes, wars, famines - they all arrived on the same train. They unpacked together. They stayed at the same hotel...

Functional types:

nominative is technical device of nomination, when a new notion is named by means of the old vocabulary.

a leg of the table, an arm of the clock

cognitive – when an object obtains a quality which is typical of another object

One more day has died.

figurative / imaginative :

Patricia’s eyes were pools of still water.

Antonomasia and Allegory

  • Antonomasia (Allegory) - identification of human beings with things which surround them (throughout the whole text);

1.the use of a proper name for a common noun.

He is the Napoleon of crime. (C.Doyle)

2.the use of common nouns as proper names - speaking / token / talking names: Mr. Murdstone; Mrs. Snake; Miss Toady

Allegory = antonomasia within the whole text.

1. proverbs/sayings:

Jack of all trades and master of none.

Sign your John Hancock here.


3.fairy tales

Personification - ascribing human behaviour and thoughts to inanimate objects.


She had been asleep, always, and now life was thundering imperatively at all her doors. (J. London)

Lie is a strange creature, and a very mean one.

EPITHET - interaction of logical and emotive meanings which produce a subjective evaluation

The iron hate deep in his soul pushed him on.

The iron gate opened with a loud squeak.


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