Homonymy in the book of Lewis Carroll "Alice in Wonderland"

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I. Introduction

II. Theoretical Part

II.1 Different classifications of expressive means

II.1.1 Hellenistic Roman rhetoric system

II.1.2 Stylistic theory and classification of expresssive means by G. Leech

II.1.3 I. R. Galperin’s classification of expressive means and stylistic devices

II.1.4 Classification of expressive means and stylistic devices by Y.M. Skrebnev

II.2 Homonyms

II.2.1 Sources of Homonyms

II.2.2 Classification of Homonyms

II.2.3 Homonyms in the book

II.3 Lewis Carroll and his book

IV. Practical part



I. Introduction

The title of this work is «Homonymy in the book of Lewis Carroll «Alice in Wonderland». I chose this theme because I am going to be a teacher and this book is often used in the process of teaching English — for example, some extracts of it are used in the school text-books as texts for reading and it would be useful for teachers to work on this book detaily.

But this book is not only interesting in the case of teaching English, but also for personal intellectual maturity-the literary work of Lewis Carroll is known all over the world, it has the third place in the list of the most popular sources of quotation on the earth — after Bible and Shakespeare! No one can name himself «an educated person» if he has never read this book. This book is not just a simple funny fairy tale for children but adult people are interested in it, because they have grown up and managed to see things that a child is not able to notice: that Lewis Carroll was an extraordinary thinker. «Alice in Wonderland» surprises an attentive reader with its logic puzzles, new look on the time and existence, quaint play on words, new linguistic discoveries, «new life» of folk-lore in the form of nonsense. This book is an object of searching for representatives of science: for mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, and, of course, for philologists.

My diploma consists of two main parts: theoretical part, where are stated the definition of homonyms, their sources and classification, some facts about Lewis Carroll and his book and here I went into the examples of using homonymy with the purpose of creating humorous effect by the author of the book. The practical part includes questions on the theory and several exercises on homonymy mostly based on the extracts from the text of «Alice in Wonderland».

I would recommend to use this work in the course of lexicology at the lessons on the themes «Homonymy» and «Stylistic devices».

II. Theoretical Part

II. 1 Different classifications of expressive means

In spite of the belief that rhetoric is an outmoded discipline it is in rhetoric that we find most of the terms contemporary stylistics generally employs as its metalanguage. Rhetoric is the initial source of information about metaphor, metonymy, epithet, antithesis, chiasmus, anaphora and many more. The classical rhetoric gave us still widely used terms of tropes and figures of speech.

That is why before looking into the new stylistic theories and findings it’s good to look back and see what’s been there for centuries. The problems of language in antique times became a concern of scholars because of the necessity to comment on literature and poetry. This necessity was caused by the fact that mythology and lyrical poetry was the study material on which the youth was brought up, taught to read and write and generally educated. Analysis of literary texts helped to transfer into the sphere of oratorical art the first philosophical notions and concepts.

The first linguistic theory called sophistry appeared in the fifth century В. С Oration played a paramount role in the social and political life of Greece so the art of rhetoric developed into a school.

Antique tradition ascribes some of the fundamental rhetorical notions to the Greek philosopher Gorgius (483−375 В. С). Together with another scholar named Trasimachus they created the first school of rhetoric whose principles were later developed by Aristotle (384−322 В. С.) in his books «Rhetoric» and «Poetics». Aristotle differentiated literary language and colloquial language. This first theory of style included 3 subdivisions:

* the choice of words;

* word combinations;

* figures.

1. The choice of words included lexical expressive means such as foreign words, archaisms, neologisms, poetic words, nonce words and metaphor.

2. Word combinations involved 3 things:

a) order of words;

b) word-combinations;

c) rhythm and period (in rhetoric, a complete sentence).

3. Figures of speech. This part included only 3 devices used by the antique authors always in the same order.

a) antithesis;

b) assonance of colons;

c) equality of colons.

A colon in rhetoric means one of the sections of a rhythmical period in Greek chorus consisting of a sequence of 2 to 6 feet.

Later contributions by other authors were made into the art of speaking and writing so that the most complete and well developed antique system, that came down to us is called the Hellenistic Roman rhetoric system. It divided all expressive means into 3 large groups: Tropes, Rhythm (Figures of Speech) and Types of Speech.

A condensed description of this system gives one an idea how much we owe the antique tradition in modern stylistic studies.

II.1.1 Hellenistic Roman rhetoric system


1. Metaphor--the application of a word (phrase) to an object (concept) it doesn’t literally denote to suggest comparison with another object or concept.

E. g. A mighty Fortress is our God.

Puzzle (Riddle)--a statement that requires thinking over a con fusing or difficult problem that needs to be solved.

Synecdoche--the mention of a part for the whole.

E.g. A fleet of 50 sail (ships)

4. Metonymy--substitution of one word for another on the basis of real connection.

E.g. Crown for sovereign; Homer for Homer’s poems; wealth for rich people.

5. Catachresis--misuse of a word due to the false folk etymology or wrong application of a term in a sense that does not belong to the word.

E.g. Alibi for excuse; mental for weak-minded; mutual for common; disinterested for uninterested.

A later term for it is malapropism that became current due to Mrs. Malaprop, a character from R. Sheridan’s The Rivals (1775). This sort of misuse is mostly based on similarity in sound.

E. g. That young violinist is certainly a child progeny (instead of prodigy).

6. Epithet--a word or phrase used to describe someone or some thing with a purpose to praise or blame.

E. g. It was a lovely, summery evening.

7. Periphrasis--putting things in a round about way in order to bring out some important feature or explain more clearly the idea or situation described,

E.g. I got an Arab boy… and paid him twenty rupees a month, about thirty bob, at which he was highly delighted. (Shute)

8. Hyperbole--use of exaggerated terms for emphasis.

E. g. A 1000 apologies; to wait an eternity; he is stronger than a lion.

9. Antonomasia--use of a proper name to express a general idea or conversely a common name for a proper one.

E.g. The Iron Lady; a Solomon; Don Juan.

Figures of Speech that create Rhythm

These expressive means were divided into 4 large groups:

Figures that create rhythm by means of addition

Doubling (reduplication, repetition) of words and sounds.

E. g. Tip-top, helter-skelter, wishy-washy, oh, the dreary, dreary moorland.

2. Epenalepsis (polysyndeton) conjunctions; use of several conjunctions.

E.g. He thought, and thought, and thought; I hadn’t realized until then how small the houses were, how small and mean the shops. (Shute)

3. Anaphora: repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more clauses, sentences or verses.

E. g. No tree, no shrub, no blade of grass, not a bird or beast, not even a fish that was not owned!

4. Ertjambment: running on of one thought into the next line, couplet or stanza without breaking the syntactical pattern.

E.g. In Ocean’s wide domains Half buried in the sands Lie skeletons in chains With shackled feet and hands. (Longfellow)

5. Asyndeton: omission of conjunction.

E. g. He provided the poor with jobs, with opportunity, with self-respect.

Figures based on compression

1. Zeugma (syllepsis): a figure by which a verb, adjective or other part of speech, relating to one noun is referred to another.

E. g. He lost his hat and his temper, with weeping eyes and hearts.

2. Chiasmus--a reversal in the order of words in one of two parallel phrases.

E. g. He went to the country, to the town went she.

3. Ellipsis--omission of words needed to complete the construction or the sense.

E.g. Tomorrow at 1. 30; The ringleader was hanged and his followers imprisoned.

Figures based on assonance or accord

Equality of colons--used to have a power to segment and arrange.

Proportions and harmony of colons.

Figures based on opposition

1. Antithesis--choice or arrangement of words that emphasises a contrast.

E.g. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, wise men use them; Give me liberty or give me death.

2. Paradiastola--the lengthening of a syllable regularly short (in Greek poetry).

3. Anastrophe--a term of rhetoric, meaning, the upsetting for effect of the normal order of words (inversion in contemporary terms).

E. g. Me he restored, him he hanged.

Types of speech

Ancient authors distinguished speech for practical and aesthetic purposes. Rhetoric dealt with the latter which was supposed to answer certain requirements* such as a definite choice of words, their assonance, deviation from ordinary vocabulary and employment of special stratums like poetic diction, neologisms and archaisms, onomatopoeia as well as appellation to tropes. One of the most important devices to create a necessary high-flown or dramatic effect was an elaborate rhythmical arrangement of eloquent speech that involved the obligatory use of the so-called figures or schemes. The quality of rhetoric as an art of speech was measured in terms of skilful combination, convergence, abundance or absence of these devices. Respectively all kinds of speech were labelled and represented in a kind of hierarchy including the following types: elevated; flowery /florid/ exquisite; poetic; normal; dry; scanty; hackneyed; tasteless.

Attempts to analyse and determine the style-forming features of prose also began in ancient times. Demetrius of Alexandria who lived in Greece in the 3d century ВС was an Athenian orator, statesman and philosopher. He used the ideas of such earlier theorists as Aristotle and characterized styles by rhetoric of purpose that required certain grammatical constructions.

The Plain Style, he said, is simple, using many active verbs and keeping its subjects (nouns) spare. Its purposes include lucidity, clarity, familiarity, and the necessity to get its work done crisply and well. So this style uses few difficult compounds, coinages or qualifications (such as epithets or modifiers). It avoids harsh sounds, or odd orders. It employs helpful connective terms and clear clauses with firm endings. In every way it tries to be natural, following the order of events themselves with moderation and repetition as in dialogue.

The Eloquent Style in contrast changes the natural order of events to effect control over them and give the narration expressive power rather than sequential account. So this style may be called passive in contrast to active.

As strong assumptions are made subjects are tremendously amplified without the activity of predication because inherent qualities rather than new relations are stressed. Sentences are lengthy, rounded, well balanced, with a great deal of elaborately connected material. Words can be unusual, coined; meanings can be implied, oblique, and symbolic. Sounds can fill the mouth, perhaps, harshly.

Two centuries later a Greek rhetorician and historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus who lived in Rome in the ls ( century ВС characterized one of the Greek orators in such a way: «His harmony is natural, stately, spacious, articulated by pauses rather than strongly polished and joined by connectives; naturally off-balance, not rounded and symmetrical. «

Dionyssius wrote over twenty books, most famous of which are «On Imitation», «Commentaries on the Ancient Orators» and «On the Arrangement of Words». The latter is the only surviving ancient study of principles of word order and euphony.

For the Romans a recommended proportion for language units in verse was two nouns and two adjectives to one verb, which they called «the golden line».

Gradually the choices of certain stylistic features in different combinations settled into three types--plain, middle and high. Nowadays there exist dozens of classifications of expressive means of a language and all of them involve to a great measure the same elements. They differ often only in terminology and criteria of classification.

Three of the modern classifications of expressive means in the English language that are commonly recognized and used in teaching stylistics today will be discussed further in brief.

They have been offered by G. Leech, I. R. Galperin and Y. M. Skrebnev.

II. 1.2 Stylistic theory and classification of expresssive means by G. Leech

One of the first linguists who tried «to modernize» traditional rhetoric system was a British scholar G. Leech. In 1967 his contribution into stylistic theory in the book «Essays on Style and Language» was published in London. Paying tribute to the descriptive linguistics popular at the time he tried to show linguistic theory could be accommodated to the task of describing such rhetorical figures as metaphor, parallelism, alliteration, personification and others in the present-day study of literature.

Proceeding from the popular definition of literature as the creative use of language Leech claims that this can be equated with the use of deviant forms of language. According to his theory the first principle with which a linguist should approach literature is the degree of generality of statement about language. There are two particularly important ways in which the description of language entails generalization. In the first place language operates by what may be called descriptive generalization. For example, a grammarian may give descriptions of such pronouns as /, they, it, him, etc. as objective personal pronouns with the following categories: first/third person, singular/plural, masculine, non-reflexive* animate/inanimate.

Although they require many ways of description they are all pronouns and each of them may be explicitly described in this fashion.

The other type of generalization is implicit and would be appropriate in the case of such words as language and dialect This sort of description would be composed of individual events of speaking, writing, hearing and reading. From these events generalization may cover the linguistic behaviour of whole populations. In this connection Leech maintains the importance of distinguishing two scales in the language. He calls them «register scale» and «dialect scale». «Register scale» distinguishes spoken language from written language, the language of respect from that of condescension, advertising from science, etc. The term covers linguistic activity within society. «Dialect scale» differentiates language of people of different age, sex, social strata, geographical area or individual linguistic habits (ideolect).

According to Leech the literary work of a particular author must be studied with reference to both--«dialect scale» and «register scale».

The notion of generality essential to Leech’s criteria of classifying stylistic devices has to do with linguistic deviation.

He points out that it’s a commonplace to say that writers and poets use language in an unorthodox way and are allowed a certain degree of «poetic licence». «Poetic licence» relates to the scales of descriptive and institutional delicacy,

Words like thou, thee, thine, thy not only involve description by number and person but in social meaning have «a strangeness value» or connotative value because they are charged with overtones of piety, historical period, poetics, etc.

The language of literature is on the whole marked by a number of deviant features. Thus Leech builds his classification on the principle of distinction between the normal and deviant features in the language of literature.

Among deviant features he distinguishes paradigmatic and syntagmatic deviations. All figures can be initially divided into syntagmatic or paradigmatic. Linguistic units are connected- syntagmatically when they combine sequentially in a linear linguistic form.

Paradigmatic items enter into a system of possible selections at one point of the chain. Syntagmatic items can be viewed horizontally, paradigmatic--vertically.

Paradigmatic figures give the writer a choice from equivalent items, which are contrasted to the normal range of choices. For instance, certain nouns can normally be followed by certain adverbs, the choice dictated by their normal lexical valency: inches/feet/yard + away, e. g. He was standing only a few feet away.

However the author’s choice of a noun may upset the normal system and create a paradigmatic deviation that we come across in literary and poetic language: farmyards away, a grief ago, all sun long. Schematically this relationship could look like this









The contrast between deviation and norm may be accounted for by metaphor which involves semantic transfer of combinatory links.

Another example of paradigmatic deviation is personification. In this case we deal with purely grammatical oppositions of personal/ impersonal; animate/inanimate; concrete/abstract.

This type of deviation entails the use of an inanimate noun in a context appropriate to a personal noun.

As Connie had said, she handled just like any other aeroplane, except that she had better manners than most. (Shute). In this example she stands for the aeroplane and makes it personified on the grammatical level.

The deviant use of she in this passage is reinforced by the collocation with better manners, which can only be associated with human beings.



Normal inanimate neuter




Deviant animate female


This sort of paradigmatic deviation Leech calls «unique deviation» because it comes as an unexpected and unpredictable choice that defies the norm. He compares it with what the Prague school of linguistics called «foregrounding».

Unlike paradigmatic figures based on the effect of gap in the expected choice of a linguistic form syntagmatic deviant features result from the opposite. Instead of missing the predictable choice the author imposes the same kind of choice in the same place. A syntagmatic chain of language units provides a choice of equivalents to be made at different points in this chain, but the writer repeatedly makes the same selection. Leech illustrates this by alliteration in the furrow followed where the choice of alliterated words is not necessary but superimposed for stylistic effect on the ordinary background.

This principle visibly stands out in some tongue-twisters due to the deliberate overuse of the same sound in every word of the phrase. So instead of a sentence like «Robert turned over a hoop in a circle» we have the intentional redundancy of «r» in «Robert Rowley rolled a round roll round».

Basically the difference drawn by Leech between syntagmatic and paradigmatic deviations comes down to the redundancy of choice in the first case and a gap in the predicted pattern in the second.

This classification includes other subdivisions and details that cannot all be covered here but may be further studied in Leech’s book.

This approach was an attempt to treat stylistic devices with reference to linguistic theory that would help to analyse the nature of stylistic function viewed as a result of deviation from the lexical and grammatical norm of the language.

II. 1. 3 I. R. Galperin’s classification of expressive means and stylistic devices

The classification suggested by Prof. Galperin is simply organised and very detailed. His manual «Stylistics» published in 1971 includes the following subdivision of expressive means and stylistic devices based on the level-oriented approach:

Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices.

2. Lexical, expressive means and stylistic devices.

3. Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices*.

1. Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devicesTo this group Galperin refers such means as:

onomatopoeia (direct and indirect): ding-dong; silver bells… tinkle, tinkle;

alliteration (initial rhyme): to rob Peter to pay Paul;

rhyme (full, incomplete, compound or broken, eye rhyme, internal rhyme. Also, stanza rhymes: couplets, triple, cross, framing/ring);


Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices

There are three big subdivisions in this class of devices and they all deal with the semantic nature of a word or phrase. However the criteria of selection of means for each subdivision are different and manifest different semantic processes.

1. In the first subdivision the principle of classification is the interaction of different types of a word’s meanings: dictionary, contextual, derivative, nominal, and emotive. The stylistic effect of the lexical means is achieved through the binary opposition of dictionary and contextual or logical and emotive or primary and derivative meanings of a word.

A. The first group includes means based on the interplay of dictionary and contextual meanings:

metaphor: Dear Nature is the kindest Mother still. (Byron)

metonymy: The camp, the pulpit and the law

For rich man’s sons are free.


irony: It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one’s pocket.

The second unites means based on the interaction of primary and derivative meanings:

polysemy: Massachusetts was hostile to the American flag, and she would not allow it to be hoisted on her State House;

zeugma and pun: May’s mother always stood on her gentility; and Dot’s mother never stood on anything but her active little feet. (Dickens)

C. The third group comprises means based on the opposition of logical and emotive meanings:

interjections and exclamatory words:

All present life is but an interjection

An 'Oh' or 'Ah' of joy or misery,

Or a 'Ha! ha!' or 'Bah!'~a yawn or 'Pooh!'

Of which perhaps the latter is most true.


epithet: a well-matched, fairly-balanced give-and-take couple. (Dickens) oxymoron: peopled desert, populous solitude, proud humility. (Byron)

D. The fourth group is based on the interaction of logical and nominal meanings and includes:

antonomasia: Mr. Facing-Both-Ways does not get very far in this world. (The Times)

II. The principle for distinguishing the second big subdivision according to Galperin is entirely different from the first one and is based on the interactionbetween two lexical meanings simultaneously materialised in the context. This kind of interaction helps to call special attention to a certain feature of the object described. Here belong:

simile: treacherous as a snake, faithful as a dog, slow as a tortoise. periphrasis: a gentleman of the long robe (a lawyer); the fair sex. (women)

euphemism: In private I should call him a liar. In the Press you should use the words: 'Reckless disregard for truth'. (Galsworthy)

hyperbole: The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in and the sun and the moon were made to give them light. (Dickens)

III. The third subdivision comprises stable word combinations in their interaction with the context:

cliches: clockwork precision, crushing defeat, the whip and carrot policy. proverbs and sayings: Come! he said, milk’s spilt. (Galsworthy) epigrams: A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. (Keats) quotations: Ecclesiastes saidy 'that all is vanity'. (Byron) allusions: Shakespeare talks of the herald Mercury. (Byron) decomposition of set phrases: You know which side the law’s buttered. (Galsworthy)

3. Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices

Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices are not paradigmatic but syntagmatic or structural means. In defining syntactical devices Gaiperin proceeds from the following thesis: the structural elements have their own independent meaning and this meaning may affect the lexical meaning. In doing so it may impart a special contextual meaning to some of the lexical units.

The principal criteria for classifying syntactical stylistic devices are:

the juxtaposition of the parts of an utterance;

the type of connection of the parts;

the peculiar use of colloquial constructions;

the transference of structural meaning.

Devices built on the principle of juxtaposition

inversion (several types):

A tone of most extravagant comparison Miss Tox said it in. (Dickens)

Down dropped the breeze. (Colerigde)

detached constructions:

She was lovely: all of her--delightful. (Dreiser)

parallel constructions:

The seeds ye sow--another reaps,

The robes ye weave--another wears

The arms ye forge--another bears.



In the days of old men made manners Manners now make men. (Byron)

repetition: For glances beget ogles, ogles sighs, sighs wishes, wishes words, and words a letter. (Byron)

enumeration: The principle production of these towns… appear to be soldiers, sailors, Jews, chalk, shrimps, officers, and dock-yard men. (Dickens)


Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle… Know ye the land of the cedar and vine…

'Tis the clime of the East-'tis the land of the Sun.


climax: They looked at hundred of houses, they climbed thousands of stairs, they inspected innumerable kitchens. (Maugham)

antithesis: Youth is lovely, age is lonely; Youth is fiery, age is frost. (Longfellow)

Devices based on the type of connection include

Asyndeton: Soams turned away, he had an utter disinclination for talk, like one standing before an open grave… (Galsworthy)

polysyndeton: The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. (Dickens)

gap-sentence link: It was an afternoon to dream. And she took out Jon’s letters. (Galsworthy)

Figures united by the peculiar use of colloquial constructions

Ellipsis: Nothing so difficult as a beginning; how soft the chin which bears his touch. (Byron)

Aposiopesis (break-in-the-narrative): Good intentions but -; You just come home or I’ll…

Question in the narrative: Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? (Dickens)

Represented speech (uttered and unuttered or inner represented speech):

Marshal asked the crowd to disperse and urged responsible diggers to prevent any disturbance… (Pilchard)

Over and over he was asking himself: would she receive him?

Transferred use of structural meaning involves such figures as

Rhetorical questions; How long must we suffer? Where is the end? (Norris)

Litotes: He was no gentle lamb (London); Mr. Bardell was no deceiver. (Dickens)

Since «Stylistics» by Galperin is the basic manual recommended for this course at university level no further transposition of its content is deemed necessary. However other attempts have been made to classify all expressive means and stylistic devices because some principles applied in this system do not look completely consistent and reliable. There are two big subdivisions here that classify all devices into either lexical or syntactical. At the same time there is a kind of mixture of principles since some devices obviously involve both lexical and syntactical features, e. g. antithesis, climax, periphrasis, irony, and others.

According to Galperin there are structural and compositional syntactical devices, devices built on transferred structural meaning and the type of syntactical connection and devices that involve a peculiar use of colloquial constructions. Though very detailed this classification provokes some questions concerning the criteria used in placing the group 'peculiar use of colloquial constructions' among the syntactical means and the group called 'peculiar use of set expressions' among the lexical devices. Another criterion used for classifying lexical expressive means namely, 'intensification of a certain feature of a thing or phenomenon' also seems rather dubious. Formulated like this it could be equally applied to quite a number of devices placed by the author in other subdivisions of this classification with a different criteria of identification, such as metaphoT, metonymy, epithet, repetition, inversion, suspense, etc. It does not seem quite just to place all cases of ellipsis, aposiopesis or represented speech among colloquial constructions.

II. 1.4 Classification of expressive means and stylistic devices by Y.M. Skrebnev

One of the latest classifications of expressive means and stylistic devices is given in the book «Fundamentals of English Stylistics» by Y.M. Skrebnev published in 1994. Skrebnev’s approach demonstrates a combination of principles observed in Leech’s system of paradigmatic and syntagmatic subdivision and the level-oriented approach on which Galperin’s classification is founded. At the same time it differs from both since Skrebnev managed to avoid mechanical superposition of one system onto another and created a new consistent method of the hierarchical arrangement of this material.

Skrebnev starts with a holistic view, constructing a kind of language pyramid.

He doesn’t pigeonhole expressive means and stylistic devices into appropriate layers of language like Leech and Galperin. Skrebnev first subdivides stylistics into paradigmatic stylistics (or stylistics of units) and syntagmatic stylistics (or stylistics of sequences). Then he explores the levels of the language and regards all stylistically relevant phenomena according to this level principle in both paradigmatic and syntagmatic stylistics.

He also uniquely singles out one more level. In addition to phonetics, morphology, lexicology and syntax he adds semasiology (or semantics).

According to Skrebnev the relationship between these five levels and two aspects of stylistic analysis is bilateral. The same linguistic material of these levels provides stylistic features studied by paradigmatic and syntagmatic stylistics. The difference lies in its different arrangement.

Paradigmatic stylistics < 1. Phonetics > Syntagmatic (Stylistics of units)

< 2. Morphology > stylistics

< 3. Lexicology > (Stylistics of

< 4. Syntax sequences)

< 5. Semasiology >

Paradigmatic stylistics

Looking closer into this system we’ll be able to distinguish specific units and their stylistic potentials or functions. Thus paradigmatic stylistics (stylistics of units) is subdivided into five branches.

Paradigmatic phonetics actually describes phonographical stylistic features of a written text. Since we cannot hear written speech but in our «mind» writers often resort to graphic means to reproduce the phonetic peculiarities of individual speech or dialect. Such intentional non-standard spelling is called «graphons» (a term borrowed from V.A. Kucharenko).

I know these Eye — talians ! (Lawrence) -- in this case the graphon is used to show despise or contempt of the speaker for Italians.

In Cockney speech whose phonetic peculiarities are all too well known you’ll hear [ai] in place of [ei], [a:] instead of [au], they drop «h's» and so on. It frequently becomes a means of speech characterisation and often creates a humorous effect.

The author illustrates it with a story of a cockney family trying to impress a visitor with their «correct» English:

«Father, said one of the children at breakfast. --I want some more 'am please». --You mustn’t say 'am, my child, the correct form is 'am,-- retorted his father, passing the plate with sliced ham on it. «But I did say 'am, pleaded the boy». «No, you didn’t you said 'am instead of 'am». The mother turned to the guest smiling". «Oh, don’t mind them, sir, pray. They are both trying to say 'am and both think it is 'am they are saying»

Other graphic means to emphasise the «unheard» phonetic characteristics such as the pitch of voice, the stress, and other melodic features are italics, capitalisation, repetition of letters, onomatopoeia (sound imitation).

E.g. I AM sorry; «Appeeee Noooooyeeeeerr» (Happy New Year); cock-a-doodle-doo.

Paradigmatic morphology observes the stylistic potentials of grammar forms, which Leech would describe as deviant. Out of several varieties of morphological categorial forms the author chooses a less predictable or unpredictable one, which renders this form some stylistic connotation. The peculiar use of a number of grammatical categories for stylistic purposes may serve as an ample example of this type of expressive means.

The use of a present tense of a verb on the background of a past-tense narration got a special name historical present in linguistics.

E. g. What else do 1 remember? Let me see.

There comes out of the cloud our house… (Dickens)

Another category that helps create stylistic colouring is that of gender. The result of its deviant use is personification and depersonification. As Skrebnev points out although the morphological category of gender is practically non-existent in modern English special rules concern whole classes of nouns that are traditionally associated with feminine or masculine gender. Thus countries are generally classed as feminine (France sent her representative to the conference.) Abstract notions associated with strength and fierceness are personified as masculine while feminine is associated with beauty or gentleness (death, fear, war, anger--Zie, spring, peace, kindness--she). Names of vessels and other vehicles (ship, boat, carriage, coach, car) are treated as feminine.

Another deviant use of this category according to Skrebnev is the use of animate nouns as inanimate ones that he terms «depersonification» illustrated by the following passage:

«Where did you find it?» asked Mord Em’ly of Miss Giiliken with a satirical accent.

«Who are you calling „it“?» demanded Mr. Barden aggressively. «P'raps you’ll kindly call me «im and not it». (Partridge)

Similar cases of deviation on the morphological level are given by the author for the categories of person, number, mood and some others.

Paradigmatic lexicology subdivides English vocabulary into stylistic layers. In most works on this problem (cf. books by Galperin, Arnold, Vmogradov) all words of the national language are usually described in terms of neutral, literary and colloquial with further subdivision into poetic, archaic, foreign, jargonisms, slang, etc.

Skrebnev uses different terms for practically the same purposes. His terminology includes correspondingly neutral, positive (elevated) and negative (degraded) layers.

Subdivision inside these categories is much the same with the exclusion of such groups as bookish and archaic words and special terms that Galperin, for example, includes into the special literary vocabulary (described as positive in Skrebnev’s system) while Skrebnev claims that they may have both a positive and negative stylistic function depending on the purpose of the utterance and the context.

The same consideration concerns the so-called barbarisms or foreign is whose stylistic value (elevated or degraded) depends on the I of text in which they are used. To illustrate his point Skrebnev s two examples of barbarisms used by people of different social, s and age. Used by an upper-class character from John Galswor-the word chic has a tinge of elegance showing the character’s iwledge of French, He maintains that Italian words ciao and nbina current among Russian youngsters at one time were also nsidered stylistically 'higher' than their Russian equivalents. At the пе time it’s hard to say whether they should all be classified as isitive just because they are of foreign origin. Each instance of use ould be considered individually.

Stylistic differentiation suggested by Skrebnev includes the following ratification:





Bookish and archaic words occupy a peculiar place among the other positive words due to the fact that they can be found in any other group (poetic, official or professional).



colloquial; neologisms;

jargon; slang; nonce-words;

vulgar words.

Special mention is made of terms. The author maintains that the stylistic function of terms varies in different types of speech.

In non-professional spheres, such as literary prose, newspaper texts, everyday speech special terms are associated with socially prestigious occupations and therefore are marked as elevated. On the other hand the use of non-popular terms, unknown to the average speaker, shows a pretentious manner of speech, lack of taste or tact.

Paradigmatic syntax has to do with the sentence paradigm: completeness of sentence structure, communicative types of sentences, word order, and type of syntactical connection.

Paradigmatic syntactical means of expression arranged according to these four types include

Completeness of sentence structure



one-member nominative sentences.

Redundancy, repetition of sentence parts, syntactic tautology (prolepsis), polysyndeton.

Word order

Inversion of sentence members.

Communicative types of sentences

Quasi-affirmative sentences: Isn’t that too bad? = That is too bad.

Quasi-interrogative sentences: Here you are to write down your age and

birthplace = How old are you? Where were you born?

Quasi-negative sentences: Did I say a word about the money (Shaw) = / did not say…

Quasi-imperative sentences: Here! Quick! = Come here! Be quick!

In these types of sentences the syntactical formal meaning of the structure contradicts the actual meaning implied so that negative sentences read affirmative, questions do not require answers but are in fact declarative sentences (rhetorical questions), etc. One communicative meaning appears in disguise of another. Skrebnev holds that «the task of stylistic analysis is to find out to what type of speech (and its sublanguage) the given construction belongs.» (47, p. 100).

Type of syntactic connection


parenthetic elements;

asyndetic subordination and coordination.

Paradigmatic semasiology deals with transfer of names or what are traditionally known as tropes. In Skrebnev’s classification these expressive means received the term based on their ability to rename: figures of replacement.

All figures of replacement are subdivided into 2 groups: figures of quantity and figures of quality.

Figures of quantity. In figures of quantity renaming is based on inexactitude of measurements, in other words it’s either saying too much (overestimating, intensifying the properties) or too little (underestimating the size, value, importance, etc.) about the object or phenomenon. Accordingly there are two figures of this type.


E. g. You couldn’t hear yourself think for the noise.

Meosis {understatement, litotes).

E. g. It’s not unusual for him to come home at this hour.

According to Skrebnev this is the most primitive type of renaming.

Figures of quality comprise 3 types of renaming:

* transfer based on a real connection between the object of nomination and the object whose name it’s given.

This is called metonymy in its two forms: synecdoche and periphrasis.

E. g. I’m all ears; Hands wanted.

Periphrasis and its varieties euphemism and anti-euphemism.

E.g. Ladies and the worser halves; I never call a spade a spade, I call t a bloody shovel.

* transfer based on affinity (similarity, not real connection): metaphor.

Ikrebnev describes metaphor as an expressive renaming on the basis of similarity of two objects. The speaker searches for associations in his mind’s eye, the ground for comparison is not so open to view is with metonymy. It’s more complicated in nature. Metaphor has no formal limitations Skrebnev maintains, and that is why this is not a purely lexical stylistic device as many authors describe it (see jalperin’s classification).

This is a device that can involve a word, a part of a sentence or in whole sentence. We may add that whole works of art can be viewed is metaphoric and an example of it is the novel by John Updike «The Centaur».

As for the varieties there are not just simple metaphors like She is a flower, but sustained metaphors, also called extended, when one netaphorical statement creating an image is followed by another inked to the previous one: This is a day of your golden opportunity, Sarge. Don’t let it turn to brass. (Pendelton)

Often a sustained metaphor gives rise to a device called catachresis or mixed metaphor)---which consists in the incongruity of the parts of a sustained metaphor. This happens when objects of the two or more parts of a sustained metaphor belong to different semantic spheres and the logical chain seems disconnected. The effect is usually comical.

E. g. «For somewhere», said Poirot to himself indulging an absolute riot of mixed metaphors «there is in the hay a needle, and among the sleeping dogs there is one on whom I shall put my foot, and by shooting the arrow into the air, one will come down and hit a glass-house!» (Christie)

A Belgian speaking English confused a number of popular proverbs and quotations that in reality look like the following: to look for a needle in a haystack', to let sleeping dogs lie', to put one’s foot down; I shot an arrow into the air (Longfellow); people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Other varieties of metaphor according to Skrebnev also include

Allusion defined as reference to a famous historical, literary, mythological or biblical character or event, commonly known.

E. g. It’s his Achilles heel (myth of vulnerability). Personification--attributing human properties to lifeless objects.

E.g. How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, Stol’n on his wing my three and twentieth year! (Milton)

Antonomasia defined as a variety of allusion, because in Skrebnev’s view it’s the use of the name of a historical, literary, mythological or biblical personage applied to a person described. Some of the most famous ones are Brutus (traitor), Don Juan (lady's man).

It should be noted that this definition is only limited to the allusive nature of this device. There is another approach (cf. Galperin and others) in which antonomasia also covers instances of transference of common nouns in place of proper names, such as Mr. Noble Knight, Duke the Iron Heart.

Allegory expresses abstract ideas through concrete pictures.

E. g. The scales of justice; It’s time to beat your swords into ploughshares.

It should be noted that allegory is not just a stylistic term, but also a term of art in general and can be found in other artistic forms: in painting, sculpture, dance, and architecture.

* transfer by contrast when the two objects are opposed implies irony.

Irony (meaning «concealed mockery», in Greek eironeia) is a device based on the opposition of meaning to the sense (dictionary and contextual). Here we observe the greatest semantic shift between the notion named and the notion meant.

Skrebnev distinguishes 2 kinds of ironic utterances:

-- obviously explicit ironical, which no one would take at their face value due to the situation, tune and structure.

E. g. A fine friend you are! That’s a pretty kettle offish!

-- and implicit, when the ironical message is communicated against a wider context like in Oscar Wilde’s tale «The Devoted Friend» where the real meaning of the title only becomes obvious after you read the story. On the whole irony is used with the aim of critical evaluation and the general scheme is praise stands for blame and extremely rarely in the reverse order. However when it does happen the term in the latter case is astheism.

E. g. Clever bastard! Lucky devil!

One of the powerful techniques of achieving ironic effect is the mixture of registers of speech (social styles appropriate for the occasion): high-flown style on socially low topics or vice versa.

Syntagmatic stylistics

Syntagmatic stylistics (stylistics of sequences) deals with the stylistic functions of linguistic units used in syntagmatic chains, in linear combinations, not separately but in connection with other units. Syntagmatic stylistics falls into the same level determined branches.

Syntagmatic phonetics deals with the interaction of speech sounds and intonation, sentence stress, tempo. All these features that characterise suprasegmental speech phonetically are sometimes also called prosodic.

So stylistic phonetics studies such stylistic devices and expressive means as alliteration (recurrence of the initial consonant in two or more words in close succession). It’s a typically English feature because ancient English poetry was based more on alliteration than on rhyme. We find a vestige of this once all-embracing literary device in proverbs and sayings that came down to us,

E. g. Now or never, Last but not least; As good as gold.

With time its function broadened into prose and other types of texts.

It became very popular in titles, headlines and slogans.

E. g. Pride and Prejudice. (Austin)

Posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club. (Dickens)

work or wages!; Workers of the world, unite !

Speaking of the change of this device’s role chronologically we ould make special note of its prominence in certain professional eas of modern English that has not been mentioned by Skrebnev. Today alliteration is one of the favourite devices of commercials and advertising language.

E.g. New whipped cream: No mixing or measuring. No beating or the ring.

Colgate toothpaste: The Flavor’s Fresher than ever--It's New. Improved, Fortified.

Assonance (the recurrence of stressed vowels).

E.g. … Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if within the distant Aiden; shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore. (Рое)

Paronomasia (using words similar in sound but different in meaning th euphonic effect).

The popular example to illustrate this device is drawn from E. A. Poe’s Raven.

E.g. And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting Rhythm and meter.

The pattern of interchange of strong and weak segments is called rhythm. It’s a regular recurrence of stressed and unstressed syllables that make a poetic text. Various combinations of stressed and un-tressed syllables determine the metre (iambus, dactyl, trochee, etc.).

Rhyme is another feature that distinguishes verse from prose and consists in the acoustic coincidence of stressed syllables at the end of verse lines.

Here’s an example to illustrate dactylic meter and rhyme given in Skrebnev’s book

Take her up tenderly,

Lift her with care,

Fashion’d so slenderly

Young and so fair. (Hood)

Syntagmatic morphology deals with the importance of grammar forms used in a paragraph or text that help in creating a certain stylistic effect.

We find much in common between Skrebnev’s description of this area and Leech’s definition of syntagmatic deviant figures. Skrebnev writes: «Varying the morphological means of expressing grammatical hotions is based… upon the general rule: monotonous repetition of morphemes or frequent recurrence of morphological meanings expressed differently…» (47, p. 146).

He also indicates that while it is normally considered a stylistic fault it acquires special meaning when used on purpose. He describes the effect achieved by the use of morphological synonyms of the genetive with Shakespeare--the possessive case (Shakespeare's plays), prepositional o/-phrase (the plays of Shakespeare) and an attributive noun (Shakespeare plays) as «elegant variation» of style.

Syntagmatic lexicology studies the «word-and-context» juxtaposition that presents a number of stylistic problems--especially those connected with co-occurrence of words of various stylistic colourings.

Each of these cases must be considered individually because each literary text is unique in its choice and combination of words. Such phenomena as various instances of intentional and unintentional lexical mixtures as well as varieties of lexical recurrence fall in with this approach.

Some new more modem stylistic terms appear in this connection-stylistic irradiation, heterostylistic texts, etc. We can observe this sort of stylistic mixture in a passage from O’Henry provided by Skrebnev:

Jeff, says Andy after a long time, quite umeidom I have seen fit to impugn your molars when you have been chewing the rag with me about your conscientious way of doing business.,.

Syntagmatic syntax deals with more familiar phenomena since it has to do with the use of sentences in a text. Skrebnev distinguishes purely syntactical repetition to which he refers parallelism as structural repetition of sentences though often accompanied by the lexical repetition

E. g. The cock is crowing, The stream is flowing… (Wordsworth)

and lexico-syntactical devices such as

anaphora (identity of beginnings, initial elements).

E. g. If only little Edward were twenty, old enough to marry well and fend for himself instead often. If only it were not necessary to provide a dowaryforhis daughter. If only his own debts were less. (Rutherfurd)

Epiphora (opposite of the anaphora, identical elements at the end of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, stanzas).

E. g. For all averred, I had killed the bird. That made the breeze to blow. Ah wretch! Said they, the bird to slay, That made the breeze to blow!


Framing (repetition of some element at the beginning and at the end of a sentence, paragraph or stanza).

E.g. Never wonder. By means of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, settle everything somehow, and never wonder. (Dickens)

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