Language and speech functions. 

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Language and speech functions.

The minimum ‘living unit’ of language and of literature is a speech act.

There are 2 types of information:

1) connected with the context(connotation), connected with the act of communication, taking into account the relationships between the speakers, the situation on the whole.

(Intellectually-communicative function of the language. Arnold)

2) Not connected with the context (denotation) the objective information, the real topic of discussion. (Emotive, volitional, аппелятивная, контактоустанавливающая,aesthetic functions of the language. Arnold)

According to Jacobson, we divide language functions into 6 factors required for communication:1 context, 2 addresser, 3 addressee, 4 contact, 5 common code, 6 message.

A message is sent by the addresser to the addressee. The message can’t be understood outside the context. “A Code” should be common fully or at least to the addresser and addressee. A contact which is physical channel and psychological connection b\n addresser and addressee is necessary for both of them to enter and stay in communication.

The functions:

referential (oriented toward the context. To show things or facts e.g. “Water boils at 100 degrees”)

emotive (expressive) ( Oriented toward the addresser, come out when we want to express our emotions though we don’t speak to give an information. E.g. interjections “Ah” and “Oh”)

conative ( Oriented toward the addressee, finds its purest grammatical expression in vocative and imperative sentences e.g. “DRINK!” or “Go away!”)

metalingual (Used to establish mutual agreement on the code and when the language is used to speak about the language e.g. “What do you mean by “drill”? / a definition)

poetic ( puts “the focus on the message for its own sake” e.g. “Horrible Harry” not terrible.

phatic (establishes, prolongs or discontinues the communication. We use this function to check if the channel between speaker and listener works and to maintain the contact e.g. “ Do you hear me?”)

Everything that goes beyond the referential function & communicational role of language belongs to the province of expressiveness: emotive overtones, rhythm, emphasis, emotional colouring of the word, emphatic arrangement of sound, word, phrase, evocative devices (the devices which account for a particular function of the language in different spheres of communication). These are elements that associate language with a particular social environment.

Stylistic Differentiation of Phraseological Units. Stylistic Functioning of Phraseological Units.

In stylistics we analyse the component parts of phraseological unit in order to get at some communicative effect sought by the writer. It is this communicative effect and the means employed to achieve it that lie within the domain of stylistics.

The Clichés

A cliché is generally defined as an expression that has become hackneyed and trite. As Random House Dictionary has it, "a cliché... has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long over-use..." This definition lacks one point that should be emphasized; that is, a cliché strives after originality, whereas it has lost the aesthetic generating power it once had. There is always a contradiction between what is aimed at and what is actually attained. Examples of real cliches are 'rosy dreams of youth', 'the patter of little feet', 'deceptively simple'. The term 'cliché' is used to denote word-combinations which have long lost their novelty and become trite, but which are used as if they were fresh and original and so have become irritating to people who are sensitive to the language they hear and read. The set expressions of a language are 'part and parcel' of the vocabulary of the language and cannot be dispensed with by merely labeling them clichés.

Proverbs and Sayings

Proverbs and sayings are facts of language. They are collected in special dictionaries. It is impossible to arrange proverbs and sayings in a form that would present a pattern even though they have some typical features by which it is possible to determine whether or not we are dealing with one. These typical features are: rhythm, sometimes rhyme and/or alliteration. But the most characteristic feature of a proverb or a saying lies in the content-form of the utterance. As is known, a proverb or a saying is a peculiar mode of utterance which is mainly characterized by its brevity. The peculiarity of the use of a proverb lies in the fact that the actual wording becomes a pattern which needs no new wording to suggest extensions of meaning which are contextual. In other words, a proverb presupposes a simultaneous application of two meanings: the face-value or primary meaning, and an extended meaning drawn from the context.

Linguistic features: Proverbs are brief statements showing in condensed form the accumulated life experience of the community and serving as conventional practical symbols for abstract ideas. They are usually didactic and image bearing. Many of them through frequency of repeti­tion have become polished and wrought into verse-like shape, as in the following:

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

Brevity in proverbs manifests itself also in the omission of connectives, as in:

"First come, first served." "Out of sight, out of mind."

But the main feature distinguishing proverbs and sayings from or­dinary utterances remains their semantic aspect. Their literal meaning is suppressed by what may be termed their transferred meaning. In other words, one meaning (literal) is the form for another meaning (transferred) which contains the idea. Proverbs and sayings, if used appropriately, will never lose their freshness and vigor. The most no­ticeable thing about the functioning of sayings, proverbs and catch-phrases is that they may be handled not in their fixed form (the tradi­tional model) but with modifications. When a prov­erb is used in its unaltered form it can be qualified as an expressive means (EM) of the language; when used in a modified variant it assumes the one of the features of an SD, it acquires a stylistic meaning, though not becoming an SD.


An epigram is a stylistic device akin to a proverb, the only difference being that epigrams are coined by individuals whose names we know, while proverbs are the coinage of the people. Epigrams are terse, witty, pointed statements, showing the ingenious turn of mind of the originator. They always have a literary-bookish air about them that distinguishes them from proverbs. Epigrams possess a great degree of independence and therefore, if taken out of the context, will retain the wholeness of the idea they express. They have a generaliz­ing function and are self-sufficient. The most characteristic feature of an epigram is that the sentence gets accepted as a word-combination and often becomes part of the language as a whole.

"A God that can be understood is no God."

This sentence seems to meet all the necessary requirements of the epigram: it is brief, generalizing, witty and can be expanded in its appli­cation. The same applies to Byron's

" the days of old men made manners; Manners now make men" ("Don Juan")


A quotation is a repetition of a phrase or statement from a book, speech and the like used by way of authority, illustration, proof or as a basis for further speculation on the matter in hand. By repeating a passage in a new environment, we attach to the ut­terance an importance it might not have had in the context whence it was taken. Moreover, we give it the status, temporary though it may be, of a stable language unit. What is quoted must be worth quoting, since a quotation will inevitably acquire some degree of generalization. If repeated frequently, it may be recognized as an epigram, if, of course, it has at least some of the linguistic properties of the latter. Quotations are usually marked off in the text by inverted commas (" "), dashes (—), italics or other graphical means. They are mostly used accompanied by a reference to the author of the quotation, unless he is well known to the reader or audience. The reference is made either in the text or in a foot-note and assumes va­rious forms, as, for instance: "as (so and so) has it"; "(So and so) once said that"...; "Here we quote (so and so)" The stylistic value of a quotation lies mainly in the fact that it com­prises two meanings: the primary meaning, the one which it has in its original surroundings, and the applicative meaning, i.e. the one which it acquires in the new context.


An allusion is an indirect reference, by word or phrase, to a historical, literary, mythological, biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life made in the course of speaking or writing. The use of allusion presup­poses knowledge of the fact, thing or person alluded to on the part of the reader or listener. As a rule no indication of the source is given. This is one of the notable differences between quotation and allusion. Another difference is of a structural nature: a quotation must repeat the exact wording of the original even though the meaning may be modified by the new context; an allusion is only a mention of a word or phrase which may be regarded as the key-word of the utterance. An allusion has cer­tain important semantic peculiarities, in that the meaning of the word (the allusion) should be regarded as a form for the new meaning. In other words, the primary meaning of the word or phrase which is assumed to be known (i.e. the allusion) serves as a vessel into which new meaning is poured. So here there is also a kind of interplay between two meanings.

Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and the knowledge of the writer who presupposes a similar experience and knowledge in the reader. But the knowledge stored in our minds is called forth by an allusion in a peculiar manner. All kinds of associations we may not yet have realized cluster round the facts alluded to. Illustrative in this re­spect is the quotation-allusion made in Somerset Maugham's novel "The Painted Veil". The last words uttered by the dying man are "The dog it was that died." These are the concluding lines of Goldsmith's "Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog." Unless the reader knows the Elegy, he will not understand the implication embodied in this quotation. Consequently, the quotation here becomes an allusion which runs through the whole plot of the novel. The main character is dying, having failed to revenge himself upon his unfaithful wife. He was punished by death for having plotted evil. This is the inference to be drawn from the allusion. Allusions and quotations may be termed nonce-set-expres­sions because they are used only for the occasion.Allusions are used in different styles, but their function is every­where the same. The deciphering of an allusion, however, is not always easy. In newspaper headlines allusions may be decoded at first glance.

39). Phonetic Expressive Means & Stylistic Devices.

The stylistic approach to the utterance is not confined to its structure and sense. There is another thing to be taken into account. This is the way a word, a phrase or a sentence sounds. The sound of most words taken separately will have little or no aesthetic value. It is in combination with other words, that a word may acquire a desired phonetic effect.

The theory of sound symbolism is based on the assumption that separate sounds due to their articulator and acoustic properties may awake certain ideas, perceptions, feelings, images, vague though they might be. In poetry we cannot help feeling that the arrangement of sounds carries a definite aesthetic function.

Stylistic Devices which secure musical function:

Onomatopoeia – is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature(wind, sea. thunder, etc.), by things (machines or tools, etc.), by people (sighing, laughter, patter of feet, etc.) and by animals.

There are 2 varieties of onomatopoeia: direct and indirect. Direct is contained in words that imitate natural sounds, as ding-dong, buzz, bang, cuckoo, tintinnabulation, mew, ping-pong, roar and the like. These words have different degrees of imitative quality. Some of them immediately bring to mind whatever it is produces the sound. Onomatopoetic words can be used in a transferred meaning, as for instance, ding-dong, which represents the sound of bells rung continuously, may mean 1) noisy, 2) strenuously contested.

Indirect is a combination of sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense. It is sometimes called “echo-writing” E.g. ‘And the s ilken, s ad, un c ertain ru s tling’ Repetition of sound S produces the sound of rustling (шорох).

Alliteration – is a phonetic stylistic device which aims at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance. The essence of this device lies in the repetition of similar sounds, in particular consonant sounds, in close succession, particularly at the beginning of successive words.

E.g. ’ D eep into the d arkness peering, I stoo d there won d ering….’

Assonance — the repetition of similar vowels, usually in stressed syllables.

The former and the later may produce the effect of euphony (a sense of ease and comfort in pronouncing or hearing) or cacophony (a sense of strain and discomfort in pronouncing or hearing). As an example of the first may serve the famous lines of E. A. Poe:

…silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain…

An example of the second is provided by the unspeakable combination of sounds found in R. Browning: Nor soul helps flesh now more than flesh helps soul.


Rhyme – is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words. Identity and particularly similarity of sounds combinations may be relative. It’s distinguished between full rhymes and incomplete rhymes. The full rhyme presupposes identity of the vowel sound and the following consonant sounds in a stressed syllable, as in might/ right. Incomplete rhymes present a great variety. They can be divided into 2 groups: vowel rhymes and consonant rhymes. In v. rhymes the vowels of the syllables in corresponding words are identical, but the consonants may be different (flesh-f re sh-p re ss). Consonant rhymes, on the contrary, show concordance in consonants and disparity in vowels, as in wor th -for th.

Models of rhyme:

Couplets- aa

Triple- aaa

Cross- abab


Internal rhyme- words are placed not at the ends of the lines but within the line, as in ‘I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers

Rhythm is a combination of the ideal metrical scheme and the variations of it, which are governed by the standard. It is a flow, movement, procedure, etc., characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features, as beat, or accent, in alternation with opposite or different elements or features. Rhythm is primarily a periodicity, which requires specification as to the type of periodicity. Rhythm, therefore, is the main factor which brings order into the utterance.

Graphic Expressive Means.

Graphon - the intentional violation of the graphic shape of a word or word combination used to reflect its authentic pronunciation. Graphons, indicating irregularities or carelessness of pronunciation were occasionally introduced into English novels and journalism as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century and since then have acquired an ever growing frequency of usage, popularity among writers, journalists, advertisers, and a continuously widening scope of functions. Graphon proved to be an extremely concise but effective means of supplying information about the speaker’s origin, social and educational background, physical or emotional condition, etc. So, when the famous Thackeray’s character — butler Yellowplush — impresses his listeners with the learned words pronouncing them as “sellybrated” (celebrated), “bennyviolent” (benevolent), “illygitmit” (illegitimate), “jewinile” (juvenile), or when the no less famous Mr. Babbitt uses “peerading” (parading), “Eytalians” (Italians), “peepul” (people) — the reader obtains not only the vivid image and the social, cultural, educational characteristics of the personages, but also both Thackeray’s and S. Lewis’ sarcastic attitude to them.

On the other hand, “The b-b-b-b-bas-tud — he seen me c--c-c-c-coming” in R. P. Warren’s Sugar Boy’s speech or “You don’t mean to thay that thith ith your firth time” (B.C.) show the physical defects of the speakers — the stuttering of one and the lisping of the other. Graphon, thus individualizing the character’s speech, adds to his plausibility, vividness, memorability. At the same time, graphon is very good at conveying the atmosphere of authentic live communication, of the informality of the speech act. Some amalgamated forms, which are the result of strong assimilation, became clichés in contemporary prose dialogue: “gimme” (give me), “lemme” (let me), “gonna” (going to), “gotta” (got to), “coupla” (couple of), “mighta” (might have), “willya” (will you), etc.

Graphical changes may reflect not only the peculiarities of, pronunciation, but are also used to convey the intensity of the stress, emphasizing and thus foregrounding the stressed words. To such purely graphical means, not involving the violations, we should refer all changes of the type (italics, capitalization), spacing of graphemes (hyphenation, multiplication) and of lines. The latter was widely exercised in Russian poetry by V. Mayakovsky, famous for his “steps” in verse lines, or A. Voznesensky. In English the most often referred to “graphical imagist” v/as E. E. Cummings.

According to the frequency of usage, variability of functions, the first place among graphical means of foregrounding is occupied by italics. Besides italicizing words, to add to their logical or emotive significance, separate syllables and morphemes may also be emphasized by italics (which is highly characteristic of D. Salinger or T. Capote). Intensity of speech (often in commands) is transmitted through the multiplication of a grapheme or capitalization of the word, as in Babbitt’s shriek “Alllll aboarrrrrd”, or in the desperate appeal in A. Huxley’s Brave New World —  “Help. Help. HELP.” Hyphenation of a word suggests the rhymed or clipped manner in which it is uttered as in the humiliating comment from Fl. O’Connor’s story — “grinning like a chim-pan-zee”.

Summing up the informational options of the graphical arrangement of a word (a line, a discourse), one sees their varied application for recreating the individual and social peculiarities of the speaker, the atmosphere of the communication act — all aimed at revealing and emphasizing the author’s viewpoint.

41) Expressive Means & Stylistic Devices. Tropes. Figures of Speech.

Expressive means of the language - are those phonetic, morphological, word- building, lexical, phraseological, syntactical forms which exist in language as a system for the purpose of logical & emotional intensification of the utterance.

Phonetic -is the most powerful expressive means (onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhythm, rhyme, assonance)

Morphological expressive means (shall with 2/3d person, demonstrative pronouns)

Word-building expressive means (diminutive suffices, neologisms, nonce- words)

Lexical expressive means (interjections, epithets, slang, vulgar words, archaic, poetic)

Phraseological units - make speech emphatic

Syntactical expressive means (various constructions: inversion)

Stylistic devices - do not exist in the language as the units ready for use. They are abstract patterns of language filled with a definite content when used in speech. The stylistic effect of this/that device is based upon the clash of 2 meanings of a lexical unit - dictionary & contextual.

Expressive means - greater degree of predictability than of SD

SD - carry greater degree of information & demand effort to decode their meaning

Trope - a SD based on transference of meanings; in them word/word combination is used in transferred meaning. The new meaning is realized as a result of interaction of 2 & more meanings:




Tropes may be based on similarity, analogy, contrast, inequality, contiguity. Tropes are figures of sense, thoughts. They exist in paradigmatic level. They are opposed to figures of speech.

Figures of speech - syntagmatic by nature, they become expressive due to arrangement/rearrangement in chain of speech, they emphasize, intensify certain meaning.


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