D. PARTICULAR WAYS OF COMBINING PARTS OF THE UTTERANCE (LINKAGE)



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D. PARTICULAR WAYS OF COMBINING PARTS OF THE UTTERANCE (LINKAGE)



Much light can be thrown on the nature of / i n k a g e if we do not confine the problem to such notions as coordination and subordination. Most of the media which serve as grammatical forms for combining parts within the sentence have been investigated and expounded in gram­mars with sufficient clarity and fullness. But sentence-linking features within larger-than-the-sentence structures—SPUs, paragraphs and still larger structures — have so far been very little under observation.

The current of fashion at present, due to problems raised by text-linguistics, runs in the" direction of investigating ways and means of combining different stretches of utterances with the aim of disclosing the wholeness of the work. Various scientific papers single out the following media which can fulfil the structural function of uniting various parts of utterances: repetition (anaphora, epiphora, anadiplosis, framing), the definite article, the demonstrative pronouns, the personal pronouns, the use of concord (in number, form of tenses, etc.), adverbial words and phrases (however, consequently, it follows then, etc.), prosodic features . (contrastive tone, the "listing" intonation pattern), parallel construc­tions, chiasmus, sustained metaphors and similes, and a number of other means.1

The definition of means of combining parts of an-utterance,,-rests on the assumption that any unit of language might, in particular cases, turn into a connective. Such phrases as that is to say, it goes without saying, for the which, however, the preceding statement and the like should also be regarded as connectives. It follows then that the capacity to serve as a connective is an inherent property of a great number of words and phrases if they are set in a position which calls forth continuation of a thought or description of an event.

To follow closely how parts of an utterance are connected and to clarify the type of interdependence between these parts is sometimes difficult either because of the absence of formal signs of linkage (asyndeton), or because of the presence of too many identical signs (polysyndeton).

Asyndeton

Asyndeton, that is, connection between parts of a sentence or between sentences without any formal sign, becomes a stylistic device if there is a deliberate omission of the connective where it is generally expected to be according to the norms of the literary language. Here is an example:

"Soames turned away; he had an utter disinclination for talk like one standing before an open grave, watching a coffin slowly lowered." (Galsworthy)

The deliberate omission of the subordinate conjunction because or for makes the sentence 'he had an utter...' almost entirely independent. It might be perceived as a characteristic feature of Soames in general, but for the comparison beginning with like, which shows that Soames's mood was temporary.

Here a reminder is necessary that there is an essential difference between the ordinary norms of language, both literary and colloquial, and stylistic devices which are skilfully wrought for special informative and aesthetic purposes. In the sentence:

"Bicket did not answer his throat felt too dry." (Galsworthy) the absence of the conjunction and a punctuation mark may be regarded as a deliberate introduction of the norms of colloquial speech into the literary language. Such structures make the utterance sound like one syntactical unit to be pronounced in one breath group. This determines the intonation pattern.

It is interesting to compare the preceding two utterances from the point of view of the length of the pause between the constituent parts. In the first utterance (Soames...), there is a semicolon which, being the indication of a longish pause, breaks the utterance into two parts. In the second utterance (Bicket...), no pause should be made and the whole of the utterance.pronounced аз one syntagm.

The crucial p>oblem in ascertaining the true intonation pattern of

a sentence composed of two or more parts lies in a deeper analysis of

the functions of the connectives, on the one hand, and a more detailed

investigation of graphical means—the signals indicating the correct

interpretation of the utterance—, on the other,

Polysyndeton

Polysyndeton is the stylistic device of connecting sentences, or phrases, or syntagms, or words'by using connectives (mostly conjunc­tions and prepositions) before each component part, as in:

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

In this passage from Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha", there is ^repetition both of conjunctions and prepositions:

"Should you ask me, whence these stories?

' Whence these legends and traditions, With the odours of the forest, With the dew, and damp of meadows, With the curling smoke of wigwams, With the rushing of great rivers, With their frequent repetitions,..."

The repetition of conjunctions and other means of connection makes an utterance more rhythmical; so much so that prose may even seem like verse. The conjunctions and other connectives, being generally un­stressed elements, when placed before each meaningful member, will cause the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables — the essential requirement of rhythm in verse. Hence, one of the functions of polysynde­ton is a rhythmical one.

In addition to this, polysyndeton has a disintegrating function. It generally combines homogeneous elements of thought into one whole resembling enumeration. But, unlike enumeration, which integrates both homogeneous and heterogeneous elements into one whole, poly­syndeton causes each member of a string of facts to stand out conspic­uously. That is why we say that polysyndeton has a disintegrating func­tion. Enumeration shows things united; polysyndeton shows them iso­lated. ;

Polysyndeton has also the function of expressing sequence, as in:

"Then Mr. Boffin... sat staring at a little bookcase of Law Practice and Law Reports, and at a window, and at an empty blue bag, and a stick of sealing-wax, and at a pen, and a box of wafers, and an apple, and a writing-pad — all very dusty — and at a number of inky smears and blots, and at an imperfectly disguised gun-case pretending to be something legal, and at an iron box labelled "Harmon Estate", until Mr. Lightwood ap­peared." (Dickens)

All these ands may easily be replaced by thens. But in this case too much stress would be laid on the logical aspects of the utterance, where­as and expresses both sequence and disintegration.

Note also that Dickens begins by repeating not only and, but also at. But in the middle of the utterance he drops the at, picks it up again, drops it once more and then finally picks it up and uses it with the last three items.

The Gap- Sentence Link

There is a peculiar type of connection of sentences which for want of a term we shall call the g ap-s en fence link (GSL). The conne­ction is not immediately apparent and it requires a certain mental effort to grasp the interrelation between the parts of the utterance, in other words, to bridge the semantic gap. Here is an example:

"She and that fellow ought in Italy" (Galsworthy)

to be the sufferers, and they were

In this sentence the second part, which is hooked on to the first by the conjunction and, seems to be unmotivated or, in other words, the whole sentence seems to be logically incoherent. But this is only the first impres­sion. After a more careful supralinear semantic analysis it becomes clear that the exact logical variant of the utterance would be:

'Those who ought to suffer were enjoying themselves in Italy (where well-to-do English people go for holydays).'

Consequently, GSL is a way of connecting two sentences seemingly unconnected and leaving it to the reader's perspicacity to grasp the idea implied, but not worded. Generally speaking, every detail of the situa­tion need not be stated. Some must remain for the reader to divine.

As in many other cases, the device of GSL is deeply rooted in the norms of the spoken language. The omissions are justified because the situation easily prompts what has not been said. The proper intonation also helps in deciphering the communication. It is also natural in conver­sation to add a phrase to a statement made, a phrase which will point to uncertainty or lack of knowledge or to the unpredictability of the possi­ble issue, etc., as in:

says nothing, but it is clear that she is harping on this engagement, and — goodness knows what." (Galsworthy)

In writing, where the situation is explained by the ,writer and the intonation is only guessed at, such breaks in the utterance are regarded as stylistic devices. The gap-sentence link requires a certain mental effort to embrace the unexpressed additional information.

The gap-sentence link is generally indicated by and or but. There is no asyndetic GSL, inasmuch as connection by asyndeton can be carried out only by semantic ties easily and immediately perceived. These ties are, as it were, substitutes for the formal grammatical means of connection. The gaft-sentehce link has no immediate semantic connections, therefore it requires formal indications of connection. It demands an obvious break in the semantic texture of the utterance and forms an "unexpected seman­tic leap."

The possibility of filling in the semantic gap depends largely on associations awakened by the two sentences linked cumulatively. In the following utterance ihЈ connection betwreen the two sentences needs no comment.

"It was an afternoon to dream. And she took out Jon's letters." (Galsworthy) *

While maintaining the unity of the utterance syntactically the author leaves the interpretation of the link between the two sentences to the mind of the reader. It is the imaginative mind only that can decode a message expressed by a stylistic device. Nowhere do the conjunctions and and but acquire such varied expressive shades of meaning as in GSL constructions. It is these nuances that cause the peculiar intonation with which and or but are pronounced. Thus in the following sentence the

conjunction and is made very conspicuous by the intonation signalled.

by the dash:

"The Forsytes were resentful of something, not Individually, but as a family, this resentment expressed itself in an added per­fection of raiment, an exuberance of family cordiality, an exagger­ation of family importance, and—the sniff" (Galsworthy)

The GSL and—the sniff is motivated. Its association with 'an exagger­ation of family importance' is apparent. However, so strong is the emo­tive meaning of the word sniff that it overshadows the preceding words which are used in their primary, exact, logical meanings. Hence the dash after and to add special significance to the cumulative effect. This exam­ple shows that GSL can be accompanied by semantic gaps wider or narrower as the case may be. In this example the gap is very narrow and therefore the missing link is easily restored. But sometimes the gap is so wide that it requires a deep supralinear semantic analysis to get at the implied meaning. Thus in the following example from Byron's maiden speech: "And here I must remark with what alacrity you are accustomed to fly to the succour of your distressed allies, leaving the distressed of your own country to the care of Providence or—the parish"

Here the GSL, maintained by or and followed by the dash, which indicates a rather long pause, implies that the parish, which was supposed to care for impoverished workers, was unable to do so.

By its intrinsic nature the conjunction, but can justify the apparently unmotivated coupling of two unconnected statements. Thus, in the fol­lowing passage GSL is maintained by and, backed up by but.

"It was not Capetown, where people only frowned when they saw a black boy and a white girl. But here... And he loved her" (Abrahams)

The gap-sentence link as a stylistic device is based on the peculiari­ties of the spoken language and is therefore most frequently used in represented speech. It is GSL alongside other characteristics that moulds the device of unuttered represented speech.

The gap-sentence link has various functions. It may serve to signal the introduction of inner represented speech; it may be used to indicate a subjective evaluation of the facts; it rnay introduce an effect result­ing from a cause which has already had verbal expression. In all these functions GSL displays an unexpected coupling of ideas. Even the cause- * and-effect relations, logical as they are, when embodied in GSL structures are not so obvious.

In contra-diitinction to the logical segmentation of the utterance, which leaves no room for personal interpretation of the interdependence of the component parts, GSL aims at stirring up in the reader's mind the suppositions, associations and conditions under which the' sentence uttered can really exist.



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