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Expressive means of a language

Expressive means of a language are linguistic forms and properties that have the potential to make the utterance emphatic or expressive. Expressive means can be found on all the levels - phonetic, graphical, morphological, lexical or syntactical.

Phonetic phenomena such as vocal pitch, pauses, logical stress, drawling or staccato pronunciation are all expressive.

Morphological forms like diminutive suffixes produce expressive effect: girlie, piggy, doggy, etc. Author's nonce words (авторские слова): He glastnosted his love affair with this movie star.

Lexical expressive means are represented by intensifiers - awfully, terribly, absolutely, etc. or words that retain their logical meaning while being used emphatically: a very special evening (event/gift/friend).

Grammatical forms and syntactical patterns to which expressiveness is attributed such as: I do know you! I'm really angry with that dog of yours\ If only I could help you!

Stylistic devices are literary model in which semantic and structural features are blended so that a stylistic device represents a generalized pattern.

Some expressive means have been involved into stylistic devices combines some general semantic meaning with a certain linguistic form resulting in stylistic effect. It is like an algorithm employed for an expressive purpose. The interaction or clash of the dictionary and contextual meanings of words brings about such stylistic devices as metaphor, metonymy, or irony.

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

Eg. He shall do it! = I shall make him do it.

The most powerful EM of any language are phonetic.

Pitch, melody, stress, pausation, intensifying certain syllables, whispering, a sing-song manner, and other ways of using the voice are much more effective than other means in intensifying an utterance emotionally or logically.

Morphological EMs of the English language is a rather impoverished set of media to which the quality of expressiveness is attributed.

These are:

- the Historical Present;

- the use of shall in the second and third person;

- the use of some demonstrative pronouns with the emphatic meaning as those, them (eg. Those candid eyes of his);

- cases of nominalization, esp. when conversion of verbal stems is alien to the meaning of the verbs.

Among the word-building means we find a great many forms which serve to make the utterance more expressive by intensifying some of their semantic/grammatical properties:

- the diminutive suffixes -y, -ie,-let: sonny, auntie, streamlet;

- neologisms and nonce-words formed with non-productive suffixes, e.g. with Greek roots: cleanorama;

- some affixes which have gained expressiveness that they begin functioning as separate words, absorbing all the generalizing meaning they attach to different roots: «isms and ologies».

At the lexical level there are a great many words which due to their expressiveness constitute a special layer:

- with emotive meaning only (interjections);

- which have referential and emotive meaning (epithets);

- which still retain a twofold meaning (denotative and connotative) - love, sympathy, hate;

- belonging to the layers of slang and vulgar words;

- poetic or archaic words.

All kinds of phraseological units generally possess the property of expressiveness. They serve to make speech emphatic, esp. from the emotional point of view:

- set phrases;

- catch words;

- sayings;

- proverbs.

At the syntactical level there are many constructions which reveal a certain degree of logical or emotional emphasis.

EMs have a greater degree of predictability than SDs. EMs follow the natural course of thought, intensifying it by means commonly used in language. EMs are concrete facts of the language. They are studied in the respective language manuals.

Stylistics takes into consideration the modification of meanings which EMs undergo when they are used in different functional styles. EMs noticeably colour the whole of the utterance.

 



Stylistic function notion | Stylistic devices

Конспекты лекций | Problems of stylistic research | Stylistics of language and speech | Branches of Stylistics | Stylistics and other linguistic disciplines | Stylistic neutrality and stylistic colouring | General view on Figures of Speech | Graphical means | Graphon | Graphical means |

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