1. What lexical meanings of a word can you name? Which of them, in most cases, is the most important one?
2. What SDs are based on the use of the logical (denotational) meaning of a word?
3. What is a contextual meaning? How is it used in a SD?
4. What is the difference between the original and the hackneyed SDs?
5. What is a metaphor? What are its semantic, morphological, syntactical, structural, functional peculiarities?
6. What is a metonymy? Give a detailed description of the device.
7. What is included into the group of SDs known as "play on words"? Which ones of them are the most frequently used? What levels of language hierarchy are involved into their formation?
8. Describe the difference between pun and zeugma, zeugma and a semantically false chain, semantically false chain and nonsense of non-sequence.
9. What meanings of a word participate in the violation of a phraseological unit?
10. What is the basic effect achieved by the play on words?
11. Find examples of each of the discussed stylistic devices in your home reading.
12. Try and find peculiarities in the individual use of various SDs by different authors known to you from your courses of literature, interpretation of the text, home reading.
In all previously discussed lexical SDs we dealt with various transformations of the logical (denotational) meaning of words, which participated in the creation of metaphors, metonymies, puns, zeugmas, etc. Each of the SDs added expressiveness and originality to the nomination of the object. Evaluation of the named concept was often present too, but it was an optional characteristic, not inherent in any of these SDs. Their subjectivity relies on the new and fresh look at the object mentioned, which shows the latter from a new and unexpected side. In irony, which is our next item of consideration, subjectivity lies in the evaluation of the phenomenon named. The essence of this SD consists in the foregrounding not of the logical but of the evaluative meaning. The context is arranged so that the qualifying word in irony reverses the direction of the evaluation, and the word positively charged is understood as a negative qualification and (much-much rarer) vice versa. Irony thus is a stylistic device in which the contextual evaluative meaning of a word is directly opposite to its dictionary meaning, So, like all other SDs, irony does not exist outside the context, which varies from the minimal - a word combination, as in J. Steinbeck's "She turned with the sweet smile of an alligator," - to the context of a whole book, as in Ch: Dickens, where one of the remarks of Mr. Micawber, known for his complex, highly bookish and elaborate style of speaking about the most trivial things, is introduced by the author's words "... Mr. Micawber said in his usual plain manner".
In both examples the words "sweet" and "plain" reverse their positive meaning into the negative one due to the context, micro- in the first, macro- in the second case.
In the stylistic device of irony it is always possible to indicate the exact word whose contextual meaning diametrically opposes its dictionary meaning. This is why this type of irony is called verbal irony. There are very many cases, though, which we regard as irony, intuitively feeling the reversal of the evaluation, but unable to put our finger on the exact word in whose meaning we can trace the contradiction between the said and the implied. The effect of irony in such cases is created by a number of statements, by the whole of the text. This type of irony is called sustained, and it is formed by the contradiction of the speaker's (writer's) considerations and the generally accepted moral and ethical codes. Many examples of sustained irony are supplied by D. Defoe, J. Swift or by such XX-ieth c. writers as S. Lewis, K. Vonnegut, E. Waugh and others.
Exercise IV. In the following excerpts you will find mainly examples of verbal irony. Explain what conditions made the realization of the opposite evaluation possible. Pay attention to the part of speech which is used in irony, also its syntactical function:
1. The book was entitled Murder at Milbury Manor and was a whodunit of the more abstruse type, in which everything turns on whether a certain character, by catching the three-forty-three train at Hilbury and changing into the four-sixteen at Milbury, could have reached Silbury by five-twenty- seven, which would have given him just time to disguise himself and be sticking knives into people at Bilbury by six-thirty-eight. (P.G.W.)
2. When the, war broke out she took down the signed photograph of the Kaiser and, with some solemnity, hung it in the men-servants 'lavatory; it was her one combative action. (E.W.)
3. "I had a plot, a scheme, a little quiet piece of enjoyment afoot, of which the very cream and essence was that this old man and grandchild should be as poor as frozen rats," and Mr. Brass revealed the whole story, making himself out to be rather a saintlike holy character. (D.)
4. The lift held two people and rose slowly, groaning with diffidence. (I.M.)
5. England has been in a dreadful state for some weeks. Lord Coodle would go out. Sir Thomas Doodle would not come in, and there being nobody in Great Britain (to speak of) except Coodle and Doodle, there has been no Government (D.)
6. From her earliest infancy Gertrude was brought up by her aunt. Her aunt had carefully instructed her to Christian principles. She had also taught her Mohammedanism, to make sure. (L.)
7. She's a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she has washed her hair since Coolidge's second term, I'll eat my spare tire, rim and all. (R.Ch.)
8. With all the expressiveness of a stone Welsh stared at him another twenty seconds apparently hoping to see him gag. (R.Ch.)
9. "Well. It's shaping up into a lovely evening, is not it?" "Great," he said.
"And if I may say so, you're doing everything to make it harder, you little sweet." (D. P.)
10. Mr. Vholes is a very respectable man. He has not a large business, but he is a very respectable man. He is allowed, by the greater attorneys to be a most respectable man. He never misses a chance in his practice which is a mark of respectability, he never takes any pleasure, which is another mark of respectability, he is reserved and serious which is another mark of respectability. His digestion is impaired which is highly respectable. (D.)
11. Several months ago a magazine named Playboy which concentrates editorially on girls, books, girls, art, girls, music, fashion, girls and girls, published an article about old-time science-fiction. (M.St.)
12. Apart from splits based on politics, racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and specific personality differences, we're just one cohesive team. (D.U.)
13. A local busybody, unable to contain her curiosity any longer, asked an expectant mother point-blank whether she was going to have a baby. "Oh, goodness, no," the young woman said pleasantly. "I'm just carrying this for a friend." (P.G.W.)
14. Sonny Grosso was a worrier who looked for and frequently managed to find, the dark side of most situations. (P. M.)
15. Bookcases covering one wall boasted a half-shelf of literature. (T.C.)
16. I had been admitted as a partner in the firm of Andrews and Bishop, and throughout 1927 and 19281 enriched myself and the firm at the rate of perhaps forty dollars a month. (Jn.B.)
17. Last time it was a nice, simple, European-style war. (I.Sh.)
18. He could walk and run, was full of exact knowledge about God, and entertained no doubt concerning the special partiality of a minor deity called Jesus towards himself. (A.B.)
19. But every Englishman is born with a certain miraculous power that makes him master of the world. As the great champion of freedom and national'independence he conquers and annexes half the world and calls it Colonization. (B.Sh.)
20. All this blood and fire business tonight was probably part of the graft to get the Socialists chucked out and leave honest businessmen safe to make their fortunes out of murder. (L. Ch)
21. He spent two years in prison, making a number of valuable contacts among other upstanding embezzlers, frauds and confidence men whilst inside. (An.C.)
FOREWORD... 2 | FOREWORD | Sound Instrumenting, Graphon. Graphical Means | EXERCISES | Morphemic Repetition. Extension of Morphemic Valency | EXERCISES | CHAPTER II. LEXICAL LEVEL | Literary Stratum of Words. Colloquial Words | ASSIGNMENTS FOR SELF-CONTROL | EXERCISES |