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Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices

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  3. Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices
  4. Morphological expressive means
  5. Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices

Onomatopoeia is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced by nature, by things, by people and by animals.

Direct onomatopoeia: ding-dong, buzz, cuckoo, roar, ping-pong.

Transferred meaning, e.g. ding-dong – 1) noisy, 2) strenuously contested.

“Ding-dong row opens on a bill”

Indirect onomatopoeia is a combination of sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense. (‘echo-writing’):

“And the silken, sad, uncertain, rustling of each purple curtain.” (E.A.Poe)

Alliterationis 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.

“The possessive instinct never stands still. Through florescence and feud, frosts and fires it follows the laws of progression”. (J.Galsworthy)

Proverbs and sayings: Tit for tat; blind as a bat; to rob Peter to pay Pall.

The titles of books: “Sense and Sensibility” (J.Austin); “Pride and Prejudice” (J.Austin);“The School for Scandal” (Sheridan).

The headlines of the articles: “BAR BARBARISM IN BARS’.

“Papa is preferable mode of address”, observed Mrs. General. “Father is rather vulgar,my dear. The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, are all very good for the lips, especially prunes and prism”. (Ch.Dickens “Little Dorrit”)

В переводе русскими эквивалентами “полезных для губ” слов явились: ”папа, пряник, персик, просьба, призма”, даже если они относились к совершенно другим предметам.

Rhymeis the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words: might – right; needless – heedless; flesh – fresh – press; worth – forth.

Rhythmis periodicity. Rhythm in language demands oppositions: long, short; stressed, unstressed; high, low and other contrasting segments of speech.

Rhythm in prose. The unit of measure in prose is not the syllable (as in verse) but a structure, a word combination, a sequence of words. The structural pattern, which in particular case is the rhythmical unit, will be repeated within the given span of prose. The rhythm will be based not on the regular alteration of opposing units, i.e. a regular beat, but on the repetition of similar structural units following one another or repeated after short intervals.

“Walter, I beseech you to forgive me,” she said, leaning over him. For fear that he could not bear the pressure she took care not to touch him. “I’m so desperately sorry for the wrong I did you. I so bitterly regret it.”

He said nothing. He did not seem to hear. She was obliged to insist. It seemed to her strangely that his soul was a fluttering moth and its wings were heavy with hatred.


A shadow passed over his wan and sunken face. It was less than a movement, and yet it gave all the effect of a terrifying convulsion. She had never used that word to him before. Perhaps in his dying brain there passed the thought, confused and difficultly grasped, that he had only heard her use it, a commonplace of her vocabulary, to dogs, and babies and motorcars. Then something horrible occurred. She clenched her hands, trying with all her might to control herself, for she saw two rears run slowly down his wasted cheeks.

“Oh, my precious, my dear, if you ever loved me – I know you loved me and I was hateful – I beg you to forgive me. I’ve no chance now to show my repentance. Have mercy on me. I beseech you to forgive.”

She stopped. She looked at him, all breathless, waiting passionately for a reply. She saw that he tried to speak. Her heart gave a great bound.”

(Somerset Maugham “The Painted Veil”)

Dramatic feeling demands regular rhythm. Here: the iambic rhythm of blank verse.


“there passed the thought confused and

__’___ __’___’__

difficultly grasped

_’_ ‘__


that he had only heard her use it, …

__’_ _’__ __’_

…then something horrible occurred.”

_’___’_ _’__


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Читайте в этой же книге: Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices | Partial parallelism | Contextual synonyms | Morphological expressive means |
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COLLOQUIAL NEWTRAL LITERARY| Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices

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