Stylistic phonetics based on the examples of the works by P.B. Shelley

So, the poem «To the Men of England» was investigated from the point of view of the most widely used

Stylistic phonetics based on the examples of the works by P.B. Shelley


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As this work is devoted to the subjects of stylistic phonetics, implemented by Percy Bysshe Shelley in his works, first the definitions of phonetics and stylistics, as well as stylistic phonetics on the whole should be given.

The linguistic science studies language from three different points of view: lexicology, grammar and phonetics.

Lexicology deals with the vocabulary of language, with the origin and development of words, with their meaning and word building.

Grammar defines the rules governing the modification of words and the combination of words into sentences.

According to the main subject of this work, it is important to give more detailed information about phonetics itself and what it studies.

Phonetics is the science that studies the sound matter of the language, its semantic functions and the lines of development. It is the pronunciation of human sounds in the process of the communication, «human noises» by which the thought is actualized, the nature of these noises, the combination and the functions in their relation to the meaning (intonation and stress). Phonetics also deals with speech sounds. In Greek phonetikos is a means pertaining to voice and sound.

The phoneticians investigate sounds as the phonemes (smallest units of language) and their allophones, the syllabic structure, the distribution of stress and intonation. They are interested in the sounds that are produced by the human speech-organs insofar as these sounds have a role in a language. This limited range of sounds is referred as the phonic medium and individual sounds within that range are referred as speech sounds. [13]

So, phonetics can be also defined as the study of the phonic medium the way humans make, transmit, and receive speech sounds. Phonetics occupies itself with the study of the ways in which the sounds are organized into a system of units and the variation of the units in all types and styles of spoken language.
Phonetics is a basic branch of linguistics. Neither linguistic theory nor linguistic practice can do without phonetics. No kind of linguistic study can be made without constant consideration of the material on the expression level.

As this work is devoted to the subjects of stylistic phonetics and it has been said about phonetics in general, attention should be paid to stylistics in general and then the subjects of stylistic phonetics should be defined.

Stylistics is not equal to linguistics science, such as lexicology, morphology, syntax and phonetics, because they are level disciplines as they treat only one linguistic level, and stylistics investigates the questions on all the levels and different aspects of the texts in general. The French linguist E. Benveniste used the word level to characterize the hierarchical structure of language.

Stylistics can be defined as a branch of modern linguistics devoted to the detailed analysis of literary style, or of the linguistic choices made by speakers and writers in non-literary contexts. [4]

According to the Russian linguist I.R.Galperin, stylistics is a branch of general linguistics, which deals with the investigation of two independent tasks:

  1. Stylistics studies the special media of language which are called stylistic devices and expressive means.
  2. Stylistics studies the types of texts which are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication and are called functional styles of language. [11]

Stylistics must be subdivided into separate, independent branches stylistic morphology, stylistic lexicology, stylistic syntax, stylistic phonetics. Whatever level we take, stylistics describes not what is in common use, but what is specific use, in this or that respect, what differentiates one sublanguage from others.

General (non-stylistic) morphology treats morphemes and grammatical meanings expressed by them in language in general, without regard to their stylistic value. Stylistic morphology is interested in grammatical forms and grammatical meanings that are peculiar to particular sublanguages, explicity or implicity comparing them with the neutral ones common to all the sublanguages.

Lexicology deals with stylistic classification (differentiation) of the vocabulary that form a part of stylistics. In stylistic lexicology each unit is studied separately, instead of as a whole text (group of words, word classification).General syntax treats word combinations and sentences, analyzing their structures and stating what is permissible and what is inadmissible in constructing correct utterances in the given language. Stylistic syntax shows what particular constructions are met with in various types of speech, what syntactical structures are style forming (specific) in the sublanguages in question.

As it was already mentioned, general (non-stylistic) phonetics investigates the whole articulatory audial system of language. Stylistic phonetics describes variants of pronunciation occuring in different types of speech; special attention is also paid to prosodic features of prose and poetry. Unfortunately, there is no adequate definition of stylistic phonetics, although many well-known linguists, who devoted their works to the study of stylistics, among them I.R.Galperin, V.M.Zhirmunsky, L. Bloomfield, Yu. Skrebnev, I. Arnold always paid special attention to it, underlining its meaning for the style-forming phonetic features. The works of the mentioned above linguists will be also used for the analysis in this work.

As here the subjects of stylistic phonetics are going to be investigated, it should be necessary to mention phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices.

Phonetic expressive means include:

Intonation which is a complex unity of non-segmental features of speech, such as melody or pitch of the voice, stress, pausation and different temporal characteristic.

Sentence stress which is a greater prominence of words.

Pitch of the voice which represents the fundamental frequency of a speech sound and is closely connected with the sentence stress.

Here whispering, pauses, singing and other ways of human voice using are referred.

To the phonetic stylistic devices, the more detailed descriptions of which will give be given in the main part of this work, we refer:

Onomatopoeia, or sound imitation, is the use of words or word combinations that imitate some natural sound.

Alliteration, is the use of the similar initial sounds in close succession, aiming at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance.

Rhythm, is a flow, movement, procedure, etc., characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features… [6]

Rhyme, is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words.

The poem, that was chosen for the analysis, and for investigation of the given above phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices on its example is «To the Men of England» by Persy Bisshe Shelley. For closer investigation of the points of stylistic phonetics there also will be given examples of works of some other authors.



1. Theoretical part


1.1 Galperin and other linguists points of view on stylistic phonetics


The subject of stylistics can be outlined as the study of the nature, functions and structure of stylistic devices, on the one hand, and, on the other, the study of each style of language as classified above, i. e. its aim, its structure, its characteristic features and the effect it produces, as well as its interrelation with other styles of language. So, its necessary to make an attempt to single out such, problems as are typically stylistic and cannot be treated in any other branch of linguistic science.

The stylistic approach to the utterance is not confined to its structure and sense, there is another thing to be taken into account which, in a certain type of communication, viz. belles-lettres, plays an important role. 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 way a separate word sounds may produce a certain euphonic impression, but this is a matter of individual perception and feeling and therefore subjective. For instance, a certain English writer expresses the opinion that angina [æn'dgainə], pneumonia [nju'mouniə], and uvula ['ju:vjulə] would make beautiful girl's names instead of what he calls «lumps of names like Joan, Joyce and Maud». In the poem «Cargoes» by John Masefield he considers words like ivory, sandal-wood, cedar-wood, emeralds and amethysts as used in the first two stanzas to be beautiful, whereas those in the 3rd stanza «strike harshly on the ear!»

«With a cargo of Tyne coal,

Road-rails, pig-lead,

Fire-wood, iron-ware and cheap tin trays.»

As one poet has it, this is»… a combination of words which is difficult to pronounce, in which the words rub against one another, interfere with one another, push one another.»

Verier, a French scientist, who is a specialist on English versification, sugges

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