I. R. Galperin's classification of expressive means and stylistic devices — КиберПедия 

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I. R. Galperin's classification of expressive means and stylistic devices

The classification suggested by Prof. Galperin is simply organised and very detailed. His manual "Stylistics" published in 1971 includes the following subdivision of expressive means and stylistic devices based on the level-oriented approach:

1. Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices.

2. Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices.

3. Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices".

1. Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devicesTo this group Galperin refers such means as:

1) onomatopoeia (direct and indirect): ding-dong; silver bells... tin­kle, tinkle;

2) alliteration (initial rhyme): to rob Peter to pay Paul;

* To avoid repetition in each classification definitions of all stylistic devices are given in the glossary

3) rhyme (full, incomplete, compound or broken, eye rhyme, internal rhyme. Also, stanza rhymes: couplets, triple, cross, framingIring);

4) rhythm.

2. Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices

There are three big subdivisions in this class of devices and they all deal with the semantic nature of a word or phrase. However the criteria of selection of means for each subdivision are different and manifest different semantic processes.

I. In the first subdivision the principle of classification is the interaction of different types of a word's meanings: dictionary, contextual, derivative, nominal, and emotive. The stylistic effect of the lexical means is achieved through the binary opposition of dictionary and contextual or logical and emotive or primary and derivative meanings of a word.

A. The first group includes means based on the interplay of dictionary and contextual meanings:

metaphor: Dear Nature is the kindest Mother still. (Byron) metonymy:

The camp, the pulpit and the law For rich man's sons are free.


irony: It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one's pocket.

B.The second unites means based on the interaction of primary and derivative meanings:

polysemy: Massachusetts was hostile to the American flag,and she would not allow it to be hoisted on her State Bouse;

zeugma and pun: May's mother always stood on her gentility; and Dot's mother never stood on anything but her active little feet. (Dickens)

C.The third group comprises means based on the opposition of logical and emotive meanings:

interjections and exclamatory words:

All present life is but an interjection

An 'Oh' or 'Ah' of joy or misery,

Or a 'Ha! ha!' or 'Bah!'-a yawn or 'Pooh!'

Of which perhaps the latter is most true.


epithet: a well-matched, fairly-balanced give-and-take couple. (Di­ckens)

oxymoron: peopled desert, populous solitude, proud humility. (Byron)

D.The fourth group is based on the interaction of logical and nominal meanings and includes:

antonomasia: Mr. Facing-Both-Ways does not get very far in this world. (The Times)

II.The principle for distinguishing the second big subdivision according to Galperin is entirely different from the first one and is based on the interaction between two lexical meanings simultaneously materialised in the context. This kind of interaction helps to call special attention to a certain feature of the object described. Here belong:

simile: treacherous as a snake, faithful as a dog, slow as a tortoise.

periphrasis: a gentleman of the long robe (a lawyer); the fair sex. (women)

euphemism: In private I should call him a liar. In the Press you should use the words: 'Reckless disregard for truth'. (Galsworthy)

hyperbole: The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in and the sun and the moon were made to give them light. (Dickens)

III.The third subdivision comprises stable word combinations in their interaction with the context:

cliches: clockwork precision, crushing defeat, the whip and carrot policy.

proverbs and sayings: Come! he said, milk's spilt. (Galsworthy)

epigrams: A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. (Keats)

quotations: Ecclesiastes said, 'that all is vanity'. (Byron)

allusions: Shakespeare talks of the herald Mercury. (Byron)

decomposition of set phrases: You know which side the law's buttered. (Galsworthy)

3. Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices

Syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices are not paradigmatic but syntagmatic or structural means. In defining syntactical devices Galperin proceeds from the following thesis: the structural elements have their own independent meaning and this meaning may affect the lexical meaning. In doing so it may impart a special contextual meaning to some of the lexical units.

The principal criteria for classifying syntactical stylistic devices are:

- the juxtaposition of the parts of an utterance;

- the type of connection of the parts;

- the peculiar use of colloquial constructions;

- the transference of structural meaning.

Devices built on the principle of juxtaposition

inversion (several types): A tone of most extravagant comparison Miss Tox said it in. (Dickens)

Down dropped the breeze. (Colerigde)

detached constructions: She was lovely: all of her - delightful. (Dreiser)

parallel constructions:

The seeds ye sow - another reaps, The robes ye weave - another wears The arms ye forge - another bears.



In the days of old menmade manners Mannersnow make men.


repetition: For glances beget ogles, ogles sighs, sighs wishes, wishes words, and words a letter. (Byron)

enumeration: The principle production of these towns... appear to be soldiers, sailors, Jews, chalk, shrimps, officers, and dock-yard men. (Dickens)


Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle... Know ye the land of the cedar and vine...

'Tis the clime of the East - 'tis the land of the Sun.


climax: They looked at hundred of houses, they climbed thousands of stairs, they inspected innumerable kitchens. (Maugham)

antithesis: Youth is lovely, age is lonely; Youth is fiery, age is frost. (Longfellow)

Devices based on the type of connection include

Asyndeton: Soams turned away; he had an utter disinclination for talk, like one standing before an open grave... (Galsworthy)

polysyndeton: The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. (Dickens) gap-sentence link: It was an afternoon to dream. And she took out Jon's letters. (Galsworthy)

Figures united by the peculiar use of colloquial constructions Ellipsis: Nothing so difficult as a beginning, how soft the chin which bears his touch. (Byron)

Aposiopesis (break-in-the-narrative): Good intentions but -; You just come home or I'll...

Question in the narrative: Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? (Dickens)

Represented speech (uttered and unuttered or inner represented speech):

Marshal asked the crowd to disperse and urged responsible diggers to prevent any disturbance... (Prichard) Over and over he was asking himself: would she receive him? Transferred use of structural meaning involves such figures as Rhetorical questions: How long must we suffer? Where is the end? (Norris)

Litotes: He was no gentle lamb (London); Mr. Bardell was no deceiver. (Dickens)

Since "Stylistics" by Galperin is the basic manual recommended for this course at university level no further transposition of its content is

deemed necessary. However other attempts have been made to classify all expressive means and stylistic devices because some principles applied in this system do not look completely consistent and reliable. There are two big subdivisions here that classify all devices into either lexical or syntactical. At the same time there is a kind of mixture of principles since some devices obviously involve both lexical and syntactical features, e. g. antithesis, climax, periphrasis, irony, and others.

According to Galperin there are structural and compositional syntactical devices, devices built on transferred structural meaning and the type of syntactical connection and devices that involve a peculiar use of colloquial constructions. Though very detailed this classification provokes some questions concerning the criteria used in placing the group 'peculiar use of colloquial constructions' among the syntactical means and the group called 'peculiar use of set expressions' among the lexical devices. Another criterion used for classifying lexical expressive means namely, 'intensification of a certain feature of a thing or phenomenon' also seems rather dubious. Formulated like this it could be equally applied to quite a number of devices placed by the author in other subdivisions of this classification with a different criteria of identification, such as metaphor, metonymy, epithet, repetition, inversion, suspense, etc. It does not seem quite just to place all cases of ellipsis, aposiopesis or represented speech among colloquial constructions.

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