STYLISTIC POTENTIAL OF THE ENGLISH NOUN Table of Contents Introduction-3 Chapter One. Stylistic resources of grammatical units on the basis of the English Noun -6 1. 1 Functions of the language and connotative meanings-7 1. 2 Grammatical Stylistics and Stylistic Grammar-9 1. 3 The meaning of the grammatical form-10 1. 4 Noun in different functional styles -10 1. 5 Stylistic potential of the English noun-11 1. 5. 1 Stylistic potential of the category of gender-11 1. 5. 2 Stylistic potential of the category of number-26 1. 5. Stylistic potential of the category of case-30 1. 5. 4 Stylistic potential of the category of article determination-34 Chapter Two. Analysis of examples taken from fiction on the basis of considered theoretical phenomena-42 2. 1 Analysis of the examples regarding the category of gender-43 2. 2 Analysis of the examples regarding the category of number-53 2. 3 Analysis of the examples regarding the category of case-55 2. 4 Analysis of the examples regarding the category of article determination -59
Conclusions-66 Reference list-69 Introduction Nowadays learning a foreign language implies its active practical mastering, what, in its turn, is quite impossible to do grasping just the system of a language, its standard grammar, language factors which correspond only to the literary norms. Do we always stick to the rules while speaking in our native language? The answer will be no. Why do we break them? By doing this deliberately we may express our attitude to what we are saying. We must “know the grammar” to make effective word and stylistic choices when we speak and write.
At the same time, breaking grammar “rules” or conventions can be appropriate when rhetorical considerations of audience and purpose call for it. For example, we don’t use the same “grammar” to write an Instant Message as we do to write an English paper. So this aspect of learning any language should not be neglected. The approach that would be more effective in this case is functional. Functions of the language are indissolubly connected with the usage of any of its elements. In other words, the emergence of connotative meanings depends on the functions of the language.
The functional approach requires first of all revealing stylistic resources of the language units of its different levels including the grammatical ones. The latter are the object of the new branch of linguastylistics Grammatical Stylistics which basic aim implies study of stylistic means (both expressive and functional) of grammatical units. It can be subdivided into morphological and syntactical one. If the stylistic means of Syntax are not usually cast upon doubt, those of Morphology on the contrary are.
In the project there was made an attempt to demonstrate that the reason for this is the result of insufficient study. The other objectives of the present work are: to consider, compare different points of view of linguists concerning the object of study; to organize the material according four nounal categories; to show the stylistic purpose of the usage of studied phenomena; to illustrate connotative meanings of the considered grammatical forms; to put the considered theory into practice.
As to the methods used in the project, the following ones have been applied: comparative (there was made an attempt to consider different linguists’ opinions concerning certain linguistic phenomena); analytical (on considering 36 literal texts there were picked up plenty of examples, that were organized according four nounal categories and analyzed basing on the research made in the theoretical part). In the thesis there was made an ttempt to organize the material on the stylistic potential of the English Noun considering the following four nounal categories: the category of gender, the category
There were considered rules concerning certain linguistic phenomena, but most of the work is focused on what causes their violation (cases of transposition, neutralization). All the linguistic phenomena discussed in this chapter are illustrated in the second one by means of about 200 cases that have been taken from the works that belong to the belles-lettres style (tales, poetry, short stories) written by such famous English and American writers of 18-20 centuries as Blake W. , ColeridgeS. T. , Munro H. , Poe A.
A. , Hemingway E. , Salinger J. D, etc. The aim of this chapter is to put the considered theory into practice showing the way the phenomena have been dealt with work out. The examples are organized also according the four nounal categories mentioned above in the following way: Examples regarding the category of gender (2. 1) (Here we distinguish two groups: (1)A neuter noun used as feminine; (2)A neuter noun used as masculine, explaining the purpose of changing the gender); Examples regarding the category of number (2. ) (In this paragraph we consider some cases when proper, abstract, material nouns are used in the plural form); Examples regarding the category of case (2. 3) (Here we consider cases when inanimate nouns take the s-genitive); Examples regarding the category of article determination (2. 4)(in this paragraph we consider cases when the article is used in the linguistic environment that is alien to it). The analysis is supported by the conclusions after each paragraph. Chapter One Stylistic Resources of the grammatical units on the basis of the English Noun
All the linguistic phenomena we consider in the presented work are the subject of a relatively new science that is Stylistic Morphology. The purpose of this chapter is to reveal what have caused its appearing by considering different opinions of linguists and to illustrate the stylistic potential of the English Noun on the basis of some grammatical categories. The chapter starts with an effective approach in mastering a foreign language, namely with the functional one. Paragraph 1. 1 also illustrates the relationship between connotative meanings and functions of the language. Paragraph 1. is devoted to the appearance of Grammatical Stylistics (Stylistic Grammar), its subdivision and contrary judgments concerning its importance. Then attention is paid to the meaning of the grammatical form and to the notion of transposition. In the subsequent part of the chapter there was made an attempt to organize the material on the stylistic potential of the English noun considering the following nounal categories: the category of gender (1. 5. 1); the category of number (1. 5. 2); the category of case (1. 5. 3); the category of article determination (1. 5. 3). 1. 1 Functions of the language and connotative meanings.
Nowadays learning a foreign language implies its active practical mastering. What in its turn is quite impossible to do grasping just the system of a language, its standard grammar, language factors which correspond only to the literary norms. The approach that would be more effective in our case is a functional one. More and more linguists come to agree with it today. The Russian linguist Kojina M.  said: The indispensable attention to the peculiarities of the usage of language means is the most necessary condition and the most effective method of teaching (the Russian linguist M. Kojina)
This statement requires a deep research in the stylistic usage of language means, taking into consideration both expressive and functional nature of stylistic phenomena. Functions of the language are indissolubly connected with the usage of any of its elements. In other words, the emergence of connotative meanings depends on the functions of the language. As to the latter, there are many different opinions concerning their number. But the absolute majority of linguists agree on the point that the language is polyfunctional. For instance, R. Jackobson distinguishes the following six functions: . Referential, that implies orientation onto the context; 2. Emotive, that is the function of the expression of the speaker’s will, feelings; 3. Poetic; 4. Conative, that implies orientation onto the addressee; 5. Metalingual, that is the function that provides the possibility to speak about the language by means of the language; 6. Phatic, that implies the establishment of the contact. So the emotive function, for example, implies the intention to give way to emotions that, in its turn, causes appearing of the emotionally expressive connotation.
Each function gives birth to certain stylistic shadows. And it is no accident that in any living language there exist stylistic connotations with their heterogeneous character that is determined by the variety of the functions, Now going slightly back to the first point of this paragraph we would like to continue it by mentioning that the functional approach in mastering foreign languages requires first of all revealing stylistic resources of the language units of its different levels including grammatical ones. The famous Russian linguist V. Vinogradov once mentioned:
The stylistics of the national … language includes al its sides – its phonetic system, Grammar, Word-stock and Phraseology. So far in Stylistics much attention has been paid mainly to the analysis in the field of Word stock. But the success in the late elaboration of the problems of Functional Stylistics allows the linguists to apply the stylistic analysis also to Grammar (including Morphology). 1. 2 Grammatical Stylistics or Stylistic Grammar The modern stage of the development of Linguistics is characterized by appearing of new disciplines at the meeting point of old ones. Grammar and Stylistics are closely connected with each other.
As a result, a new branch of linguastylistics has already appeared. That is Grammatical Stylistics or Stylistic Grammar. The basic aim of Grammatical Stylistics implies study of stylistic means (both expressive and functional) of grammatical units. Grammatical Stylistics can be subdivided into morphological and syntactical one. But if the Stylistic means of Syntax are not usually cast upon doubt those of Morphology on contrary are. There are some rather skeptical judgments (A,M. Peshkovski, A. N. Gvozdev, A. Alonso). Acknowledging only Syntactical Stylistics the Spanish linguist Martin Alonso writes:
Style is not Morphology; it is connected not with the word but with the sentence. However, this understanding of the Stylistic role of Morphology according to Firsova I. cannot be considered right.  It narrows the limits of Stylistics. According to the fact that the object of Stylistics implies the language in the process of its usage the stylistic analysis must embrace all the levels of the language including the morphological one. The observation proves the point of view of those linguists who consider that morphological units have stylistic possibilities and must be the subject of Stylistics.
The traditional idea regarding the insignificance of Stylistic recourses of Morphology is the result of insufficient study of the material. Stylistic Morphology has a number of objects of study. This is on the one hand the subsystem of the means of word-building and on the other hand the subsystem of categorical grammatical forms. In the present work we are going to deal with the second one. 1. 3 The meaning of the grammatical form In order to realize better the stylistic potential of the morphological means it is important to consider the structure of their meaning.
In this work attention is going to be paid to the grammatical form. Its meaning is not something homogeneous. It can have two elements of meaning: denotative and connotative. The first implies what the grammatical form denotes itself that is its grammatical meaning. The second element implies a complication by any kind of stylistic information (of both emotional and logical character). The connotative meaning of the units of the morphological level implies their ability to evoke in our consciousness secondary associations of emotional or logical character connected with our experience.
In some cases the expression of different emotions, evaluation and also of functional stylistic connotations is realized by breaking usual valency relations. What we are speaking about is transposition. That is the divergence between the traditional meaning and that which is prompted by the context on the level of Morphology. And now at this stage let us consider stylistic potential of the English noun on the basis of some grammatical categories. 1. 4 Noun in different functional styles The noun plays a very important role among the morphological resources of any language including, of course, English.
That is determined according the Russian linguist Golub I.  by: • its semantic features; • quantitative predominance over other parts speech; • potential figurative and expressive means. “The noun as a part of speech according to Blokh M. I. has the categorial meaning of “substance” or “thingness”. It is impossible to express an idea without the latter that is why the use of nouns is an obligatory condition for any speech act. Golub I. mentions that their frequency of use fluctuates depending on the content of the text; the style it belongs to; the peculiarities of author’s intention.
Style influences over the choice of words, their forms and their place in the sentence. This correlation of style and words influence greatly over the composition of linguistic units. Nouns are often very much needed in so-called bookish styles: the scientific prose, newspaper, publicistic styles and also that of official documents. That is determined by the necessity to name institutions, persons, their activities, etc. The use in the belles-lettres style is determined by the creative purpose of the author, the way he or she resolves certain stylistic tasks.
Here the noun fulfils not only the informative function but also an aesthetic one. A stylistically neutral noun can be involved into the system of expressive means of the language and so it gets expressive connotation . 1. 5. Stylistic Potential of the English noun 1. 5. 1 Stylistic Potential of the category of gender In Old English all nouns were classified as masculine, feminine or sometimes neuter based entirely on grammatical considerations, not on sex or the lack of it. They were referred to by pronoun declensions that also were subdivided according to grammatical gender.
Since then the language has undergone a great variety of big and small changes. The system of grammatical gender was not an exception. Since the 12th to 15th centuries most of the gender distinctions has disappeared.  Basing on the fact that the noun in Contemporary English does not possess any special gender forms and the accompanying adjective, pronoun, article does not agree with the head –noun (Compare: Engl. a young lady, a young man, a young tree and Russ. ??????? ????, ??????? ???????, ??????? ??????) some linguists (M. Ganshina, N. Vasilevskaia, A. I. Smirnitsky,G. Leech and J.
Svartvik, I. G. Koshevaya, etc) conclude that in Modern English there is no grammatical gender. What English nouns now have is according to them natural gender1 that stipulates the sex of the referent or its lack of it. So all the nouns can be subdivided into three classes according to their lexical meaning: masculine (referred to as he) – names of male beings, feminine (referred to as she) – names of female beings, neuter (referred to as it) – names of lifeless things and abstract notions2: Masculine:father, brother, boy Feminine:mother, girl, sister Neuter:computer, lamp, beauty, friendship
Now let us consider another point of view namely that of Blokh M.  that a bit differs from the one already mentioned above. In her book “Theoretical Grammar” she agrees that the gender division of noun in English is expressed as nounal classification (not as variable forms of words). The question remains, Blokh M. continues, whether this classification has any serious grammatical relevance. She gives some arguments that support the positive answer to this question (see below). In the conclusions to the chapter we can read: … the category of gender in English is inherently semantic, i. . meaningful in so far as it reflects the actual features of the named objects. But the semantic nature of the category does not in the least make it into “non-grammatical”… So, as we can see, Blokh M. considers the category of gender as a grammatical one. In the book she presents it by means of the binary privative opposition. (It is a type of opposition that is formed by a contrastive pair of members in which one member is characterized by the presence of a certain differential feature (“mark”), while the other member is characterized by the absence of this feature.
The member in which the feature is present is called “marked” or “weak” or “positive” (“+”); the member in which the feature is absent is called “unmarked”, “weak” or “negative” (“-”)). It is expressed by the correlation of nouns with the personal pronouns of the third person: he, she, and it. The category is formed by two oppositions that are related to each other on a hierarchical basis. According to the upper opposition all nouns can be subdivided into two groups: person (human) nouns [strong member] and non-person (non-human) nouns [weak member].
Within the subset of person nouns the lower opposition divides them into masculine [weak member] and feminine [strong member] (Fig. 1) Figure 1:1 Oppositional structure of the category of gender (according to Blokh M. ) “+”- strong member “-”- weak member A lot of English nouns can express both feminine and masculine person genders. They are referred to as nouns of the “common gender” (i. e. doctor, teacher, president, etc. ). This capability of expressing both genders makes the category variable.
On the other hand, when there is no need to indicate the sex of the person referents of these nouns, they are used neutrally as masculine. Another interesting interpretation of gender in the English language found we in “A University Grammar of English” by R. Quirk,etc. Its authors say that some pronouns are gender-sensitive (the personal he, she, it and the relative who, which), but others are not (they, some, these, etc). Basing on the pattern of pronoun substitutions for singular nouns they distinguish ten gender classes ( see Fig. 2). Figure 1:2 Gender classes (according to Quirk R. , Greenbaum S. Leech G, etc) |Gender classes |Examples |Pronoun substitution | |animate | | | |masculine ______ |uncle___aunt____ |who –he________________ | |feminine_______ |doctor__ |who- she________________ | |dual___________ |baby____ |who – he/she____________ | |common _______ |family__ |who-he/she/? it, which – it__ | |collective_______ |bull____ |which-it, who – they______ | |masculine higher_ animal_________ | |which – it/ (? who) – he____ | |feminine higher__ animal_________ |cow____ | | |higher organism__ | |which – it/ (? ho)-she)____ | |lower animal____ |France__ | | | |ant_____ |which – it/she____________ | | | |which-it________________ | |Inanimate | | | |inanimate_______ |Box |Which –it______________ |
There are certain rules about what nouns can be regarded to as masculine, feminine and neuter. Some times they are broken in order to achieve a certain goal. At this stage it would be quite logic if we consider some of such cases grouping them in two sets where 1. A masculine or a feminine noun is used as neuter; 2. A neuter noun is used as a masculine or a feminine one. 1. A masculine or a feminine noun is used as neuter (depersonification) Dealing with this topic the Russian linguist Screbnev I. gives among several examples this one: “Where did you find it? ”- asked Mord Em’ly of Miss Gilliken with a satirical accent. “Who are you calling ‘it’” – demanded Mr. Barden aggressively. P’r’aps you’ll kindly call me I’m and not it” (W. Partridge)  So here Miss Gilliken is referred to with the pronoun it . A feminine noun becomes neuter. By doing this the speaker shows his neglect, he is probably mocking at her and considers that she is not worth being respected. 2. A neuter noun is used as either feminine or masculine. Let us start considering the second set with animate nouns that are regarded to as neuter, namely with animals. The main purpose of such usage according to Ganshina M. , Vasilevskaya N.  is to create a certain image. In tales, for example, the choice of gender greatly depends on the personal qualities the author ascribes to the animal: Wait a minute,” said the monkey proudly, “I can climb. ” He ran quickly up the tree and threw the rich ripe fruit to the ground. Next day the Rabbit went to see his friend the sable: she had many daughters and forest people always came to see her.  In general they say all nouns denoting animals can be substituted by the pronoun it and so considered neuter: We found the horse in its stable.  And summarizing everything M. Ganshina and V. Vasilevskaya come to the following conclusion: the lower the animal in the scale, the more exclusively is the noun denoting it referred to in the neuter gender. And so nouns denoting birds, fishes, insects and reptiles and generally considered s neuter: The snake crept into its hole.  According to G. Leech we use he or she for animals when we think of them as having the personal qualities of human beings (e. g. family pets): Have you given Rover his dog-biscuits.  Alice Macline singles out two types of nouns: ones that indicate the sex of the animals and ones that don’t. Let us illustrate them by the following examples: Nouns indicate the sex of the animals do not indicate the sex of the animals Male FemaleCommon words bull, steer(cowcattle stallion, gelding(marehorse boarsowpig, hog ramewesheep buckdoedeer cock, rooster, capon*henchicken gandergoosegoose drakeduckduck
Mentioning the case when the sex of the animal is not indicated by the noun M. Ganshina says that the nouns that stand for the larger and bolder animals are generally associated with the masculine gender, nouns that stand for the smaller and weaker with feminine: Masculine: elephant, horse, dog Feminine: cat, parrot, hare. The elephant lifted his mighty trunk. The cat has upset her milk. Here goes one more observation made by M. Ganshina concerning names of animals, the latter agree with the feminine pronoun also when their maternal instinct is referred to: A bird betrays her nest when trying to conceal it. The swallow was teaching her young how to fly.
But in the imaginary world of Literature where there are no such traditional associations the writer is free to choose the gender to refer to his/her character in case of personification. Here M. Ganshina gives an example from O. Wilde “Happy Prince” where the author makes the swallow of masculine gender and the reed of feminine: One night there flew over the city a little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth. Sometimes one can refer to some thing that one feels is necessary or very important to him or her, that he or she likes very much with the pronoun he or she.
By doing this one as if humanifies (?????????????) the thing one adores and in this way expresses his or her affection. In terms of gender the neuter noun becomes either feminine (in case it is referred to as she) or masculine (in case it is referred to as he) as in the example given by the Russian linguist Kolpakchi M. : : My typewriter must be easy to reach, he is my second self. Speaking about abstract nouns it is worth mentioning that by changing the gender the English speaker can emphasize his attitude towards it, its importance. While dealing with it in her book Kolpakchi M. A. gives the following example: Peace raised her voice…
She says that the author used here the possessive pronoun her (that corresponds to the personal pronoun she) not by mere accident. He or she used it on purpose imagining Peace as a woman, an unwearying fighter for peace. The choice of gender is very subjective. To illustrate this Kolpakchi M. A. gives the following two examples: Because I could not step for death, He kindly stepped for me. E. Dickenson Death was not there. It must have gone around another street. E. Hemingway Speaking about the impending death E. Dickenson, for example, made the latter masculine. Hemingway, on the contrary, referred to it with the pronoun it making it neuter.
And so the reader gets the idea according to Kolpakchi M. A. that E. Dickenson imagined death as a man and Hemingway who had seen a lot of cases of death considered it an ordinary thing not personifying it. Now let us consider one more thing, namely zoomorphisms. These are the words that denote animals, birds, or fantastic creatures but are used to refer to people. The Russian linguist I. V. Arnold says that in this case they get a metaphorical emotionally colored and often offensive connotation. She mentions that it can be easily noticed if we compare direct and metaphorical meanings of the following words: ass, beast, bitch, donkey, duck, mule, pig, swine, tabby, toad, wolf, worm, etc.
Here are two examples with such metaphorically employed words in the context that gives Arnold I. V while considering zoomorphisms: 1. I was not going to have all the old tabbies bossing her around just because she is not what they call “our class” (A. Wilson The Middle Age) In this example the speaker calls the ladies she does charity work with old tabbies. Arnold I. V mentions that in the same chapter but a bit earlier the narrator says that she (the speaker) regarded them as fools and did not hesitate to tell him so. That supports the idea that the word tabbies is used here emotionally. 2. What were you talking about to that old mare downstairs? S. Delaney) While reading the sentence you as if see the speaker pronouncing it with scorn, probably hatred. Alongside with the emotional connotation these words can also have an expressive, stylistic (colloquial) one. I. V. Arnold notices that when the words that name animals have synonyms, the latter can differ in intensity and character of connotation. She illustrate this by giving the following examples: pig, monkey, donkeyswine, ass, ape can express irony together with affection. can sound rude, offensive. Here goes an example provided by Arnold I. V. of a zoomorphism in the context: E. g. “Don’t be such a donkey, dear” (C. P. Snow)
Negative connotations according to the same Russian linguist can be intensified by means of different epithets, emphatic constructions: you impudent pup, you filthy swine, you lazy dog, that big horse of a girl. Now let us go on with inanimate nouns. They can be substituted by the pronouns which, it and so treated as neuter. But sometimes they can be personified and the nouns that denote them are referred to either as belonging to the masculine or the feminine gender. Here are some traditional associations that Ganshina M and Vasilevskaya N distinguish: 1. The nouns moon, earth are considered feminine, sun masculine: It is pleasant to watch the sun in his chariot of gold, and the moon in her chariot of pearl. (Wilde) The earth awoke from her winter sleep. 2.
Those abstract nouns that suggest such ideas as strength, fierceness, courage, etc are considered masculine (anger, death, fear). The ones that are associated with gentleness, beauty are referred to as feminine (spring, peace, dawn). Names of countries can be substituted by either the pronoun it or she. So they can be considered either neuter or feminine. The choice depends on their use. According to Leech G. if the country is seen as a political or cultural unit rather than as geographical unit it is treated as feminine: Last year France increased her exports by 10 per cent.  Otherwise it is treated as neuter: Ireland is an island, on three sides it is washed by the Atlantic Ocean1
In sport the name of a country according to Quirk R. can stand for the team that represent her and be referred to as a personal collective noun: France have improved their chance of winning the cup.  In this class Quirk also places ships and other entities towards which an affectionate attitude is expressed by a personal substitute (ship, boat, steamer, car, etc): What a lovely ship. What is she called? He also mentions that a proud owner of a sports car may refer to it as she or perhaps as he if the owner is female. When a nonpersonal abstract noun (neuter) in the sentence stands for a personal one it becomes he (masculine) or she (femenine). The Russian linguist Arnold I. V. entions that in case of transposition of nonpersonal abstract nouns (used as personal) some emotional or expressive connotations appear. She gives the following examples: The chubby little eccentricity::a chubby eccentric child; He is a disgrace to his family::he is a disgraceful son; The old oddity ::an odd old person. From the point of view of sociology it is worth mentioning the sexist language here while speaking about the gender. It can be defined as “speech and writing that make unnecessary distinctions based on sex” (A. Macline). Some people do not like using occupational terms that show the sex of the person who is doing the work.
They substitute them for nonsexist equivalents : TraditionalNonsexist stewardessflight attendant postmanpostal worker chairman chairperson or chair salesladysalesperson or salesclerk According to “Book of English Usage” some of the most interesting changes that have taken place in the English language over the last 30 years have been driven by the desire to avoid sexism in the language. This reform movement differs from most previous ones based on a desire for English to be more logical, more efficient in expression. The book says that the reforms involving gender are explicitly political in intent and represent a quest for social justice rather than a wish for more consistent logic.
The author of this chapter considers that this movement has been remarkably successful by historical standards. A glance at any newspaper or five minutes in front of the television news will produce evidence to show that people are changing their language to accommodate concerns about fairness to both sexes. It is undeniable that large numbers of men and women are uncomfortable using constructions that have been criticized for being sexist. Since there is little to be gained by offending people in one’s audience, it makes sense to educate oneself about the issues involved and to try to accommodate at least some of these concerns. The use of the sexist language can sometimes lead to ambiguity. There is an example with the term policemen in the book.
While using it, it is not clear whether the speaker is excluding women police officers or whether he or she allows the term stand for the entire police force. Another problem is that not everyone perceives the sexist language the same way. People have different levels of sensitivity on these matters and everyone must find a level that suits him or her. Some people not object to using the generic he, but avoid the generic use of compounds ending in –man. Some are not comfortable using the form fellow, as in fellow colleagues, to refer to women. That complicates the matter. Finally, it is important to remember that avoiding sexist terms and constructions is no guarantee that what one has written will be free of gender bias.
Sexist stereotypes, such as the assumption that all nurses are women or that all executive are men, can seem like the status quo – the way the world is- especially when one is distracted by a deadline or concerned about some other feature of his or her writing, such as organization or its tone. Sexist assumptions can be insidious. A headline that reads “Allegations Embroil Financier and Woman” may seem innocuous at first, but if the article shows the woman to be a financier as well, one have to wonder about the politics of the headline editor, who has assumed that a financier must naturally be a man and that a woman’s professional status is somehow not worth mentioning. . 5. 2ylistic Potential of the category of number The category of number is expressed by the opposition of the plural form to the singular one. The strong member is the plural. Basing on the quantitative characteristics of the nouns two groups can be distinguished: countable and uncountable. Countable nouns refer to people, places, or things that can be counted (one dollar/two dollars, one house, two houses). They [these countable nouns] can always be made plural usually by adding “s” or some other variation of the plural ending (student(s), countri(es), child(ren). A few words are the same in both the singular and plural forms (deer, sheep).
Uncountable nouns often refer to food, beverages, substances, or abstractions (meat, tea, steel, information); some uncountable nouns (but not the abstract ones) can be made countable by adding a “count frame” in front of them (two gallons of milk, six blocks of ice, a bar of soap, a bunch of celery). The nouns of the second group are treated as either singular or plural and are usually referred to as singularia tantum (peace, love, friendship) [only singular] and pluralia tantum (scissors, trousers, spectacles) [only plural]. M. I. Blokh refers to them as absolute singular and the absolute plural. Unfortunately, there is not clear-cut distinction between countable and uncountable nouns. Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable even without adding count frames. For example, as an uncountable noun, experience refers to abstract knowledge or skill that can be gained by observing or participating in events.
As a singular or plural countable noun (experience/experiences), the word “experience” refers to a particular instance (or instances) of participation in events. Similarly, the uncountable noun “glass” is a substance made from silicates; “a glass” (singular) is something you drink from; and “glasses” (plural) are frames containing lenses that correct imperfect vision. There are other exceptions to the countable/uncountable distinction as well. Moreover, a noun that is countable in one’s native language may be uncountable in English, and vice-versa. For example, “watch” is countable in English but uncountable in Russian. However, as long as we are aware of these differences they probably will not cause us much difficulty.
The Guide to Grammar and Writing  says that a special situation exists when a subject seems not to agree with its predicate. For instance, when we want each student to see his or her counselor (and each student is assigned to only one counselor), but we want to avoid that “his or her” construction by pluralizing, do we say “Students must see their counselors” or “Students must see their counselor”? The singular counselor is necesssary to avoid the implication that students have more than one counselor apiece. Do we say “Many sons dislike their father or fathers”? We don’t mean to suggest that the sons have more than one father, so we use the singular father.
Theodore Bernstein, in Dos, Don’ts and Maybes of English Usage, says that “Idiomatically the noun applying to more than one person remains in the singular when (a) it represents a quality or thing possessed in common (“The audience’s curiosity was aroused”); or (b) it is an abstraction (“The judges applied their reason to the problem”), or (c) it is a figurative word (“All ten children had a sweet tooth”) (203). Sometimes good sense will have to guide you. We might want to say “Puzzled, the children scratched their head” to avoid the image of multi-headed children, but “The audience rose to their foot” is plainly ridiculous and about to tip over. In “The boys moved their car/cars,” the plural would indicate that each boy owned a car, the singular that the boys (together) owned one car (which is quite possible). It is also possible that each boy owned more than one car.
One should be prepared for such situations, and consider carefully the implications of using either the singular or the plural. One might have to avoid the problem by going the opposite direction of pluralizing: moving things to the singular and talking about what each boy did. There are cases when the opposition of the singular to the plural is neutralized when a change of meaning, attitude is involved. Let us consider some examples organizing them in the following groups: A) countable: the plural stands for the singular and vice versa B) Countable nouns: repetition groups C) Uncountable nouns: the plural form results in expressive transposition 1. ountable: the plural stands for the singular and vice versa The example below shows that such nouns as committee can be substituted either with the singular pronoun it or the plural pronoun they (without changing the number in the noun). R. Quirk and other authors of “A University Grammar of English” say that the difference reflects a difference in attitude: the singular stresses the non-personal collectivity of the group and the plural the personal individuality within the group: 1. The committee has met and it has rejected the proposal. The committee have met and they have rejected the proposal  Here are similar examples: 2. The family were gathered round the table. 3. The government are unanimous in disapproving the move of the opposition.
In the subsequent cases (when the plural implies the singular and vice versa) the relation of the whole to its parts comes to the foreground. The varieties of transfer (‘whole –part’ and ‘part – whole’) are called synecdoche, which itself is the simplest case of metonymy: 4. “How dare he talk like that to ladies? ” (there is only one lady present) 5. “Now what’s that? Reading books instead of working? ” (the delinquent is certainly reading one book at the moment) 6. “This is what the student is supposed to know” (every student, a number of students, all those who study the subject: the singular stands for the plural) 2. Countable nouns: repetition groups Indefinitely large quantity can be intensely presented by means of repetition groups.
The nouns in them can be used either in the plural or in the singular: There were trees and trees all around us. I lit cigarette after cigarette. This variety of plural can be considered as a peculiar analytical form in the marginal sphere of the category of number. (C)Uncountable nouns: the plural form results in expressive transposition As it has been mentioned above the English noun has both the singular and the plural forms. But there is a restriction on this general rule: proper, abstract, material nouns have just one form. And if the restriction is ignored some particular meanings, connotations are restricted. The plural form of the following nouns in bold type intensifies large quantity: E. g. : the sands of the desert; • the fruits of the toil; • Waters on a starry night are beautiful and fair. (W. Wordsworth) • But where are the snows of yesterday? (F. Villon) It plays not the last role in making the description more graphic. M. I. Blokh calls it “descriptive uncountable plural”. 1. 5. 3 Stylistic Potential of the category of case This category is expressed in the English language by the opposition of the genitive or possessive case to the common case. The strong member is the first one. Functionally, those two case systems relate to one another in a very peculiar way. If the common form is not restricted in its uses, the genitive one is.
It is restricted to the functions that have a parallel expression by prepositional constructions. To illustrate the complex nature of the genitive Blokh M. distinguishes the following basic semantic types of the genitive : • “the genitive of possessor” E. g. : Christine’s living room (the living room belongs to Christine), Dad’s earnings, Kate and Jerry’s grandparents. • “the genitive of integer” (“organic possession”) E. g. : Jane’s busy hands (the busy hands as part of Jane’s person), Patrick’s voice, the hotel’s lobby. • “the genitive of agent” E. g. : the great man’s arrival (the great man arrives), Peter’s insistence, the hotel’s competitive position. “the genitive of patient” E. g. : the champion’s sensational defeat (the champion is defeated), Erick’s final expulsion. • “the genitive of destination” E. g. : women’s footwear (footwear for women), children’s verses, a fisher’s tent. In some postmodified noun phrases it is possible to use an ’s genitive by affixing the inflection to the final part of the postmodification rather than to the head noun itself. Thus: The teacher’s room The teacher of music’s room This group genitive is regularly used with such posmodifications as in someone else’s house, the heir apparent’s name, as well as prepositional phrases. Other examples involve coordinations: n hour and a half’s discussion a week or so’s sunshine.  The group genitive is not normally acceptable following a clause, though in colloquial use one sometimes hears examples like: Old man what-do-you-call-him’s house has been painted A man I know’s son has been injured in a railway accident. In normal use, especially in writing, such s-genetives would be replaced by of-genitive: The son of a man I know has been injured in a railway accident. Now let us consider the combination “of + genitive case” (a friend of my brother’s) or “of + possessive pronoun” (a friend of mine). According to Ganshina M. , Vasilevskaya N. t has usually partitive, denoting “one of…” Here are some examples: He is a friend of my brother’s (= one of my brother’s friends); It is a book of mine (=one of my book); It is a novel of Galsworthy’s (= one of his novels). The say that sometimes this meaning can be lost and the construction acquires emotional force (denoting praise, pleasure, displeasure, etc) or becomes purely descriptive: We all admired that clever remark of his. That cottage of my friend’s is surrounded by a beautiful garden. It was really surprising that he had been able to find this small island of ours at all. Is she a particular friend of yours? A friend of the doctor’s has arrived.
In Modern English the use of the genitive case is restricted chiefly to nouns denoting living beings. In the following examples provided by Ganshina M. , Vasilevskaya N. the use of the genitive case is closely connected with personification: 1. with the nouns sun, moon, earth: The sun’s (his) rays are very hot at noon in summer. The moon’s (her) shadow swept over the lake. And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast rose from the dreams of its wintry rest. (Shelly) 2. with the nouns ship, boat, vessel The ship’s crew were all asleep. 3. with the names of countries: Moscow is Russian’s greatest scientific and cultural centre. 4. with abstract nouns (especially in poetry)
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain top. But that does not exhaust the stylistic potential of the genitive case. It was mentioned in «?????????? ???????????? ??????????? ?????» by Arnold that the use of the inflected form is characteristic of newspaper headlines not only because of space economy but also because this form emphasizes the attribute. Comparing Hollywood’s Studios Empty with The Studios of Hollywood empty they prefer the first variant. Now let us consider one more point of view regarding the ’s and of-phrase. E. G. Rappoport says that ’s expresses indissoluble connection between the whole and its part.
Of ,on the contrary, characterizes such a relation between the whole and its part when the latter is understood as something that exists on its own. The author gives then an example from the novel by Galsworthy “The White Monkey”. Michael and Soms are waiting for Fleur’s baby to be delivered: Michael had his right arm tight across his chest, Soames his left. They formed a pattern, thus side by side. (Both were rather strained. ) Then Soames says, “Listen! ”Sounds – different – confused! Michael’s hand seized something, gripped it hard; it was cold, thin – the hand of Soames. So Mike at first perceived Soames’ hand (the hand of Soames) as an object (something) .
It doesn’t come to him at once that he has gripped his father’s-in-law hand. Michael’s hand, on the contrary, represents a closer unity and it is equal to Michael. 1. 5. 4 Stylistic Potential of the category of article determination The category of article determination is not universally manifestable. The categorial forms “determination-indetermination” are neutralized when either the definite or indefinite article is omitted although it should precede the noun or the noun group. But the neutralization (absence of the article) is stylistically heterogeneous. Most depends on what sublanguage the text belongs, on the circumstances of communication.
It is known that absence of articles is typical of headlines to newspaper columns (the sublanguage used in newspaper headlines is jocularly called Headlinese – by analogy with Chinese, Portuguese, etc): Prime Minister Talks on Middle East Events Police Seek Mystery Assailant Miner Sentenced to Death Picket Tried to Hold up Train Skrebnev I. M. gives also the following example that demonstrates absence: Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries sheds hoofs too. Hoofs hard but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth”. That is an extract from the speech of an exemplary pupil of the famous “school of facts”, Bitzer by name (Hard Times by Charles Dickens).
The boy, on being asked to define a horse, talks as if he were asked to reproduce word for word the text of some reference book (in books of this kind articles are often omitted). So there is no article in particular types of abbreviated language: • newspaper headlines (Girls dies in Fire) • dictionary deginitions (Crystal = substance solidified in geometrical form) • instructions (Read instructions first. Check plug. Select correct speed. ) • telegrams (Sign contract immediately. Letter follows. ) Sometimes articles are omitted in careless colloquial speech. To demonstrate this Skrebnev I remembers the well-known scene I of Pygmalion by B. Shaw where one of the by-standers says in Eliza Doolittle’s defence: Girl never said a word to him (instead of The girl…)
Articles are also eliminated in many Pidgins as well as in a number of languages like, for example, Russian. “Bring me dog”, would possibly be more meaningful in context of the moment, than in some literary sense. Article causes a considerable amount of confusion for speakers of most of the world’s other languages, who seem to get on rather well without them. Even between British and American usage one finds subtle differences in nuance or emphasis. For example, Americans usually say someone is in the hospital, much as they could be at the bank or in the park. To the British this sounds like there is only one hospital, just as they would say a child is at school or a criminal in prison.
This is because they are thinking more of the primary activities that take place within those institutions rather than the buildings in which they are housed. If, however, you are merely visiting one of these places, you are at the hospital, at the school or at the prison. Considering this category in “Theoretical grammar” M. I. Blokh distinguishes two levels of opposition. On the first level the definite article is contrasted with the indefinite and zero-article being the strong member because of its identifying and individualizing function, while the other forms are referred to as the weak member as they leave the feature (“identification”) unmarked.
On the second level the two types of generalization are contrasted: relative and absolute. The first one is interpreted as the strong member (the indefinite article and the meaningful absence of the article as its analogue with uncountable nouns and nouns in the plural); the second one accordingly as the weak member of the opposition (the meaningful absence of the article). (Fig 1:3) Fig. 1:3 The category of article determination (according to Blokh M. ) Article determination IdentificationNon-identification The +A (N)/? – Relative generalizationAbsolute generalization (“Classification”)(“Abstraction”) A (N)/ ? 1 + ? 2 – The article may occasionally be used with an uncharacteristic nounal collocation.
It is worth considering now some of such cases starting with instances that involve the indefinite article: According to Blokh M it… • can be used with a nounal collocation of normally individualizing meaning: After all, you’ve got a best side and a worst side of yourself and it’s no good showing the worst side and harping on it. (A. Christie) • It may occasionally be used with a unique referent noun: Ted Latimer from beyond her murmured: “The sun here isn’t a real sun”. The choice of the adjective in this case is rather subjective. To illustrate this Kolpakchi M. A. gives the following example. The moon that seemed to Onegin foolish, can seem to somebody else mocking or ominous. 60] • Being used before a proper name it can indicate a person whose exact identity has not been established: There is a Miss Frost waiting for you. • Being used before a proper noun according to Arnold I. V. it can create an evaluative metaphorical connotation: I do not claim to be a Caruso=I don’t think that I sing well; I do not claim to be Caruso=I don’t say that my name is Caruso. The connotation can be either positive or negative. In the following example also provided by Arnold I. V. the evaluation is undoubtfully positive: A century ago there may have been no Leibnitz, but there was a Gauss, a Faraday and a Darwin. (N. Viner Cybernetics)
The indefinite article in this case emphasizes appreciation of their role in the development of science. However, very often when the indefinite article stands before a proper name of an undistinguished person it may render a negative connotation (it can point out, for example, to some demerits,etc). Here Arnold I. V. gives the following example: He was not a Bagster (GGreen The main point). -He does not want to be like Bagster. Being used before a proper noun the indefinite article can reveal one more meaning, namely belonging to a famous family. In this case it always reveals an evaluative connotation: Elisabeth was a Tudor – Elisabeth possessed some family traits of the noble kin.
Here go some other cases that involve the definite article: Proper nouns are names of particular people, places, and things (John F. Kennedy, New York City, Notre Dame Cathedral), and for that reason they are inherently definite. Nevertheless, the definite article is not used with most singular proper nouns. For example, if you are referring to your friend George, you wouldn’t say “The George and I went to a movie last night. ” The only times “the” is used with a name like this are: a) when the speaker wants to be emphatic, as in “the Elizabeth Taylor” (to emphasize that you are talking about the famous actress, and not about another woman with the same name).
Here goes another example provided by BlokhM Know my partner? Old Robinson. Yes, the Robinson. Don’t you know? The notorious Robinson. (J Conrad Lord Jim) Being used with a proper noun, it refers to one particular individual: Is he the Stephen Spielberg, the film director? b) when the speaker is actually using the name as a common noun, as in “the George that I introduced you to last night” (the real meaning of this phrase is “the man named George… “). Plural names, on the other hand, are always preceded by the: the Johnsons, the Bahamas, etc. Now let us consider two other cases that involve the zero article: • It may be occasionally used with an ordinary concrete noun the emantic nature of which stands in sharp contradiction to the idea of uncountable generalization: The glasses had a habit of slipping down her button nose which did not have enough bridge to hold them up (S. M. Disney) • The Russian linguist Arnold I. V. mentions that together with countable nouns it makes them abstract and considers the following example: There head falls forward, fatigued at evening, And dreams of home, Waving from window, spread of welcome, Kissing of wife under single sheet; But waking sees Bird-flocks nameless to him, through doorway voices Of new men making another love. In this poem by V. Oden Wanderer extreme tiredness of the Wanderer is rendered according to Arnold I. V. by means of abstract images.
This fuzziness helps the reader to feel that home and happiness are just a dream. In all these cases that illustrate the peculiar cases involving the article traces of transposition can be seen. Chapter 2 Analysis of examples taken from fiction on the basis of considered theoretical phenomena Being a practical one Chapter2 illustrates the points mentioned in the previous theoretical chapter by means of about 200 instances. The latter have been taken mostly from works of English and American authors that belong to the belles-lettres style (tales, poetry, short stories). The aim of this chapter is to put the considered theory into practice showing the way the phenomena have been dealt with work out.
All the examples were considered in the following way: • Examples regarding the category of gender (2. 1) Here we distinguish two groups: A. A neuter noun used as feminine; B. A neuter noun used as masculine, explaining the purpose of changing the gender. • Examples regarding the category of number (2. 2) In this paragraph we consider some cases when proper, abstract, material nouns are used in the plural form. • Examples regarding the category of case (2. 3) Here we consider cases when inanimate nouns take the s-genitive. • Examples regarding the category of article determination (2. 4) In this paragraph we consider cases when the article is used in the linguistic environment that is alien to it. 1.
Analysis of the examples regarding the category of gender As it has been already mentioned in the theoretical chapter the gender division of noun in English is expressed as nounal classification (not as variable forms of words) which has grammatical relevance. The category is expressed by the correlation of nouns with the personal pronouns of the third person singular (he, she, it). That is why the latter accompanies all the considered nouns in the examples of this paragraph. Those that are referred to as he are traditionally considered as masculine, and so accordingly there can be distinguished also feminine (referred to as she) and neuter (referred to as it). There are certain rules about what nouns can be regarded to as masculine, feminine or neuter.
Sometimes they are broken in order to achieve a certain goal. Such cases are considered in this paragraph, namely when a normally considered neuter noun is used as feminine or masculine. All the examples are divided accordingly into two groups which are considered separately: 1. A neuter noun is used as feminine 2. A neuter noun is used as masculine. In each subset we consider (A) cases where the choice of gender is determined by some traditional associations and (B) examples where this choice is free. It is also worth mentioning that all the subsequent instances are connected with personification. 1. A neuter noun is used as feminine A. Traditional choice of gender
In the following example the word vessel (that is neutrally referred to as it) is accompanied by the possessive pronoun her that corresponds to the personal pronoun she. This is actually one of the ways of expressing an affectionate attitude towards any kind of vessel, vehicle, which is traditionally, associated with the personal pronoun she: ? There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail…. (A. Tennyson The lady of Sharlott) The same thing will illustrate the following example: ? And why not? he would have asked. If he hadn’t watched every penny all his life he wouldn’t be the owner of the fine ship lying alongside now. What if she was only a small coastal cargo-ship grossing a mere 2053 tons?
She was rated Al at Lloyd’s, she would be sailing within the hour with a full cargo, and she was his. He owned and commanded her. (Porteus R. S. A Deal with Father) Here the word of the neuter gender ship is referred to as she and so it becomes feminine. We see that the owner is very proud that “he owned and commanded her” (personification in this case emphasizes this). Here goes another example from the same short story where the word ship is also used as a feminine noun: ? In the first grey streaks of dawn they sighted her – a pitiful, crippled thing , so far down by the head that the bigger seas broke clean over her foredeck. Captain Wellshot knew her well.
Only a few hours ago she had been a fast modern cargo-ship of 10,000 tons, the latest addition to the Greek line. Now she lay with bowed head, wallowing sluggishly as if she no longer had the energy to rise to the seas, content to let them wash over her till they engulfed her completely. From a seaman’s point of view she was nothing but a menace to navigation until she took the final plunge. (Porteous R. S. A Deal with Father) The image of the sinking ship is as if personified here (Captain Wellshot knew her well… She lay with bowed head… ) In the subsequent example the word Moon (that is neutrally referred to as it) is also accompanied by the possessive pronoun her that corresponds to the personal pronoun she.
That has a lot to do with personification that is also realized by capitalizing the word Moon and by using with it the participle foretelling (that usually used with animate nouns): ? I see the old Moon in her lap, foretelling The coming-on of rain and squally blast … (Coleridge S. T. Dejection: An Ode) Traditionally such abstract nouns that suggest such ideas as gentleness, beauty, etc are associated with the feminine gender. The subsequent three sentences with examples illustrate this. In the first one the word autumn that is normally referred to as it is substituted by the personal pronoun she. So being a neuter noun it is used as feminine. That makes us imagine a nice woman who “gave golden fruit to every garden”: The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden she gave none. (Oscar Wilde The Selfish Giant) In the second one the word spring (that is neutrally referred to as it) is substituted by the personal pronoun she and is also referred to by the possessive pronoun her. The personification is realized not only by making the word feminine but also by using it in the possessive case by means of ’s (that is usually used with animate nouns) and by applying to it such words as pantings, kisses, to breathe that are characteristic of human being: ? If spring’s voluptuous pantings when she breathes, Her first sweet kisses, have been dear to me… (Shelley P. B. Alastor or the spirit of solitude)
In the third sentence the word Nature (that is neutrally referred to as it) is accompanied by the possessive pronoun her that corresponds to the personal pronoun she. The personification in this case is realized not only by it but also by capitalizing the considered noun and by the accompanying words wedding garment, shroud that are employed metaphorically: ? O Lady! We receive but what we give, And in our life alone does Nature live: Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her shroud! (Coleridge S. T. Dejection: An Ode) B. Free choice of gender In the imaginary world of literature when there are no such traditional associations, the choice of gender greatly depends on the personal qualities the author ascribes to the animal or to any object that becomes alive.
The personification in the sentence below is realized not only by referring to the considered noun with the possessive pronoun her but also capitalizing it and by applying to it such phrases as to bow one’s head, to mind one’s charge (that are normally performed by human beings): ? The Cloud descended and the Lily bow’d her modest head And went to mind her numerous charge among the verdant grass. (W. Blake The Book of Thel) The neuter noun snow is referred in the following example by means of the possessive pronoun her that corresponds to the personal pronoun she. The change of the neuter gender into feminine results in personification.
The latter is also realized by means of capitalization of the noun and the metaphorically applied to it noun cloak: The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the Trees silver. (Oscar Wilde The Nightingale and the Rose) Personification in the example below is realized by referring to the noun duck as she and also by making her speak as people do (“You will never be in the best society unless you can stand on your heads,” she kept saying to them). The neuter noun duck is used as feminine. As a result an image of a nice mother who was teaching her children has been created: ? The little ducks were swimming about in the pond, looking just like a lot of yellow canaries, and their mother [duck], who was pure white with real red legs, was trying to teach them how to stand on their heads in the water. You will never be in the best society unless you can stand on your heads,” she kept saying to them; and every now and then she showed them how it was done. (Oscar Wilde The Devoted Friend ) In the following two sentences the word Nightingale (which belongs to the neuter gender) becomes feminine by referring to it as she, her. Personification in this case is also realized by some metaphorically employed words that accompany the considered noun such as to wonder, to understand, to think. As a result the image of a kind creature that is not indifferent to the grief of others is created: ? From her nest in the Holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves and wondered. But the Nightingale underst