Modality of syntactic structures in the text
Modality is the essential property of text and irrespective of the fact whether it is considered a category or not, it is always present in any type of text. Modality of syntactic structures in the text. The characterising function of modality text.
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1. Modality of syntactic structures in the text
The problem of marking out the list of basic text categories is still unsolved. As to the category of modality, it is defined by some linguists as a separate text category. However, there are objections to it, as modality characterises not only text but sentence as well, so it cannot distinguish text from other language units. Irrespective of the fact whether it is the basic text category or not, modality is always present in the text. It acquires special importance within the construction with cumulative phrase, because this particular construction often serves the purpose to express the speaker's attitude to the object of speech.
The term "modality" is rather ambiguous. First of all, we should distinguish between the two types of modality: objective and subjective. The objective modality reflects the character of the objective relations of the situation described from the point of view of their reality or unreality, possibility and necessity. This narrow point of view is represented in the work of Zolotova G.A. Petrov N.E. adheres to the broader notion of modality, that includes the attitude of the speaker to the contents of text fragments, interlocutor, situation, himself and speech constructions. In other words, the broad notion means subjective modality, that expresses the author's attitude to the facts, events and their participants, characterises and evaluates them.
Objective modality will not be touched upon in this article, as it is mainly the field of grammar and we are interested in the stylistic function of modality, i.e. subjective modality.
There has been no exhaustive classification of stylistic functions in linguistics up to now. The majority of authors name characterising, descriptive, emotive and evaluating functions. All of them, except, to some extent, describing, render subjective modality. Emotive function, having no direct reference to things or phenomena of objective reality, bears reference to things, phenomena and ideas by evaluating them someway and is included into subjective modality. Thus, analysing text modality of the CCP, we shall examine its characterising, evaluating and emotive stylistic functions.
Text modality, as it is viewed in the given article, plays another important part in the process of text-formation besides its stylistic function. It serves the realisation of the communicative intention of the author. The author's ideas and the conformity of the text to his aims come to life by means of text modality.
The last remark permits to assume that there exists certain correspondence between the communicative structure of the text and its modality (characterisation, evaluation and emotional expressiveness).
The aim of the given article, as it follows from the above-stated, is the analysis of the definite syntactico-stylistic construction - CCP - from the point of view of the realisation within its structure of the textual category of modality and thus stating its characterising, evaluative and emotive stylistic functions. The analysis should consider the communicative orientation of the text as a whole, as the usage of the CCP in the functions named is always deliberate and is directed to the creation of text integrity, aesthetic and art value.
Communicative structure of the text is determined by the arrangement of the information, its accentuation and the existence of approximately tightly connected blocks of information. Such organisation of communicative structure makes possible the appearance of some new, additional information that depends on the definite arrangement, accentuation and connections without respect to the semantics of the blocks of information. Therefore, the communicative structure is not only structural organisation of the original concepts, but it is the formation of new concepts. The CCP, as a special form of communicative structure of the text and the source of new, additional meaning undergoes detailed investigation in many linguistic, philological and stylistic articles . However, similar investigations were devoted mainly to the theme-rheme division and the accentuation of the rheme by means of special structural and syntactical organisation of the text.
The possibility of syntactical constructions and the CCP, in particular, is much more diverse than just drawing attention of the interlocutor to this or that part of information.
Any speech and any text as the result of speech (here we touch upon the texts of belles-lettres style, as the province where the CCP is usually applied), together with objective, logical information aims at expression of the widest range of feelings, emotions, attitudes of the speaker. In some texts, or fragments of texts, this aim becomes the basic one. Such texts (fragments) express affective reaction to the event or the information about event, they are examples of emotive speech.
They've got an awfully nice lot of little pigs. Sweet!
"The girls!" That's how she always spoke of them.The girls! And the eldest was well over sixty then.
The examples of emotive speech are quite often used in texts but they are, as a rule, simple reflection of the emotional state of the speaker and do not imply any new information, besides that the speaker is under the influence of some very strong impression and his speech is more a self-expression of his inner state then a communicative deed. We can hardly speak here about the CCP as a special communicative structure that is used deliberately and conveys any additional information of evaluative or characterising value, or even separates the important part of text with the purpose to emphasise it. The CCP in the emotive speech is the reflection of the state of mind of the speaker.
Quite different are the constructions which comprise both objective, logical information and subjective modality. These texts (fragments of texts) are referred to the communicative-emotive type and the structure of the CCP either creates the characterisation of the facts, events, information about events or their participants or gives the author's evaluation to them.
2. The characterising function of modality text
modality text syntactic structure
The characterising function of the CCP as a part of the text modality is closely related to the communicative structure - the actual division. The aspect in common is that both characterisation and actual division disjoint the components of the situation into characterised (CHRed) and characterising (CHRing), and define their order.
The function of characterisation within the CCP possesses a particular quality that is not present in other means of expressing the text modality of this kind. This quality is that due to the cumulative relations of the main/basic phrase (BP) and the cumulating phrase (CP), and full graphical separation - full stop after the first part of the construction before the CP, the syntactical connection between CHRed and CHRing is rather difficult or even impossible to define. On the contrary, the function of characterisation often serves the basic means for connecting the CCP parts and the integrity of the text and text fragments.
Characterisation not only integrates the CCP, text fragments and text itself, it appoints the direction of the syntactical connections of the CHRed and CHRing, that means - the direction of the syntactical connection of the BP and the CP, or the CCP and the preceding (anaphoric sub-function) or the following text (cataphoric sub-function).
The CHRed and CHRing do not always coincide with theme and rheme that is why characterising function, being closely related to the actual division, presents a separate phenomenon.
I found all that. Near-genius, I would say.
"It must have taken quite a bit of doing to suggest something to Hardanger and leave him with the impression that he'd thought it up himself."
"It was. Never underestimate Hardanger. An outstanding policeman."
So I ran her in, dropped her at the wool shop, picked her up again later and that was that. Thanked me very prettily. Grateful and all that. Nice girl.
In the given examples the actual division in the BP has nothing in common with the characterising function of the whole construction. In the first fragment the structure of the actual division and the characterising function are as follows: "all that" is the theme; "I found" - the rheme; the CCP isolates the CHRing, that relates to the CHRed "I". At the same time the CHRing allows for the whole concept of the BP and the preceding text as the "near-genius" characteristics could be given to the CHRed only by taking into account these factors.
The similar situation is observed in the other two examples, i.e. the BP or the preceding text presents a situation with its own actual division, its own communicative intention and the CHRed, while the CP separates the CHRing which the interlocutor perceives in a proper way only within the preceding text. Thus, besides the stylistic function of characterisation, the CCP realises the integration of the text by means of the anaphoric sub-function.
The characterisation presented by the CCP can integrate the text acting the opposite direction - cataphoric sub-function. The characterising CCP may prepare the interlocutor for perceiving the following text. The person or phenomenon characterised in this or that way suggests a definite way of actions. In the following example the characterisation of the personage behaviour suggests her following exclusion from the list of potential murderers.
You saw how completely broken she was at the news of her husband's death. Just plain, old-fashioned grief.
The characterisation which is not quite clear requires explanations and also serves the progress of the text this way, i.e. fulfils cataphoric function.
On the way we had to pass through half a dozen doors, some opened by photoelectric cells, others by handles fifteen inches long. Elbow handles. Considering the nature of the burdens that some of the Mordon scientists carried from time to time, it was advisable to have both hands free all the time.
Some of the reporters were less then sympathetic to Polanski's complaints about publicity, having just learned that he had permitted "Life" to take exclusive photos of the murder scene.
Not quite 'exclusive'. Before the magazine reached the stands, several of the Polaroid prints appeared in the Hollywood "Citizen News".
The characterising function proper, if we put aside its sub-function of text integration and orientation, lies in creating imageries, atmosphere, that serves the explanation of some events, helps to get nearer to what is described, to feel the way the personages and the author do, in one word - to influence emotions, to produce expressive effect. This effect can have different intensity. Characterisation can simply bring about the necessity for explanation (as it was in the last two examples), it can appear as a logical conclusion of a series of a personage's deeds or a sequence of events, or, vice versa, introduce similar series. At the same time, stylistic function of characterisation as the representation of the text subjective modality often expresses very strong feelings the scale of which varies.
The structure of the CCP, the syntactical connections within the construction and with the preceding and the following text, the orientation of these connections and the nature of the CHRed and CHRing are the components of the intensity, imagery and expressiveness of the stylistic function of characterisation. Below we present the schemes that reflect the interaction of the named components and the intensity of the function. The CHRed is usually expressed by a noun or a nominal group, rarer - by a textual description of situation, the CHRing - by an adjective, noun, numeral, actional verb, etc.
1. ... to explain it in any way all I can say is that during our stay in the West Indies, we both, Mr. Rafiel and myself, had a certain connection with a crime that took place there. A rather unlikely and perplexing murder.
This type of the CCP structure presents the most ordinary and widely used characterisation when part of the phrase needs, from the point of view of the speaker, to be given a qualification - what the speaker thinks of it.
2. I drove out to Hailem Woods with Mary sitting strangely silent by my side. Over dinner I've told her the whole story - the whole story. I'd never seen her scared before, but she was that now. Badly. Two frightened people in a car.
This type gives, on one hand, more objective characterisation as the background for the CHRed includes not only the reproduced here text fragment, but the events of the preceding text as well, and this way the characterisation receives ground reasoning. On the other hand, just that ground reasoning makes the characterisation more striking, more intense.
3. "It was very kind of him," said Miss Marple. "Very kind indeed."
The repetition of the CHRing both in the BP (or text fragment) and the CP intensifies the expressiveness of the idea presented, as it is a specific feature of any repetition. Thus, this type of characterising CCP, together with qualification of some facts, events, personages from the author's point of view, introduces these phenomena in an emotional way that is adequate to the tasks of text modality.
4. "It pulls you down," he said. "Press life. Always hurry and scurry, looking for copy and sometimes not finding it: and then, always to have something new in you stuff...
Such position of the CHRed and CHRing realises the two-way orientation of the CCP: the construction is directed to the CHRing that is beyond its structure, but the CHRing itself is directed, and even more intense, back to its CHRed. In the given type we can hardly speak about any strong feelings or emotions, expressed by stylistic function of characterisation - the CHRed is stressed, not CHRing.
5. ...You're not a romantic philosopher - you're a scientist. Memory, force, character - especially good sense. That's going to be your trouble - ...
The order CHRing CHRed creates a specific atmosphere of anticipation, it suggests the interlocutor's guess-work as to the possible CHRed. This atmosphere causes expressiveness and can be a source of imagery, so characterising function works with its full intensity.
The stylistic function of characterisation can cause expressiveness and imagery in the text not only by means of the CCP structure and types of
syntactical connections between the text, the BP and the CP, but to a great extent, by the stylistic peculiarities of the CHRing. The CHRing formed as a CP goes together with different stylistic devices and adds emotions to the characterisation this way. Firstly, the CHRing can be presented in the CP as simile. This is natural, as the main quality of both characterisation and simile is to put forward the most important feature of the CHRed: in the CCP it is done by segmentation, in simile - by comparison.
... there must be cases where the evidence is nothing but a lot of things that have nothing to do with each other put together until they look like something. Like a patchwork bedcover.
Now he would like to retire like a matador de toros. Like a bull fighter.
The complicated criminal case is characterised by comparing its contradictory facts with unordinary mixed patchwork, simultaneously this characterisation is isolated into a separate segment that draws the interlocutor's attention to it. The combination of more than one stylistic device for the expression of one fact of reality, positively, adds to it imagery, fills it with emotions, thus the author's communicative intention is completely revealed.
The important device for the expression of characterisation is intonation. It is reflected in the syntactical structure of the CCP itself (the pause between the BP and the CP, the separation of the CHRing), but special intonation that intensifies the characterisation is often laid out on the CCP standard intonation. In the most cases it is represented by interrogative intonation of the CP.
"It was interesting," said Miss Marple. "Very interesting. The red and black check pullover. Rather important, I think, don't you? Rather striking?"
The interrogative intonation of the CP purposes to lay more importance to the CHRing, to draw interlocutor's attention to it, to make him think this characteristic over as it implies much more than it expresses.
The combination of the possibilities of the syntactical structure of the CCP with different stylistic devices always implies some additional information, in most cases this information is also characterising. The implied characterisation presents the larger volume of data than a brief CP embraces. The best ways to display the implied characterisation are metaphor, irony and similar means.
"Well," said that worthy, "it leaves me with a strong desire to meet Mr. Lamont."
"Why?" asked Grant.
"Because I'd like to see in person the man who tried sob-stuff on Inspector Grant and got away with it. The unimpressionable Grant!"
... knowing from Hartnell's dossier that Hartnell was bound to come under the microscope, he confused things still further by dumping the hammer and pliers used in the break out in Hartnell's place, smearing some red loam on his scooter for good measure. If not Gregori, one of his assistants. Red herring number one.
Up to now we spoke about one side of text modality, but the concept of modality is much deeper than a separate function of characterisation. Even the syntactical structure of the CCP can comprise several functions that realise the speaker's attitude towards facts, events, people in a language form. Besides the characterisation of the objects of reality, the structures with segmentation realise the function of evaluation.
Evaluation, being very close to characterisation as it is also concentrates on the qualities of things and phenomena and describes it from the speaker's point of view, differs from the first function. First of all, evaluation expresses the attitude of the speaker directly, while characterisation only describes the features chosen by the author and suggests the interlocutor to work out his own estimations. Due to this fact, the forms of the CHRing and evaluation means (EM) are also different. The CHRing has a tendency to imagery, comparison, implication, the EM just names the attitude, though some kinds of emotions and implied information can be involved too. And one more fact of difference between the two functions is as follows: the characterisation, even separated into unrelated segment, is inseparable semantically from its object (just this quality serves the text integration), as for the evaluation - it is absolutely independent and is not related to its object in the text.
The feature in common for both characterisation and evaluation, alongside that they are both the expressions of subjective modality, is their inclination for separation. But for CHRing it is means of expressiveness, method for drawing attention to itself, and for the EM it is the only way of existence, as the EM is a signal of the author's intruding into the text. The matter is, that the EM presents in text the fragment of another level, of different type (the mixture of objective narration and subjective wedging in). This mixture is fully reflected by the assistance of special modal particles and modal syntactical structures. In our case, the CCP appears as such modal construction. Modal particles, interjections and other instrumentality are widely used in emotive evaluation.
Speaking about emotive evaluation it should be mentioned that the two types of evaluation are distinguished according to the EM relation with the information basis of the message . The EM can be organised either as an intellectual 'treatment' of the message or as an emotional one. In the second case emotional elements and variations of traditional structure are quite possible.
The language formula of evaluation corresponds to that of characterisation, i.e. it consists of the object, which is evaluated = CHRed and the EM = CHRing. However, the subjective side in evaluation is stronger than in characterisation, that is why the presence of the person who evaluates is more evident, though only the object and the EM are present in the text.
Isolation is an inner quality of evaluation, it is proved by the fact that the evaluative features appear in the conditions of isolation, due to this the same language means can function as the EM and the object of evaluation. Functional conversion of words and word-groups into the EM consists in fundamental change of their information potential and enrichment of communicative possibilities.
The CCP with evaluative CP of intellectual type (the treatment of information has logical, efficient basis) is used, firstly, as a modal arrangement, it specifies the reliability of the message, objectifies the message by indicating its source, fulfils the function of summing up, etc.
Heyward wondered if Jerome Patterton had remembered the additional loan, totalling two million dollars, committed by FMA to Q-Investments, the private speculators' group headed by Big George. Probably not.
It'll be a sensation, the international sporting scandal of the last decade. It'll kill Johnny. Professionally, I mean.
First, we'll assume you are right about Alan Carstairs. He certainly fulfils the conditions. He's the right sort of man, he led a wandering life, he had very few friends and acquaintances in England, and if he disappeared he wasn't likely to be missed or sought after. So far, so good.
The evaluative CCP with the CP of emotional (irrational) type has as its source different emotional impulses and reactions. They inform about emotional attitude of the speaker towards the message expressing the shades of satisfaction, approval/disapproval, conviction, surprise, anxiety and also different degree of sincerity. This type of evaluation can include interjections in the structure of the CP, as their semantics accommodates to the expression of the diversity of emotions, the CP can also consist of an interjection only or a similar phrase and thus possesses no logical meaning at all.
"I thought they - they liked us down here." - "So they do," I said. "This is just some half-crazy brain on the borderline." - "I suppose so. Ugh - Nasty!" [about anonymous letter]
Various ideas flashed chaotically through his mind, confused reflections - the photograph - that girl's face with the wide-apart eyes and the misty hair - and ten or fifteen years later Mrs. Cayman with her heavy make-up, her plucked eyebrows, those wide-apart eyes sunk in between folds of flesh till they looked like pig's eyes, and her violent henna-tinted hair. All traces of youth and innocence had vanished. The pity of things!
Among the evaluative CCP there is a group which modifies the structure of evaluative situation. These constructions do not express emotional reaction of the speaker to this or that situation, but emotional-volitional impulse directed to the interlocutor with a definite purpose.
So you've already searched his room when he was out on the track. And now that his back is turned again you're going to search it again. Despicable. Utterly despicable. You're nothing better than a couple of - a couple of sneak-thieves.
In such constructions the evaluation refers to the situation as a whole, there is no definite object of evaluation in the text fragment. The part of the object here is performed by the interlocutor; his psychology, intellect, will, emotions undergo the influence of the EM. The usage of these constructions is determined by the speaker's wish to influence the interlocutor's mind in a definite way.
Modality is the essential property of text and irrespective of the fact whether it is considered a category or not, it is always present in any type of text. From the stylistic point of view the most interesting aspect of text modality is the manifestation of subjective modality because it demonstrates the highest degree of individuality, imagery and expressiveness.
Subjective modality is realised in different stylistic functions and with various language means. Nowadays, the attention of lexicologists is fixed on the diverse resources of syntax and its stylistic potential as well. Stylistic capabilities of syntactical constructions are enormous and among them there is a capacity for the expression of the text modality.
Syntactical constructions by means of segmentation, first of all, serve the fulfilment of stylistic functions of characterisation and evaluation, which are language realisations of subjective modality. Simultaneously with the functions of characterisation and evaluation, the syntactical constructions with segmentation fulfil other stylistic functions, usually they are expressive, emotive and volitional.
Characterising and evaluative functions find their natural syntactical figuration within the CCP structure, where the CHRing and the EM are separated into an isolated fragment and thus, draw attention of the interlocutor to the most important, from the communicative point of view, part of the text. Besides, the isolation of the EM and especially the CHRing into a separate segment (CP) causes the increment of meaning. The implied characteristic always embraces larger volume of information than the expressed one and for its appropriate perception demands the knowledge of the whole text and the adequate thesaurus from the interlocutor.
The interaction between the characterising (evaluative) CP and the text is not limited to the influence of the text on the concept of the construction. This influence is mutual, i.e. the CCP has one more function - the sub-function of text integration, that acts in two directions performing the anaphoric and cataphoric sub-functions.
Characterising and evaluative functions having much in common differ on the degree of objectivism. Though both functions are the demonstration of subjective modality, the degree of objectivism in them is different, as evaluative function presents the direct attitude of the speaker, and in characterisation, the speaker names only the features of the event, phenomenon allowing the interlocutor to make conclusions.
Thus, syntactical structure of the CCP is an important though not the only way to express the text modality. The structure of the CCP provides all the necessary conditions for putting into effect the functions of characterisation and evaluation.
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