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D) Lexical and Syntactical Features of Verse

C) Free Verse and Accented Verse

B) The Stanza

The stanza is the largest unit in verse. It is composed of a number of lines having a definite measure and rhyming system which is repeated throughout the poem.

The stanza is generally built up on definite principles with regard to the number of lines the character of the metre and the rhyming pattern

1) The heroic couplet—a stanza that consists of two iambic pentameters with the rhyming pattern aa.

The one most popular verse is what is called "vers libre" which is the French term for free verse. Free verse is recognized by lack of strictness in its rhythmical design.

The term 'free verse' refers only to those varieties of verse which are characterized by: 1) a combination of various metrical feet in the line; 2) absence of equilinearity and 3) stanzas of varying length. Rhyme is retained.

Accented verse is a type of verse in which only the number of stresses in the line is taken into consideration. The number of syllables is not a constituent; it is irrelevant and disregarded. Accented verse is not syllabo-tonic but only tonic.

.Among the lexical peculiarities of verse the first is i m a g e r y.

Imageryis ause of language media which will createa sensory perception of an abstract notion by arousing certain associations (sometimes very remote) between the general and the particular, the abstract and the concrete, the conventional and the factual.

Images from a linguistic point of view are mostly built on metaphor, metonymy and simile. These are direct semantic ways of coining images. Images may be divided into three categories: two concrete (visual, aural), and one abstract (relational).

Visual images are the easiest of perception, inasmuch as they are readily caught by what is called the mental eye. Visual images are shaped through concrete pictures of objects, the impression of which is present in our mind.

A relational image is one that shows the relation between objects through another kind of relation, and the two kinds of relation will secure a more exact realization of the inner connections between things or phenomena.

The one of the ways of building up images is called an iсоп. The icon is a direct representation, not necessarily a picture, of a thing or an event.

"Icons," he writes, "have not generally been included among the enumerations of figures of speech, and in discussions of imagery, have usually been called simply descriptions."

Emotive prose has some features common for the belles-lettres style, but all these features are correlated differently in emotive prose. The imagery is not so rich as it is in poetry; the idiosyncrasy of the auther is not so clearly discernible. It is a combination of the spoken and written varieties of the language, in as much as there are two forms of communication present- monologue (the writer’s speech) and dialogue (the speech of the characters).Emotive prose allows the use of elements from other styles. We find the elements of the newspaper style; the official style; the style of scientific prose. Emotive prose as a separate form of imaginative literature came into being late in the history of the English literary language. Nineteenth century emotive prose can already be regarded as a substyle of the belles-lettres language style complete in its most fundamental properties.

The general tendency in English literature to depict the life of all strata of English society called forth changes in regard to the language used for this purpose. Standard English begins to actively absorb elements of the English vocabulary which were banned in earlier periods from the language of emotive prose, that is, jargonisms, professional words, slang, dialectal words and even vulgarisms. Illiterate speech finds its expression in emotive prose through the distortion of the spelling of words, and the use of cockney and dia­lectal words. A new feature begins to establish it­self as a property of emotive prose alone, namely, what may be called multiplicity of styles. Language means typical of other styles of the literary language are drawn into the system of expressive means and stylistic devices of this particular substyle.

By the end of the nineteenth century and particularly at the begin­ning of the twentieth, certain stylistic devices had been refined and continue to be further developed and perfected. Among these must be mentioned represented speech, both uttered and unuttered (inner), and also various ways of using detached construction, which is particu­larly favoured by present-day men-of-letters. Syntax, too, has under­gone modifications in the emotive prose of the last century and a half.

Present-day emotive prose is to a large extent characterized by the breaking-up of traditional syntactical designs of the preceding

Compare the use of vulgar words (swear-words, obscenities and the like) in Eng­lish and particularly in American emotive prose of the present day. Not only detached construction, but also fragmentation of syntactical models, peculiar, unexpected ways of combining sentences, especially the gap-sentence link and other modern syntactical patterns, are freely introduced into present-day emotive prose. Its advance is so rapid that it is only possible to view it in the gross.

Many interesting investigations have been made of the character­istic features of the language of different writers where what is typical and what is idiosyncratic are subjected to analysis. But so far no deduc­tions have been made as to the general trends of emotive prose of the nineteenth century, to say nothing of the twentieth.


The third subdivision of the belles-lettres style is the langиage of plays. Unlike poetry, which in essence excludes direct speech and dialogue, and unlike emotive prose, which is a combination of monologue (the author's speech) and dialogue (the speech of the characters), the language of plays is entirely dialogue. The author's speech is almost entirely excluded except for the playwright's remarks, and stage directions, significant though they may be. But the language of the characters is in no way the exact reproduction of the norms of colloquial language, although the playwright seeks to reproduce actual conversation as far as the norms of the written language will allow. Any variety of the belles-lettres style will use the norms of the literary language of the given period. In every variety there will be found departures from the estab­lished literary norms.

The language of plays is always stylized, that is, it strives to retain the modus of literary English, unless the playwright has a particular aim which requires the use of non-literary forms and expressions.

The stylization of colloquial language is one of the features of plays. Thus the language of plays is a stylized type of the spoken variety of language. The most characteristic feature is to use term of the theory of information, redundancy of information caused by the necessity to amplify the utterance. This is done for the sake of the audience.


In the 16th century the stylization of colloquial language was scarcely maintained due to several facts: plays were written in haste for the com­panies of actors eagerly waiting for them, and they were written for a wide audience, mostly the common people. The colloquial language of the 16th century, therefore, enjoyed an almost unrestrained freedom and this partly found its expression in the lively dialogue of plays. The general trends in the developing'"literary" language were also reflected in the wide use of biblical and mythological allusions, evocative of Renaissance traditions, as well as in the abundant use of compound epithets, which can also be ascribed to the influence of the great Greek and Latin epics.

In order to check the unlimited use of oaths and curses in plays, an act of Parliament was passed in 1603 which forbade the profane and jesting use of the names of God, Christ, the Holy Ghost and the Trinity in any stage play or performance.

.The revival of drama began only in the second half of the 18th century. But the ultimate shaping of the play as an independent form of literary work with its own laws of functioning, with its own characterstic language features was actually completed only at the end of the 19th century.

The natural conventionality of any literary work is most obvious in plays. People are made to talk to each other in front of an audience, and yet as if there were no audience. Dialogue is ephemeral, spontaneous, fleeting, is made last­ing. It is intended to be reproduced many times by different actors with different interpretations. The_ dialogue loses its colloquial essence and remains simply conversation in form. The. Individualization of each character's speech then becomes of paramount importance because it is the idiosyncrasy of expression which to some extent reveals the inner, psychological and intellectual traits of the characters. The playwright, seeks to approximate a natural form of dialogue. But at the same time he is bound by the aesthetico-cognitive function of the belles-lettres style and has to mould the conversation to suit the general aims of this style.

The analysis of the language texture of plays has shown that the most characteristic feature here is, to use term of the theory of infor­mation, redundancy of information caused by the necessity to am­plify the utterance.

In plays the curtailment of utterances is not so extensive as it is in natural dialogue. Besides, in lively conversation, even when a pro­longed utterance, a monologue, takes place, it is interspersed with the interlocutor's "signals of attention", as they may be called, for example: yes, yeah, oh, That's right, so, I see, good, yes I know, oh-oh, fine, Oh, my goodness, oh dear, well, well-well, Well, 1 never\, and the like.

In plays these "signals of attention" are irrelevant and therefore done away with. The monologue in plays is never interrupted by any such exclamatory words on the part of the person to whom the speech is addressed. Further, in plays the characters' utterances are generally much longer than in ordinary conversation.



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