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Stylistic function of synonymy of grammatical forms

As far as synonymy in English is not very well developed (due to the loss of inflection), all rare cases of variants of grammatical morphemes stand­ing in opposition to each other are of high stylistic prominence.

1. Synonymy of morphemes helps to express the grammatical meaning of plurality. The idea of plurality in English is rendered by different suf­fixes: -s ([s] after voiceless consonants (books'); [z] after voiced consonants (boys); [iz] after sibilants (boxes, classes)), -en (oxen, children, brethren), -a (datum — data); -es (index — indices); -i (stimulus — stimuli); -ae (for­mula —formulae).

2. Synonymous morphological structures may be employed in order to avoid repeating the same morphemes or the same parts of speech, and thus achieve the so-called "elegant variation" in an utterance. The phrase "пьесы Шекспира" can be expressed in 4 various ways: Shakespeare s plays (the possessive case), plays of Shakespeare (of-phrase), Shakespear­ean plays (adjectival form), Shakespeare plays (noun in the function of an attribute).

3. Synonymy of different grammatical forms may serve to draw the distinctions between literary and subliterary norm,to differentiate be­tween formal and informal structures. The following oppositions may be observed:

• the word-combination real good (highly colloquial):: really good (neu­tral);

• the sentence John here? (informal):: Is John here? (grammatically correct);

• the question Where are you at? (spoken American) :: Where are you?;

• interrogative pronoun: Whom are you talking to? (formal, higher than neutral):: Who are you talking to? (neutral, colloquial);

• subjunctive II (to be): If I were... (formal):: If I was... (informal);

• the use of phrasal verbs (colloquial):: normal verbs (neutral);

• the use of ungrammatical forms :: grammatically correct forms, e.g.: ain't(am/is/are/have/has not); you is (you is right); we/you/they was (instead of were); I should have went (instead of "I should have gone"); There's his shoes (instead of "There are his shoes"); he don't (he doesn't); says I (I say); I/we /you / they comes (come), he corned / seed (he came / saw); innit instead of any negative tag (You've seen them, innit? You went there, innit?); dunno (don't know).

Thus, violation of grammar represented by means of graphon serves as a sign of a person's low social or educational status, reveals the features typical of familiar colloquial or dialectal speech.

4. Synonymy may indicate to a particular functional style, e.g.: breth­ren (morphological archaism used in clerical literature or in high-flown poetry):: brothers (neutral); he hath, thou hast / doest (obsolete) :: he has, you have / do (neutral); beauteous, plenteous (poetic, formal) :: beautiful, plentiful (neutral).

5. Interchangeability of prepositions, forms of Participle II and Subjunc­tive I may reveal peculiarities of national variants of the English lan­guage: cf. British (at the corner, out of the window, to get-got, I suggest that he should go) and American use (on the corner, out the window, to get-got-ten, I suggest that he go).

6. Synonymy of grammatical forms can also be considered in terms of Emolinguistics (the study of the emotional impact of human communi­cation).Every communication has 2 aspects: factual and emotional. Thus, the forms I'll and I will possess identical factual meaning (reference to future), but the emotional meaning is completely different. The sentence I will see you at the cinema" (instead of I'll) addressed to your friend will imply that you are upset with your friend (as the emotional meaning of I will is negative).


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