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C h a p t e r xxxi sentence in the text

 

1. We have repeatedly shown throughout the present work that sentences in continual speech are not used in isolation; they are interconnected both semantically-topically and syntactically.

Inter-sentential connections have come under linguistic investigation but recently. The highest lingual unit which was approached by traditional grammar as liable to syntactic study was the sentence; scholars even specially stressed that to surpass the boundaries of the sentence was equal to surpassing the boundaries of grammar.

In particular, such an outstanding linguist as L. Bloomfield, while recognizing the general semantic connections between sentences in the composition of texts as linguistically relevant, at the same time pointed out that the sentence is the largest grammatically arranged linguistic form, i.e. it is not included into any other linguistic form by a grammatical arrangement.*

* See: Bloomfield L. Language. NY 1933, p. 170.

 

However, further studies in this field have demonstrated the inadequacy ofthe cited thesis. It has been shown that sentences in speech do come under broad grammatical arrangements, do combine with one another on strictly syntactic lines in the formation of larger stretches of both oral talk and written text.

It should be quite clear that, supporting the principle of syntactic approach to arrangement of sentences into a continual text, we do not assert that any sequence of independent sentences forms a syntactic unity. Generally speaking, sentences in a stretch of uninterrupted talk may or may not build up a coherent sequence, wholly depending on the purpose of the speaker. E.g.:

BARBARA. Dolly: don't be insincere. Cholly: fetch your concertina and play something for us (B. Shaw).

The cited sequence of two sentences does not form a unity in either syntactic or semantic sense, the sentences being addressed to different persons on different reasons. A disconnected sequence may also have one and the same communication addressee, as in the following case:

DUCHESS OF BERWIC... I like him so much. I am quite delighted he's gone! How sweet you're looking! Where do you get your gowns? And now I must tell you how sorry I am for you, dear Margaret (O. Wilde).

But disconnected sequences like these are rather an exception than the rule. Moreover, they do not contradict in the least the idea of a continual topical text as being formed by grammatically interconnected sentences. Indeed, successive sentences in a disconnected sequence mark the corresponding transitions of thought, so each of them can potentially be expanded into a connected sequence bearing on one unifying topic. Characteristically, an utterance of a personage in a work of fiction marking a transition of thought (and breaking the syntactic connection of sentences in the sequence) is usually introduced by a special author's comment. E.g.:

"You know, L.S., you're rather a good sport." Then his tone gew threatening again. "It's a big risk I'm taking. It's the biggest risk I've ever had to take" (C.P. Snow).

As we see, the general idea of a sequence of sentences forming a text includes two different notions. On the one hand, it presupposes a succession of spoken or written utterances irrespective of their forming or not forming a coherent semantic complex. On the other hand, it implies a strictly topical stretch of talk, i.e. a continual succession of sentences centering on a common informative purpose. It is this latter understanding of the text that is syntactically relevant. It is in this latter sense that the text can be interpreted as a lingual entity with its two distinguishing features: first, semantic (topical) unity, second, semantico-syntactic cohesion.

2. The primary division of sentence sequences in speech should be based on the communicative direction of their component sentences. From this point of view monologue sequences and dialogue sequences are to be discriminated.

In a monologue, sentences connected in a continual sequence are directed from one speaker to his one or several listeners. Thus, the sequence of this type can be characterized as a one-direction sequence. E.g.:

We'll have a lovely garden. We'll have roses in it and daffodils and a lovely lawn with a swing for little Billy and little Barbara to play on. And we'll have our meals down by the lily pond in summer (K. Waterhouse and H. Hall).

The first scholars who identified a succession of such sentences as a special syntactic unit were the Russian linguists N.S. Pospelov and LA. Bulakhovsky. The former called the unit in question a "complex syntactic unity", the latter, a "super-phrasal unity". From consistency considerations, the corresponding English term used in this book is the "supra-sentential construction" (see Ch. I).

As different from this, sentences in a dialogue sequence are uttered by the speakers-interlocutors in turn, so that they are directed, as it were, to meet one another; the sequence of this type, then, should be characterized as a two-direction sequence. E.g.:

"Annette, what have you done? "-"I've done what I had to do" (S. Maugham).

It must be noted that two-direction sequences can in principle be used within the framework of a monologue text, by way of an "inner dialogue" (i.e. a dialogue of the speaker with himself). E.g.:

What were they jabbering about now in Parliament? Some twopenny-ha'penny taxi! (J. Galsworthy).

On the other hand, one-direction sequences can be used in a dialogue, when a response utterance forms not a rejoinder, but a continuation of the stimulating utterance addressed to the same third party, or to both speakers themselves as a collective self-addressee, or having an indefinite addressee. E.g.:

ST. ERTH. All the money goes to fellows who don't know a horse from a haystack. - CANYNGE (profoundly). And care less. Yes! We want men racing to whom a horse means something (J. Galsworthy). ELYOT. I'm glad we didn't go out tonight. AMANDA. Or last night. ELYOT. Or the night before. AMANDA. There's no reason to, really, when we're cosy here (N. Coward).

Thus, the direction of communication should be looked upon as a deeper characteristic of the sentence-sequence than its outer, purely formal presentation as either a monologue (one man's speech) or a dialogue (a conversation between two parties). In order to underline these deep distinguishing features of the two types of sequences, we propose to name them by the types of sentence connection used. The formation of a one-direction sequence is based on syntactic cumulation of sentences, as different from syntactic composition of sentences making them into one composite sentence. Hence, the supra-sentential construction of one-direction communicative type can be called a cumulative sequence, or a "cumuleme". The formation of a two-direction sequence is based on its sentences being positioned to meet one another. Hence, we propose to call this type of sentence connection by the term "occursive", and the supra-sentential construction based on occursive connection, by the term "occurseme".

Furthermore, it is not difficult to see that from the hierarchical point of view the occurseme as an element of the system occupies a place above the cumuleme. Indeed, if the cumuleme is constructed by two or more sentences joined by cumulation, the occurseme can be constructed by two or more cumulemes, since the utterances of the interlocutors can be formed not only by separate sentences, but by cumulative sequences as well. E.g.:

"Damn you, stop talking about my wife. If you mention her name again I swear I'll knock you down." - "Oh no, you won't. You're too great a gentleman to hit a feller smaller than yourself" (S. Maugham).

As we see, in formal terms of the segmental lingual hierarchy, the supra-proposemic level (identified in the first chapter of the book) can be divided into two sublevels: the lower one at which cumulemic connection of sentences are identified, and the higher one at which occursemic connection of sentences are identified. On the other hand, a fundamental difference between the two units in question should be carefully noted lying beyond the hierarchy relation, since the occurseme, as different from the cumuleme, forms part of a conversation, i.e. is essentially produced not by one, but by two or several speakers, or, linguistically, not by one, but by two or several individual sub-lingual systems working in communicative contact.

As for the functional characteristic of the two higher segmental units of language, it is representative of the function of the text as a whole. The signemic essence of the text is exposed in its topic. The monologue text, or "discourse", is then a topical entity, the dialogue text, or "conversation", is an exchange-topical entity. The cumuleme and occurseme are component units of these two types of texts, which means that they form, respectively, subtopical and exchange-subtopical units as regards the embedding text as a whole. Within the framework of the system of language, however, since the text as such does not form any "unit" of it, the cumuleme and occurseme can simply be referred to as topical elements (correspondingly, topical and exchange-topical), without the "sub"-specification.

3. Sentences in a cumulative sequence can be connected either "prospectively" or "retrospectively".

Prospective ("epiphoric", "cataphoric") cumulation is effected by connective elements that relate a given sentence to one that is to follow it. In other words, a prospective connector signals a continuation of speech: the sentence containing it is semantically incomplete. Very often prospective connectors are notional words that perform the cumulative function for the nonce. E.g.:

I tell you, one of two things must happen. Either out of that darkness some new creation will come to supplant us as we have supplanted the animals, or the heavens will fall in thunder and destroy us (B. Shaw).

The prospective connection is especially characteristic of the texts of scientific and technical works. E.g.:

Let me add a word of caution here. The solvent vapour drain enclosure must be correctly engineered and constructed to avoid the possibility of a serious explosion (From a technical journal).

As different from prospective cumulation, retrospective (or "anaphoric") cumulation is effected by connective elements that relate a given sentence to the one that precedes it and is semantically complete by itself. Retrospective cumulation is the more important type of sentence connection of the two; it is the basic type of cumulation in ordinary speech. E.g.:

What curious "class" sensation was this? Or was it merely fellow-feeling with the hunted, a tremor at the way things found one out? (J. Galsworthy).

4. On the basis of the functional nature of connectors, cumulation is divided into two fundamental types: conjunctive cumulation and correlative cumulation.

Conjunctive cumulation is effected by conjunction-like connectors. To these belong, first, regular conjunctions, both coordinative and subordinative; second, adverbial and parenthetical sentence-connectors (then, yet, however, consequently, hence, besides, moreover, nevertheless, etc.). Adverbial and parenthetical sentence-connectors may be both specialized, i.e. functional and semi-functional words, and non-specialized units performing the connective functions for the nonce. E.g.:

There was an indescribable agony in his voice. And as if his own words of pain overcame the last barrier of his self-control, he broke down (S. Maugham). There was no train till nearly eleven, and she had to bear her impatience as best she could. At last it was time to start, and she put on her gloves (S. Maugham).

Correlative cumulation is effected by a pair of elements one of which, the "succeedent", refers to the other, the "antecedent", used in the foregoing sentence; by means of this reference the succeeding sentence is related to the preceding one, or else the preceding sentence is related to the succeeding one. As we see, by its direction correlative cumulation may be either retrospective or prospective, as different from conjunctive cumulation which is only retrospective.

Correlative cumulation, in its turn, is divided into substitutional connection and representative connection. Substitutional cumulation is based on the use of substitutes. E.g.:

Spolding woke me with the apparently noiseless efficiency of the trained housemaid. She drew the curtains, placed a can of hot water in my basin, covered it with the towel, and retired (E.J. Howard).

A substitute may have as its antecedent the whole of the preceding sentence or a clausal part of it. Furthermore, substitutes often go together with conjunctions, effecting cumulation of mixed type. E.g.:

And as I leaned over the rail methought that all the little stars in the water were shaking with austere merriment. But it may have been only the ripple of the steamer, after all (R. Kipling).

Representative correlation is based on representative elements which refer to one another without the factor of replacement. E.g.:

She should be here soon. I must tell Phipps, I am not in to any one else (O. Wilde). I went home. Maria accepted my departure indifferently (E.J. Howard).

Representative correlation is achieved also by repetition, which may be complicated by different variations. E.g.:

Well, the night was beautiful, and the great thing not to be a pig. Beauty and not being a pig! Nothing much else to it (J. Galsworthy).

5. A cumuleme (cumulative supra-sentential construction) is formed by two or more independent sentences making up a topical syntactic unity. The first of the sentences in a cumuleme is its "leading" sentence, the succeeding sentences are "sequential".

The cumuleme is delimited in the text by a finalizing intonation contour (cumuleme-contour) with a prolonged pause (cumuleme-pause); the relative duration of this pause equals two and a half moras ("mora"-the conventional duration of a short syllable), as different from the sentence-pause equalling only two moras.

The cumuleme, like a sentence, is a universal unit of language in so far as it is used in all the functional varieties of speech. For instance, the following cumuleme is part of the author's speech of a work of fiction:

The boy winced at this. It made him feel hot and uncomfortable all over. He knew well how careful he ought to be, and yet, do what he could, from time to time his forgetfulness of the part betrayed him into unreserve (S. Butler).

Compare a cumuleme in a typical newspaper article:

We have come a long way since then, of course. Unemployment insurance is an accepted fact. Only the most die-hard reactionaries, of the Goldwater type, dare to come out against it (from Canadian Press).

Here is a sample cumuleme of scientific-technical report prose:

To some engineers who apply to themselves the word "practical" as denoting the possession of a major virtue, applied research is classed with pure research as something highbrow they can do without. To some business men, applied research is something to have somewhere in the organisation to demonstrate modernity and enlightenment. And people engaged in applied research are usually so satisfied in the belief that what they are doing is of interest and value that they are not particularly concerned about the niceties of definition (from a technical journal).

Poetical text is formed by cumulemes, too:

She is not fair to outward view, | As many maidens be; | Her loveliness I never knew | Until she smiled on me. | Oh, then I saw her eye was bright, | A well of love, a spring of light (H. Coleridge).

But the most important factor showing the inalienable and universal status of the cumuleme in language is the indispensable use of cumulemes in colloquial speech (which is reflected in plays, as well as in conversational passages in works of various types of fiction).

The basic semantic types of cumulemes are "factual" (narrative and descriptive), "modal" (reasoning, perceptive, etc.), and mixed. Here is an example of a narrative cumuleme:

Three years later, when Jane was an Army driver, she was sent one night to pick up a party of officers who had been testing defences on the cliff. She found the place where the road ran between a cleft almost to the beach, switched off her engine and waited, hunched in her great-coat, half asleep, in the cold black silence. She waited for an hour and woke in a fright to a furious voice coming out of the night (M. Dickens).

Compare this with modal cumulemes of various topical standings:

She has not gone? I thought she gave a second performance at two? (S. Maugham) (A reasoning cumuleme of perceptional variety)

Are you kidding? Don't underrate your influence, Mr. O'Keefe. Dodo's in. Besides, I've lined up Sandra Straughan to work with her (A. Hailey). (A remonstrative cumuleme)

Don't worry. There will be a certain amount of unpleasantness but I will have some photographs taken that will be very useful at the inquest. There's the testimony of the gunbearers and the driver too. You're perfectly all right (E. Hemingway). (A reasoning cumuleme expressing reassurance) Etc.

6. As we have stated above (see: Ch. I, 5) cumuleme (super-sentential construction) correlates with a separate sentence which is placed in the text in a topically significant position. In printed text this correlation leads to the formation of one-sentence paragraph that has the same topical function as a multi-sentence paragraph from the point of view of the communicative content of the text. E.g.:

The fascists may spread over the land, blasting their way with weight of metal brought from other countries. They may advance aided by traitors and by cowards. They may destroy cities and villages and try to hold the people in slavery. But you cannot hold any people in slavery.

The Spanish people will rise again as they have always risen before against tyranny (E. Hemingway).

In the cited passage the sentence-paragraph marks a transition from the general to the particular, and by its very isolation in the text expressively stresses the author's belief in the invincible will of the Spanish people who are certain to smash their fascist oppressors in the long run.

Thus, from the point of view of style, the regular function of the one-sentence paragraph is expressive emphasis.

And it is direct correlation between one-sentence paragraphs and multi-sentence paragraphs that enables us to identify the general elementary unit-segment of text as being built either by a cumuleme or by a single sentence. The communicative function of this unit is topical. We call this unit the "dicteme" (see p. 17).

It must be noted that though the dicteme in written (printed) text is normally represented by a paragraph, these two units are not identical.

In the first place, the paragraph is a stretch of written (printed) literary text delimited by a new (indented) line at the beginning and an incomplete line at the close. As different from this, the dicteme, as we have just seen, is essentially a feature of all the varieties of speech, both oral and written, both literary and colloquial.

In the second place, the paragraph is a polyfunctional unit of written speech and as such is used not only for the written representation of a dicteme, but also for the introduction of utterances of a dialogue (dividing an occurseme into parts), as well as for the introduction of separate points in various enumerations.

In the third place, the paragraph in a monologue speech can contain more than one dicteme. For instance, the following paragraph is divided into three parts, the first formed by a separate sentence (i.e. by a sentence-dicteme), the second and third ones presenting cumulemes. For the sake of clarity, we mark the borders between the parts by double strokes:

When he had left the house Victorina stood quite still, with hands pressed against her chest. // She had slept less than he. Still as a mouse, she had turned the thought: "Did I take him in? Did I?" And if not-what? // She took out the notes which had bought - or sold - their happiness, and counted them once more. And the sense of injustice burned within her (J. Galsworthy).

The shown division is sustained by the succession of the forms of the verbs, namely, the past indefinite and past perfect, precisely marking out the events described.

On the other hand, the dicteme cannot commonly be prolonged beyond the limits of the paragraph, since the paragraphal border-marks are the same as those of the dicteme, i.e. a characteristic finalizing tone, a pause of two and a half moras. Besides, we must bear in mind that both multidicteme paragraphs and one-sentence paragraphs are stylistically marked features of the monologue text. Thus, we return to our initial thesis that the paragraph, although it is a literary-compositional, not a purely syntactic unit of text, still as a rule represents a dicteme; the two units, if not identical, are closely correlative.

7. The introduction of the notions of dicteme and cumuleme in linguistics helps specify and explain the two peculiar and rather important border-line phenomena between the sentence and the sentential sequence.

The first of these is known under the heading of "parcellation". The parcellated construction ("parcellatum") presents two or more collocations ("parcellas") separated by a sentence tone but related to one another as parts of one and the same sentence. In writing the parts, i.e, respectively, the "leading parcella" and "sequential parcella", are delimited by a full stop (finality mark). E.g.:

There was a sort of community pride attached to it now. Or shame at its unavoidability (E. Stephens). Why be so insistent, Jim? If he doesn't want to tell you (J. O'Hara). ...I realized I didn't feel one way or another about him. Then. I do now (J. O'Hara).

Having recourse to the idea of transposition, we see that the parcellated construction is produced as a result of transposing a sentence into a cumuleme. This kind of transposition adds topical significance to the sequential parcella. The emphasizing function of parcellation is well exposed by the transformation of de-transposition. This transformation clearly deprives the sequential parcella of its position of topical significance, changing it into an ordinary sentence-part. Cf:.

.→ There was a sort of community pride attached to it now or shame at its unavoidability. ... → Why be so insistent, Jim, if he doesn't want to tell you! ... → I didn't feel one way or another about him then.

With some authors parcellation as the transposition of a sentence into a cumuleme can take the form of forced paragraph division, i.e. the change of a sentence into a supra-cumuleme. E.g:.

...It was she who seemed adolescent and overly concerned, while he sat there smiling fondly at her, quite self-possessed, even self-assured, and adult.

And naked. His nakedness became more intrusive by the second, until she half arose and said with urgency, "You have to go and right now, young man" (E. Stephens).

The second of the border-line phenomena in question is the opposite of parcellation, it consists in forcing two different sentences into one, i.e. in transposing a cumuleme into a sentence. The cumuleme-sentence construction is characteristic of uncareful and familiar speech; in a literary text it is used for the sake of giving a vivid verbal characteristic to a personage. E.g.:

I'm not going to disturb her and thats flat, miss (A. Christie). The air-hostess came down the aisle then to warn passengers they were about to land and please would everyone fasten their safety belts (B. Hedworth).

The transposition of a cumuleme into a sentence occurs also in literary passages dealing with reasoning and mental perceptions. E.g.:

If there were moments when Soames felt cordial, they were such as these. He had nothing against the young man; indeed, he rather liked the look of him; but to see the last of almost anybody was in a sense a relief; besides, there was this question of what he had overheard, and to have him about the place without knowing would be a continual temptation to compromise with one's dignity and ask him what it was (J. Galsworthy).

As is seen from the example, one of the means of transposing a cumuleme into a sentence in literary speech is the use of half-fihality punctuation marks (here, a semicolon).

8. Neither dictemes-cumulcmcs, nor paragraphs form the upper limit of textual units of speech. Paragraphs are connected within the framework of larger elements of texts making up different paragraph groupings. Thus, above the process of cumulation as syntactic connection of separate sentences, supra-cumulation should be discriminated as connection of dictemes-cumulemes and paragraphs into larger textual unities of the correspondingly higher subtopical statuc Cf.:

... That first slip with my surname was just like him; and afterwards, particularly when he was annoyed, apprehensive, or guilty because of me, he frequently called me Ellis.

So, in the smell of Getliffe's tobacco, I listened to him as he produced case after case, sometimes incomprehensibly, because of his allusive slang, often inaccurately. He loved the law (C.P. Snow).

In the given example, the sentence beginning the second paragraph is cumulated (i.e. supra-cumulated) to the previous paragraph, thus making the two of them into a paragraph grouping.

Moreover, even larger stretches of text than primary paragraph groupings can be supra-cumulated to one another in the syntactic sense, such as chapters and other compositional divisions. For instance, compare the end of Chapter XXIII and the beginning of Chapter XXIV of J. Galsworthy's "Over the River":

Chapter XXIII. ... She went back to Condaford with her father by the morning train, repeating to her Aunt the formula: "I'm not going to be ill."

Chapter XXIV. But she was ill, and for a month in her conventional room at Condaford often wished she were dead and done with. She might, indeed, quite easily have died...

Can, however, these phenomena signify that the sentence is simply a sub-unit in language system, and that "real" syntactic elements of this system are not sentences, but various types of dictemes or supra-dictemes? - In no wise.

Supra-sentential connections cannot be demonstrative of the would-be "secondary", "sub-level" role of the sentence as an element of syntax by the mere fact that all the cumulative and occursive relations in speech, as we have seen from the above analysis, are effected by no other unit than the sentence, and by no other structure than the inner structure of the sentence; the sentence remains the central structural-syntactic element in all the formations of topical significance. Thus, even in the course of a detailed study of various types of supra-sentential constructions, the linguist comes to the confirmation of the classical truth that the two basic units of language are the word and the sentence: the word as a unit of nomination, the sentence as a unit of predication. And it is through combining different sentence-predications that topical reflections of reality are achieved in all the numerous forms of lingual communication.

 


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