Problems in reading speeds comprehension

The grammatical units consisting of one or more words that bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it. Pragmatic word usage. Differences in meaning. Idioms and miscommunications. The pragmatic values of evidential sentences.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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The thesis is devoted to the research of the communicative and pragmatic values of sentences which belong to living, productive syntactic means of language and should find the due reflection both in theoretical linguistic description and in practical language teaching.

In this work the main peculiarities of sentences are researched and presented. So the actuality of analyzing types of sentences is important because it helps students to understand the structure of sentence, its communicative and pragmatic values thus constructing students' speech utterance in English grammatically correct.

The subject of the research is communicative and pragmatic value of the English sentence.

The object of the research is English sentence.

The purpose of the research is to reveal communicative and pragmatic types of sentences which belong to living, productive syntactic means of language and should find the due reflection both in theoretical linguistic description and in practical language teaching.

In order to achieve the aim the following objectives were set:

to define the functions and types of sentences;

to analyze structural peculiarities of English sentence;

to reveal communicative and pragmatic values of sentence.

Methods of studying: analysis of theoretical literature.

The scientific novelty of the research. In the work an attempt was made to reveal and describe the communicative and pragmatic values of the English sentence.

Theoretical value of the research is that the research material, theoretical positions and results bring in the certain contribution to the theory of learning theoretical grammar.

Practical value of the research. Thesis' materials can be used in special courses of English comparative syntax. The results can serve as a base for course books, aimed at the prevention of interference in course of studying English.

Structure of the research: the thesis consists of introduction, two chapters, conclusion, and list of used sources.

In the introduction the relevance of the research topic is proven, the object and subject matter are identified. The objective and tasks are discussed. The primary research idea, scientific novelty, the theoretical and practical results of the research, substantive provisions which put to the defense are defined.

The first part of the research considers general theoretical bases of the research, namely, definitions of sentence, examples of sentences, and its functions.

In the second part of the research are analyzed different types of communicative and pragmatic sentences.

In conclusion the main results of the research are presented which are obtained on the basis of data and analysis of the results.

The perspective of the research is in possibility of using the results of the research in English Language learning especially its theoretical materials.

I. Sentence in linguistics

1.1 What is a sentence?

sentence is a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it. A sentence can include words grouped meaningfully to express a statement, question, exclamation, request, command, or suggestion.

There are many definitions of the sentence and these definitions differ from each other because that the scientists approach from different viewpoints to this question. Some of them consider the sentence from the point view of phonetics, others - from the point of view of semantics (the meaning of the sentence) and so on. According to the opinion of many grammarians the definition of the sentence must contain all the peculiar features of the smallest communicative unit.

Some of the definitions of a sentence are given below.

“The sentence is the immediate integral unit of speech built up of words according to a definite syntactic pattern and distinguished by a contextually relevant communicative purpose”

The definitions which are mentioned above prove that B.A. Ilyish is quite right when he writes: “The notion of sentence has not so far received a satisfactory definition” (15) “A sentence is a unit of speech whose grammatical structure conforms to the laws of the language and which serves as the chief means of conveying a thought. A sentence is not only a means of communicating something about reality but also a means of showing the speaker's attitude to it.

Put down the book.

Are you ready?

The train moved out of the city.

Thus, concluding the above mentioned conceptions, we can say that in any act of communication there are three factors:

1. The act of speech;

2. The speaker;

3. Reality (as viewed by the speaker).

B. Khaimovich and Rogovskaya (22) state that these factors are variable since they change with every act of speech. They may be viewed from two viewpoints:

1) from the point of view of language are constant because they are found in all acts of communication;

2) they are variable because they change in every act of speech. Every act of communication contains the notions of time, person and reality. The events mentioned in the communications are correlated in time and time correlation is expressed by certain grammatical and lexical means.

Any act of communication presupposes existence of the speaker and the hearer. The meaning of person is expressed by the category of person of verbs. They may be expressed grammatically and lexico-grammatically by words: I, you, he...

Reality is treated differently by the speaker and this attitude of the speaker is expressed by the category of mood in verbs. They may be expressed grammatically and lexically (may, must, probably...)

According to the same authors the three relations - to the act of speech, to the speaker and to reality - can be summarized as the relation to the situation of speech.

A sentence can also be defined in orthographic terms alone, i.e., as anything which is contained between a capital letter and a full stop. For instance, the opening of Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House begins with the following three sentences:

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather.

The first sentence involves one word, a proper noun. The second sentence has only a non-finite verb. The third is a single nominal group. Only an orthographic definition encompasses this variation.

As with all language expressions, sentences may contain both function and content words, and contain properties distinct to natural language, such as characteristic intonation and timing patterns.

Sentences are generally characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb, e.g. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.

Semantics refers to the meaning of words in a language and the meaning within the sentence. Semantics considers the meaning of the sentence without the context. The field of semantics focuses on three basic things: “the relations of words to the objects denoted by them, the relations of words to the interpreters of them, and, in symbolic logic, the formal relations of signs to one another (syntax)". Semantics is just the meaning that the grammar and vocabulary impart, it does not account for any implied meaning.

In this sense, there's a focus on the general 'rules' of language usage.

Learning the difference between semantic and pragmatic meaning can help new English language learners avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings. Learn about the difference between the two terms and review examples of each.

When learning the English language, understanding the differences between semantic and pragmatic meaning can be a valuable tool to maximize your linguistic ability. Although both are terms used in relation to the meanings of words, their usage is drastically different.

In this sense, there's a focus on the general 'rules' of language usage.

Pragmatic Word Usage

Pragmatic meaning looks at the same words and grammar used semantically, except within context. In each situation, the various listeners in the conversation define the ultimate meaning of the words, based on other clues that lend subtext to the meaning.

For example, if you were told to, “Crack the window,” and the room was a little stuffy, and the speaker had just said prior to this that they were feeling a little warm, then you would know, pragmatically, that the speaker would like you to open the window a 'crack' or just a little.

If you were with a friend who was locked out of his home, and you were standing at a back door trying to get inside, your friend might say 'crack that window' and literally mean to put a 'crack' in the window, or break the window.

Differences in Meaning

As the example above shows, considering both the pragmatic and semantic meaning of your sentence is important when communicating with other people. Although semantics is concerned only with the exact, literal meaning of the words and their interrelations, pragmatic usage focuses on the inferred meaning that the speakers and listeners perceive.

The following examples demonstrate the difference between the two:

1. She hasn't taken a shower.

2. He was so tired he could sleep for days.

In both of these examples, the context and pragmatic meaning really define the sentence.

In the first, did the speaker really mean to say that the woman has not ever taken a shower, not even once? Although the sentence says just that, the listener in the conversation may understand, based on other factors, that the speaker means that the woman they are referring to has not taken a shower ... today.

In the second example, we have a guy who is so tired he can sleep for days. Is he really going to sleep for days? Semantically, we would need to take that sentence to mean exactly that. But, in casual conversation, the listeners and speaker might tell you that the guy was just saying he was really, really tired, and using those words to convey that meaning, instead of saying, 'he was really tired'.

Idioms and Miscommunications

New English language learners need to learn how to understand the pragmatic meaning of the sentence in order to avoid miscommunications. Some ways to make the transition easier is by learning phrases and idioms that are commonly said, but whose true meanings differ from the semantic meaning.

In the example used above, “Crack the window” is a common phrase or idiom meant to open the window so that only a crack is showing. Although full comprehension of pragmatic meaning in a new language can take time, students can speed up the process by practicing the most common exceptions to the semantic meaning.

The Pragmatic Values of Evidential Sentences. Semantic Values and Pragmatic Values

Lewis (1986)1 articulates and explores a trio of important general theses concerning pragmatic values:

(1) Pragmatic values are

i. irreducibly distinct from semantic denotations;

ii. sometimes specific to individual clause types; and

iii. appropriately modeled with probabilities.

Lewis (1976, 1986b) concentrates on material conditionals, arguing that their semantic values are propositional but that their pragmatic values are given by conditional subjective probabilities. Thus, from the start, the general theses (1) were linked to close linguistic analysis involving both semantic and pragmatic considerations.

One comes away from Lewis's papers with the sense that they could form the cornerstone for a successful (probabilistic) formal pragmatic theory.

We focus on the pragmatic strategy that evidential facilitate.

1.2 Basic markers

Basic markers have representational meaning which means they contribute conceptual information over and above that of the propositional meaning. Specifically, they represent information which signals more or less specifically the force of the direct basic message of the sentence. This meaning distinction between propositional content and basic pragmatic markers was proposed by Searle (1969:30), who wrote:

We can distinguish two (not necessarily separate) elements in the syntactical structure of the sentence, which we might call the propositional indicator and the illocutionary force indicator. The illocutionary force indicator shows how the proposition is to be taken, or to put it another way, what illocutionary force the utterance is to have; that is, what illocutionary act the speaker is performing in the utterance of the sentence. Illocutionary force indicators in English include at least: word order, stress, intonation contour, punctuation, the mood of the verb and the so called performative verbs.

While not agreeing with Searle completely, we work within the spirit of his suggestion and consider structural, lexical, and hybrid basic markers. In the following section we consider the following basic markers:

A. Structural basic markers

B. Lexical basic markers

Performative expressions

Pragmatic idioms

C. Hybrid basic markers

Declarative-based hybrids

Interrogative-based hybrids

Imperative-based hybrids

A. Structural Basic Markers

The first and most general of the basic markers is the syntactic structure of the sentence itself, its mood. Except for some idiomatic structures, every English sentence falls into one of three syntactic types (declarative, imperative, or interrogative) and each type signals a general force for the basic message.

The declarative structure signals the expression of belief by the speaker that the sentence propositional content represents (or did, or will represent) a true state of the world. The speaker of “John slid down the slope,” for example, is committed to expressing the belief that John slid down the slope, although what type of belief--a claim, an assertion, an admission, a confession, or an acknowledgment--is left open. Stylistic variations of the canonical declarative form which retain the sentence propositional content do not alter the speaker's commitment of belief.

In contrast, the imperative structure signals the speaker's expression of desire that the addressee bring about the state of the world described in the propositional content. The action desired may be verbal, as in (9a), or non-verbal, as in (9b).

(9) a) Tell me the answer.

b) Bring that book over here.

Unlike the declarative structure, the imperative mood has no stylistic variations. pragmatic evidential sentence word

The third major structure of English is the interrogative mood. Similar to the imperative, it signals speaker expression of desire, in this case for addressee verbal response. Here we find syntactic variations distinguishing between YES/NO-questions, (10a-b), and WH-questions, (10c-f), with the latter type having a number of stylistic variations, some involving more than one WH word:

(10) a) Did you see him?

b) Can you do that?

c) Who are you?

d)Who did you see?

e) You saw whom?

f) Who did you see where?

As with declarative sentence variations, if the propositional content remains constant, the speaker attitude associated with the interrogative form, the expression of desire that the addressee make a verbal response, does not change.

It is interesting that the three major syntactic constructions of English signal only two (belief and desire) of the many propositional attitudes a speaker might hold toward the message (propositional) content. Except for a few special cases, which will be discussed below, speaker attitudes of commitment, intention, praise, blame, or anger are not signaled by specific syntactic structures. There is no syntactic structure which signals the speaker's intention to convey a promise, an apology, or a criticism as there is for a claim and a request.

B. Lexical Basic Markers

In contrast to only three structural basic pragmatic markers, there are many lexical basic pragmatic markers. They can be analyzed into two major groups: per formative expressions, which essentially refine the force signaled by the sentence mood, and pragmatic idioms. I will consider these in turn.

Pragmatic Idioms

In addition to the standardized forms, there are pragmatic idioms, expressions for which there is no plausible inferential path leading from literal, direct meaning to the accepted basic pragmatic signal. There are both force idioms, which signal the intended basic message force, and message idioms, which signal the entire basic message. I will now survey some of them.

Examples of force idioms are the expressions please (kindly) and perhaps (maybe). When please occurs before an imperative structure, it signals that the speaker intends the utterance to be taken as a request, and only as a request. In each of the following sentences,

(14) a) Can you please help me?

b) I'd like you to please sit down.

c) I (hereby) ask you to please leave.

d) May I please look at that vase?

the sentence, because of the presence of please (kindly), has the direct basic force of a request rather than any other force for which it might be eligible. Similarly, when perhaps(maybe) occurs before an imperative, it narrows the force of the utterance to a suggestion, as the sentences in (15) reflect.

(15) a) Perhaps you should sit down and rest a bit.

b) Perhaps, take an aspirin.

c) Why don't you perhaps see a doctor?

One group of force idioms signals a speaker suggestion. This is illustrated in (16), with the degree of urgency different with the individual phrases.

(16) a) How about going?

b) What do you say (that) we leave?

c) By all means, try it.

d) Let us (Let's) try it again.

e) You'd better sit down.

Another subgroup of force idioms are those signaling the speaker's intention to express a wish:

(17) a) If only John were here now.

b) Long live the Queen.

c) Would that we were home now.

Historically, many of these forms were known as the optative mood but this nomenclature has now become archaic.

There is a relatively large residue of force idioms signaling a basic message force which don't fit neatly into any category. Some of them don't have a full proposition but merely a noun phrase, and nearly all require a specific form of the proposition. We simply list some of them here.

II. Pragmatic and Communicative Value of Sentence

2.1 Types of messages

Firstly we assume that sentence meaning, the information encoded by linguistic expressions, can be divided up into two separate and distinct parts. On the one hand, a sentence typically encodes a proposition, perhaps complex, which represents a state of the world which the speaker wishes to bring to the addressee's attention. This aspect of sentence meaning is generally referred to as the propositional content (or common meaning) of the sentence. On the other hand, there is everything else: mood markers such as the declarative structure of the sentence, and lexical expressions of varying length and complexity. It is on this “everything else” that we focus. Specifically, we propose that this non-propositional part of sentence meaning can be analyzed into different types of signals, what we have called Pragmatic Markers (cf. Fraser 1990), which correspond to the different types of potential direct messages a sentence may convey. These pragmatic markers, taken to be separate and distinct from the propositional content of the sentence, are the linguistically encoded clues which signal the speaker's potential communicative intentions.

Messages, and hence their associated pragmatic markers, fall into four types. First, there is a single, basic message, which uses the sentence proposition as its message content. Basic markers, which signal more or less specifically the force (the kind of message in contrast to its content) of the basic message, include sentence mood and lexical expressions. These markers are illustrated by the examples in (1), with the pragmatic marker in boldface type.

a) I regret that he is still here.

b) Admittedly, I was taken in.

c) The cat is very sick.

Sentence (1a) is an expression of regret, and sentence (1b) an admission. Sentence (1c) has no lexical basic marker, as do the first two, but its declarative mood signals that it is the expression of belief (a claim, a report) that the state of the world expressed by the propositional content is true.

Second, there are commentary messages, which provide a comment on the basic message. Commentary messages, and hence the presence of commentary markers, are optional--a sentence need not contain any. When they do occur, their message is typically very general, with a single word often signaling both the message force and content. Obviously, they constitute pragmatic idioms. The sentences in (2) illustrate this type of marker.

(2) a) Stupidly, Sara didn't fax the correct form in on time.

b) Frankly, we should be there by now.

In (2a), for example, the basic message is (arguably) a report while the commentary message, signaled by stupidly, is that the speaker believes Sara's failure to act to have been stupid. In (2b), the frankly signals that the basic message which follows is, in the speaker's opinion, not going to be well received by the addressee.

Third, there are parallel messages, also optional, which signal an entire message separate from the basic and any commentary messages. The sentences in (3) are illustrative of parallel markers.

(3) a) John, you are very noisy.

b) In God's name, what are you doing now?

In (3a), for example, the speaker, in addition to the basic message of a claim that John is being very noisy, is conveying a message, signaled by John, that it is John who is being addressed, while in (3b), the in God's name signals exasperation on the part of the speaker.

Finally, there are discourse messages, again optional, which signal a message specifying how the basic message is related to the foregoing discourse. The sentences in (4) illustrate these markers.

(4) a) Jacob was very tired. So, he left early.

b) Martha's party is tomorrow. Incidentally, when is your party?

Here, in (4a), the so signals that the report that he left early is a conclusion based on the message conveyed by the preceding sentence, while in (4b), the incidentally signals that the following basic message is going to reflect a shift in topic.

To summarize to this point, a basic marker signals the force of the basic message, a commentary marker signals a message which comments on the basic message, a parallel marker signals a message in addition to the basic message, and a discourse marker signals the relationship of the basic message to the foregoing discourse. Although it is rare to find all four types of pragmatic markers in a single sentence, it does occur, as in (5) We appreciate that you are a member of the Police Benevolent Association and a supporter of the baseball league. However, quite frankly Sir, I estimate that you were going a bit more than 86 miles per hour.

2.2 The pragmatic values of the sentences

Before looking at these four types of markers in detail, we make a few general remarks. First, to reiterate a point made above, pragmatic markers are not part of the propositional content of the sentence. They are separate and distinct. It follows from this that for a given lexical expression (e.g., truthfully, amazingly) in a particular sentence, there is no overlapping of functions. When an expression functions as one type of pragmatic marker, it does not function as a part of the propositional content; and vice versa. In addition, when an expression is functioning as one type of pragmatic marker, it cannot at the same time function as a second type. In some cases when there are homophonous expressions, for example, truthfully, the expression cannot occur in the same frame, so there is no question of ambiguity. For example, in (6a),

(6) a) Truthfully, you should have answered.

b) You should have answered truthfully.

c) Truthfully, you should have answered truthfully.

The speaker signals that the manner of speaking is truthful, not disingenuous, whereas in (6b), the truthfully is part of the proposition and modifies the manner of answering. The interpretation of the expressions cannot be interchanged. In fact, (6c) shows that the two meanings can co-exist with no problem. However, there are a few cases like “Now where are we?” where there is an ambiguity. Is it the adverbial now, with a time interpretation; or is it the discourse marker now, with a focusing function? When there is a comma intonation present, it is always the latter.

Second, pragmatic markers carry meaning. But whereas basic, commentary, and parallel markers, like the sentence proposition, have representational meaning, in virtue of which they denote concepts, the discourse markers have procedural meaning and specify how the sentence of which they are a part is related to the preceding discourse. I will address these points as we go along.

Third, pragmatic markers signal messages that apply only to the direct basic message. They do not apply to any indirect messages which may be implicated by the direct basic message. For example, the indirect interpretation of (7a)

(7) a) Unfortunately, I am cold.

b) Confidentially, would you like a drink?

c) Candidly, he is married to his work. (=He is dedicated to his work.)

d) I suspect his mind rusted on vacation. (=I suspect he got a little out of practice.)

as a request to turn up the heat is unaffected by the commentary marker unfortunately. Similarly, the indirect message in (7b), that the speaker is asking if the addressee will stay and talk with him after being brought the drink, is unaffected by the marker confidentially. In (7c-d) where the direct message is taken to be figurative not literal, the pragmatic markers apply to the figurative, direct interpretations, but not to any indirect interpretations.

Fourth, nearly all pragmatic markers may occur in sentence-initial position (though is one exception) and usually occur there. There are occasions when they will occur medially or finally, as in (8), but in these cases the marker is set off by a comma intonation to distinguish it from a homophonous form used as part of the proposition.

(8) a) John is, I admit, the best person by far for the job.

b) She was, confidentially, a bright scholar and a fantastic athlete.

c) Harry is going to go, however.

Finally, pragmatic markers are drawn from all segments of the grammar. Verbs, nouns, and adverbs as well as idioms such as ok are all pressed into service as pragmatic markers. But for the most part, the meaning of the expression, when used as a pragmatic marker, is the same as when it is used as a propositional formative and it is only its function which differs. In those cases where there is a difference, the lexical expression must be marked for the different meaning.

With these preliminary comments out of the way, let us turn now to a detailed examination of the types of pragmatic markers.

2.3 The communicative value of Sentence

The sentence is a communicative unit; therefore the primary classification of sentences must be based on the communicative principle. This principle is formulated in traditional grammar as the "purpose of communication" [10,251-259].

The purpose of communication, by definition, refers to the sentence as a whole, and the structural features connected with the expression of this sentential function belong to the fundamental, constitutive qualities of the sentence as a lingual unit.

In accord with the purpose of communication three cardinal sentence-types have long been recognised in linguistic tradition: first, the declarative sentence; second, the imperative (inductive) sentence; third, the interrogative sentence. These communicative sentence-types stand in strict opposition to one another, and their inner properties of form and meaning are immediately correlated with the corresponding features of the listener's responses.

Thus, the declarative sentence expresses a statement, either affirmative or negative, and as such stands in systemic syntagmatic correlation with the listener's responding signals of attention, of appraisal (including agreement or disagreement), of fellow-feeling. Cf.: "I think," he said, "that Mr. Desert should be asked to give us his reasons for publishing that poem." -- "Hear, hear!" said the К. С. (J. Galsworthy). "We live very quietly here, indeed we do; my niece here will tell you the same." -- "Oh, come, I'm not such a fool as that," answered the squire (D. du Maurier).

The imperative sentence expresses inducement, either affirmative or negative. That is, it urges the listener, in the form of request or command, to perform or not to perform a certain action. As such, the imperative sentence is situational connected with the corresponding "action response" (Ch. Fries), and lingually is systemically correlated with a verbal response showing that the inducement is either complied with, or else rejected. Cf.:"Let's go and sit down up there, Dinny." -- "Very well" (J. Galsworthy). "Then marry me." -- "Really, Alan, I never met anyone with so few ideas" (J. Galsworthy). "Send him back!" he said again. -- "Nonsense, old chap" (J. Aldridge).

Since the communicative purpose of the imperative sentence is to make the listener act as requested, silence on the part of the latter (when the request is fulfilled), strictly speaking, is also linguistically relevant. This gap in speech, which situational is filled in by the listener's action, is set off in literary narration by special comments and descriptions. Cf.: "Knock on the wood." -- Retan's man leaned forward and knocked three times on the barrera (E. Hemingway). "Shut the piano," whispered Dinny; "let's go up." -- Diana closed the piano without noise and rose (J. Galsworthy).

The interrogative sentence expresses a question, i.e. a request for information wanted by the speaker from the listener. By virtue of this communicative purpose, the interrogative sentence is naturally connected with an answer, forming together with it a question-answer dialogue unity. Cf.:"What do you suggest I should do, then?" said Mary helplessly. -- "If I were you I should play a waiting game," he replied (D. du Maurier).

Naturally, in the process of actual communication the interrogative communicative purpose, like any other communicative task, may sporadically not be fulfilled. In case it is not fulfilled, the question-answer unity proves to be broken; instead of a needed answer the speaker is faced by silence on the part of the listener, or else he receives the latter's verbal rejection to answer. Cf.: "Why can't you lay off?" I said to her. But she didn't even notice me (R. P. Warren). "Did he know about her?" -- "You'd better ask him" (S. Maugham).

Evidently, such and like reactions to interrogative sentences are not immediately relevant in terms of environmental syntactic featuring.

An attempt to revise the traditional communicative classification of sentences was made by the American scholar Ch. Fries who classed them, as a deliberate challenge to the "accepted routine", not in accord with the purposes of communication, but according to the responses they elicit.

In Fries's system, as a universal speech unit subjected to communicative analysis was chosen not immediately a sentence, but an utterance unit (a "free" utterance, i.e. capable of isolation) understood as a continuous chunk of talk by one speaker in a dialogue. The sentence was then defined as a minimum free utterance [11,45-57].

Utterances collected from the tape-recorded corpus of dialogues (mostly telephone conversations) were first classed into "situation utterances" (eliciting a response), and "response utterances". Situation single free utterances (i.e. sentences) were further divided into three groups:

1) Utterances that are regularly followed by oral responses only. These are greetings, calls, questions. E.g.:Hello! Good-bye! See you soon! ... Dad! Say, dear! Colonel Howard! ... Have you got moved in? What are you going to do for the summer? ...

2) Utterances regularly eliciting action responses. These are requests or commands. E.g.:Read that again, will you? Oh, wait a minute! Please have him call Operator Six when he comes in! Will you see just exactly what his status is?

3) Utterances regularly eliciting conventional signals of attention to continuous discourse. These are statements. E.g.:I've been talking with Mr. D -- in the purchasing department about our type-writer. (--Yes?). That order went in March seventh. However it seems that we are about eighth on the list. (-- I see). Etc.

Alongside of the described "communicative" utterances, i.e. utterances directed to a definite listener, another, minor type of utterances were recognised as not directed to any listener but, as Ch. Fries puts it, "characteristic of situations such as surprise, sudden pain, disgust, anger, laughter, sorrow" . E.g.: Oh, oh! Goodness! My God! Darn! Gosh! Etc.

Such and like interjectional units were classed by Ch. Fries as "noncommunicative" utterances.

Observing the given classification, it is not difficult to see that, far from refuting or discarding the traditional classification of sentences built up on the principle of the "purpose of communication", it rather confirms and specifies it. Indeed, the very purpose of communication inherent in the addressing sentence is reflected in the listener's response. The second and third groups of Ch, Fries's "communicative" sentences-utterances are just identical imperative and declarative types both by the employed names and definition. As for the first group, it is essentially heterogeneous, which is recognised by the investigator himself, who distinguishes in its composition three communicatively different subgroups. One of these ("C") is constituted by "questions", i.e. classical interrogative sentences. The other two, viz. greetings ("A") and calls ("B"), are syntactically not cardinal, but, rather, minor intermediary types, making up the periphery of declarative sentences (greetings -- statements of conventional goodwill at meeting and parting) and imperative sentences (calls -- requests for attention). As regards "non-communicative" utterances -- interjectional units, they are devoid of any immediately expressed intellective semantics, which excludes them from the general category of sentence as such (see further).

Thus, the undertaken analysis should, in point of fact, be looked upon as an actual application of the notions of communicative sentence-types to the study of oral speech, resulting in further specifications and development of these notions.

Alongside of the three cardinal communicative sentence-types, another type of sentences is recognised in the theory of syntax, namely, the so-called exclamatory sentence. In modern linguistics it has been demonstrated that exclamatory sentences do not possess any complete set of qualities that could place them on one and the same level with the three cardinal communicative types of sentences. The property of exclamation should be considered as an accompanying feature which is effected within the system of the three cardinal communicative types of sentences.* In other words, each of the cardinal communicative sentence types can be represented in the two variants, viz. non-exclamatory and exclamatory. For instance, with the following exclamatory sentences-statements it is easy to identify their non-exclamatory declarative prototypes:

What a very small cabin it was! (K. Mansfield) -- It was a very small cabin. How utterly she had lost count of events! (J. Galsworthy)-- She had lost count of events. Why, if it isn't my lady! (J. Erskine) «-- It is my lady.

Similarly, exclamatory questions are immediately related in the syntactic system to the corresponding non-exclamatory interrogative sentences. E.g.:

Whatever do you mean, Mr. Critchlow? (A. Bennett) «-What do you mean? Then why in God's name did you come? (K. Mansfield) «- Why did you come?

Imperative sentences, naturally, are characterised by a higher general degree of emotive intensity than the other two cardinal communicative sentence-types. Still, they form analogous pairs, whose constituent units are distinguished from each other by no other feature than the presence or absence of exclamation as such. E.g.:

Francis, will you please try to speak sensibly! (E. Hemingway) «- Try to speak sensibly. Don't you dare to compare me to common people! (B. Shaw) -- Don't compare me to common people. Never so long as you live say I made you do that! (J. Erskine) -- Don't say I made you do that.

As is seen from the given examples, all the three pairs of variant communicative types of sentences (non-exclamatory -- exclamatory for each cardinal division) make up distinct semantico-syntactic oppositions effected by regular grammatical means of language, such as intonation, word-order and special constructions with functional-auxiliary lexemic elements. It follows from this that the functional-communicative classification of sentences specially distinguishing emotive factor should discriminate, on the lower level of analysis, between the six sentence-types forming, respectively, three groups (pairs) of cardinal communicative quality.

The communicative properties of sentences can further be exposed in the light of the theory of actual division of the sentence.

The actual division provides for the informative content of the utterance to be expressed with the due gradation of its parts according to the significance of their respective role in the context. But any utterance is formed within the framework of the system of communicative types of sentences. And as soon as we compare the communication-purpose aspect of the utterance with its actual division aspect we shall find that each communicative sentence type is distinguished by its specific actual division features, which are revealed first and foremost in the nature of the rheme as the meaningful nucleus of the utterance.

The strictly declarative sentence immediately expresses a certain proposition. By virtue of this, the actual division of the declarative sentence presents itself in the most developed and complete form. The rheme of the declarative sentence makes up the centre of some statement as such. This can be distinctly demonstrated by a question-test directly revealing the rhematic part of an utterance. Cf.: The next instant she had recognised him. > What had she done the next instant?

The pronominal what-question clearly exposes in the example the part "(had) recognised him" as the declarative rheme, for this part is placed within the interrogative-pronominal reference. In other words, the tested utterance with its completed actual division is the only answer to the cited potential question; the utterance has been produced by the speaker just to express the fact of "his being recognised".

Another transformational test for the declarative rheme is the logical superposition. The logical superposition consists in transforming the tested construction into the one where the rheme is placed in the position of the logically emphasised predicate. By way of example let us take the second sentence in the following sequence: And I was very uneasy. All sorts of forebodings assailed me.

The logical superposition of the utterance is effected thus: > What assailed me was all sorts of forebodings.

This test marks out the subject of the utterance "all sorts of forebodings" as the rheme, because it is just this part of the utterance that is placed in the emphatic position of the predicate in the superpositional transform.

Similar diagnostic procedures expose the layer-structure of the actual division in composite syntactic constructions. For instance, in the following complex sentence rhematic question-tests easily reveal the three declarative rhemes on the three consecutive syntactic layers: I knew that Mr, Wade had been very excited by something that he had found out.

Test for the first syntactic layer: What did I know?

Test for the second syntactic layer: What state was Mr. Wade in?

Test for the third syntactic layer: What made him excited? (By what was he excited?)

The strictly imperative sentence, as different from the strictly declarative sentence, does not express by its immediate destination any statement of fact, i.e. any proposition proper. It is only based on a proposition, without formulating it directly. Namely, the proposition underlying the imperative sentence is reversely contrasted against the content of the expressed inducement, since an urge to do something (affirmative inducement) is founded on the premise that something is not done or is otherwise not affected by the wanted action, and, conversely, an urge not to do something (negative inducement) is founded on the directly opposite premise. Cf.:

Let's go out at once! (The premise: We are in.) Never again take that horrible woman into your confidence, Jerry! (The premise: Jerry has taken that horrible woman into his confidence.)

Thus, the rheme of the imperative utterance expresses the informative nucleus not of an explicit proposition, but of an inducement -- a wanted (or unwanted) action together with its referential attending elements (objects, qualities, circumstances).

Due to the communicative nature of the inducement addressed to the listener, its thematic subject is usually zeroed, though it can be represented in the form of direct address. Cf.:Don't try to sidetrack me (J. Braine). Put that dam* dog down, Fleur; I can't see your face (J. Galsworthy). Kindly tell me what you meant, Wilfrid (J. Galsworthy).

Inducements that include in the address also the speaker himself, or are directed, through the second person medium, to a third person (persons) present their thematic subjects explicit in the construction. E.g. I say, Bob, let's try to reconstruct the scene as it developed. Please don't let's quarrel over the speeds now. Let her produce the document if she has it.

The whole composition of an ordinary imperative utterance is usually characterised by a high informative value, so that the rheme proper, or the informative peak, may stand here not so distinctly against the background information as in the declarative utterance. Still, rhematic testing of imperative utterances does disclose the communicative stratification of their constituents. Compare the question-tests of a couple of the cited examples: Put that dam' dog down, Fleur. > What is Fleur to do with the dog? Kindly tell me what you meant, Wilfrid. > What is Wilfrid to tell the speaker?

As for the thematic, and especially the subrhematic (transitional) elements of the imperative utterance, they often are functionally charged with the type-grading of inducement itself,--i.e.-with making it into a command, prohibition, request, admonition, entreaty, etc. Compare, in addition to the cited, some more examples to this effect: Let us at least remember to admire each other (L. Hellman). Oh, please stop it... Please, please stop it (E. Hemingway). Get out before I break your dirty little neck (A. Hailey).

The second-person inducement may include the explicit pronominal subject, but such kind of constructions should be defined as of secondary derivation. They are connected with a complicated informative content to be conveyed to the listener-performer, expressing, on the one hand, the choice of the subject out of several persons-participants of the situation, and on the other hand, appraisals rendering various ethical connotations (in particular, the type-grading of inducement mentioned above). Cf.:"What about me?" she asked. -- "Nothing doing. You go to bed and sleep" (A. Christie). Don't you worry about me, sir. I shall be all right (B..K. Seymour).

At a further stage of complication, the subject of the inducement may be shifted to the position of the rheme. E.g.:"...We have to do everything we can." -- "You do it," he said. "I'm tired" (E. Hemingway).

The essentially different identifications of the rheme in the two imperative utterances of the cited example can be proved by transformational testing: ... > What we have to do is (to do) everything we can. ... > The person who should do it is you.

The inducement with the rhematic subject of the latter type may be classed as the "(informatively) shifted inducement".

As far as the strictly interrogative sentence is concerned, its actual division is uniquely different from the actual division of both the declarative and the imperative sentence-types. The unique quality of the interrogative actual division is determined by the fact that the interrogative sentence, instead of conveying some relatively self-dependent content, expresses an inquiry about information which the speaker (as a participant of a typical question-answer situation) does not possess. Therefore the rheme of the interrogative sentence, as the nucleus of the inquiry, is informational open (gaping); its function consists only in marking the rhematic position in the response sentence and programming the content of its filler in accord with the nature of the inquiry. Different types of questions present different types of open rhemes. In the pronominal ("special") question, the nucleus of inquiry is expressed by an interrogative pronoun. The pronoun is immediately connected with the part of the sentence denoting the object or phenomenon about which the inquiry ("condensed" in the pronoun) is made. The gaping pronominal meaning is to be replaced in the answer by the wanted actual information. Thus, the rheme of the answer is the reverse substitute of the interrogative pronoun: the two make up a rhematic unity in the broader question-answer construction. As for the thematic part of the answer, it is already expressed in the question; therefore in common speech it is usually zeroed.

The undertaken survey of lingual facts shows that the combination of opposite cardinal communicative features displayed by communicatively intermediary sentence patterns is structurally systemic and functionally justified. It is justified because it meets quite definite expressive requirements. And it is symmetrical in so far as each cardinal communicative sentence type is characterised by the same tendency of functional transposition in relation to the two other communicative types opposing it. It means that within each of the three cardinal communicative oppositions two different intermediary communicative sentence models are established, so that at a further level of specification, the communicative classification of sentences should be expanded by six subtypes of sentences of mixed communicative features. These are, first, mixed sentence patterns of declaration (interrogative-declarative, imperative-declarative); second, mixed sentence patterns of interrogation (declarative-interrogative, imperative-interrogative); third, mixed sentence-patterns of inducement (declarative-imperative, interrogative-imperative). All the cited intermediary communicative types of sentences belong to living, productive syntactic means of language and should find the due reflection both in theoretical linguistic description and in practical language teaching.


What we have presented above should be viewed as support for three claims.

- The first claim is that the sentence (read “semantic”) meaning is comprised of two parts: a propositional content; and a set of pragmatic markers.

- The second claim is that the four types of messages exhaust the messages encodable by aspects of sentence meaning: a single basic message (the message which uses the propositional content of the sentence as its message content); commentary messages (messages commenting on the basic message); parallel messages (messages which are in addition to the basic message); and discourse messages (messages signaling the relationship between the basic message of the current sentence and the preceding discourse).

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