Introdungcing English language part 32
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Introdungcing English language part 32: 'In this exciting new textbook, Louise Mullany and Peter Stockwell have provided a fresh and imaginative set of alternatives for teaching and learning a huge amount about the English language. The book allows tor creative and lateral approaches to developing an understanding of important linguistic concepts and, together with the thought-provoking activities, and accessible readings, guarantees there is something to stimulate every learner.
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- 172 EXPLORATION: INVESTIGATING ENGLISH LANGUAGE of the text. Of course, you might disagree and ﬁnd that the work organises itself around a different prominent pattern. And also, of course, in each case there will be other linguistic features at other levels that work in parallel with the main stylistic feature. For each literary text, sketch out a stylistic analysis and explore the patterning to dis- cover the iconicity of the work. Activity 11.1 J Phonoaesthetic singing Investigate the sound-patterning in this poem by Rudyard Kipling. How do the sound-effects and the metrics help to create the sense of the text? How does the syntactic arrangement of the lines contribute to these effects? How do the word-choices parallel these patterns? Harp Song of the Dane Women What is a woman that you forsake her, And the hearth-ﬁre and the home-acre, To go with the old grey Widow-maker? She has no house to lay a guest in — But one chill bed for all to rest in, That the pale suns and the stray bergs nest in. She has no strong white arms to fold you, But the ten-times-ﬁngering weed to hold you Out on the rocks where the tide has rolled you. Yet, when the signs of summer thicken, And the ice breaks, and the birch-buds quicken, Yearly you turn from our side, and sicken — Sicken again for the shouts and the slaughters, — And steal away to the lapping waters, And look at your ship in her winter-quarters. You forget our mirth, and talk at the tables, The kine in the shed and the horse in the stables — To pitch her sides and go over her cables! Then you drive out where the storm-clouds swallow, And the sound of your oar-blades, falling hollow, Is all we have left through the months to follow. Ah, what is a Woman that you forsake her, And the hearth-ﬁre and the home-acre, To go with the old grey Widow-maker? (Rudyard Kipling, 1906) Find a poem or transcribed song lyric that seems to you intuitively to have a strong or unusual sound. Try to describe it as accurately as possible, and then try to work out how the sound-patterning is signiﬁcant in your interpretation of the text.
- EXPLORING LITERATURE 173 Pseudo-lexicology J Activity 11.2 The satirist Jonathan Swift wrote many punning verses and dialogues that he called ‘Anglo-Latin’ or ‘Latino-Anglicus’. Try to read the following two poems out loud, and then work out how Swift has made English look like Latin. Can you rewrite the passage with conventional word-boundaries and spellings in English? Mollis abuti, Has an acuti, No lasso ﬁnis, Molli divinis. Omi de armis tres, Cantu disco ver Meas alo ver? (Jonathan Swift, c.1735) I ritu a verse o na molli o mi ne, Asta lassa me pole, a lae dis o ﬁne; I ne ver neu a niso ne at in mi ni is; A manat a glans ora sito fer diis. De armo lis abuti hos face an hos nos is As fer a sal illi, as reddas aro sis; Ac is o mi molli is almi de lite; Illo verbi de, an illo verbi nite. (Jonathan Swift, c.1735) (Swift did not provide a ‘translation’, so the answer at the end of this unit is our best guess.) Can you ﬁnd other literary texts in which the disruption or exploitation of morphology and word-choice is a major organising feature (see for example the John Lennon passage in C7)? Semantics in the head J Activity 11.3 The following passage is from near the end of Brian Aldiss’ 1969 psychedelic novel Barefoot in the Head. Set in a post-apocalyptic future in which psychotropic bombs have poisoned the food-chain, the novel describes Colin Charteris’ road trip across Europe, in which he gathers a convoy of vehicles and crazy travellers in a series of multiple crashes and confrontations. The style of the novel clearly aims to represent the states of mind of the war’s victims. Examine this passage closely to see how Aldiss achieves this iconicity. Sparkily ﬂinging up stones from the tired wheels the gravelcade towed darkness, Headlights beams of granite bars battering the eternal nowhere signposting the dark. The cuspidaughters of darkness somebody sang play toe with the spittoons of noon the cuspidaughters of darkness play toe with the spittoons of noon the cuspidaughters of darkness play toe with the spittoons of noon. Only some of the blind white eyes of joyride was yellow or others but altirely because the bashing the cars the jostling in the autocayed. And hob with the gobs of season. In these primitive jalopsides herding their way like shampeding cattletrap across the last ranges of Frankreich that square squeezing country sang the drivniks.
- 174 EXPLORATION: INVESTIGATING ENGLISH LANGUAGE Cluttering through stick-it-up-your-assberg its nasal neutral squares its window- bankage to where the Rhine oiled its gunmottal under the northstar-barrels and a wide bridge warned zoll. Break lights a ﬂutter red I’d ride the riﬂed engines ricochetting off the tracered ﬂow below. Cryogenetic winds bourning another spring croaking forth on the tundrugged land doing it all over and bloodcounts low at a small hour with the weep of dream- pressure in the cyclic redbirth-redeath calling for a fast doss all round or heads will roll beyond the tidal rave. RECHTS FAHREN big yellow arrows splitting the roadcrown. Writhing bellies upward large painted arrows letters meaningless distant burriers sedu- cing him to a sighfer in a diaphram. Clobwebbed Charteris stopped the Banshee. He and Angeline climb out and he wonders if he sees himself lie there annulled, looks up into the blind white cliffs of night cloud to smell the clap of spring break its alternature. About him grind all the autodisciples ﬂipping from their pillions and all shout and yawn make jacketed ges- tures through their fogstacks. They all talk and Gloria comes over says to Angeline, ‘Feels to me I have bound the hound across this country before’. (Brian Aldiss, Barefoot in the Head, 1969: 193) Stylisticians have particularly been interested – for obvious reasons – in linguistically deviant texts like this. Can you ﬁnd any others to explore? In particular, look for experi- mental and avant-garde writing: how are the styles of such movements deployed in the service of their politics or ideological programmes? Activity 11.4 J Syntactic imagining There are apparently only two sentences in the following poem. How does the arrangement of syntax contribute to the sense of the text? When You are Old When you are old and grey and full of sleep And nodding by the ﬁre, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true; But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face. And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how love ﬂed And paced upon the mountains overhead, And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. (W.B. Yeats, 1891) Find two passages from different novels which are markedly different syntactically (see, for example, the two passages from a science ﬁction novel and a modernist novel in C4). How is the syntactic form signiﬁcant in each case?
- EXPLORING LITERATURE 175 Discourse (oh no it isn’t) J Activity 11.5 The following is a sketch by Monty Python, ﬁrst broadcast on the BBC on 2 November 1972. It clearly presents a surreal, absurd, or at least unusual dialogue. Can you identify what is strange about it, from the normative patterns of everyday conversation? Can you also identify what is conventional about it, in order to get a sense of how it balances oddity and normality for its humorous effects? The Argument Clinic [A man enters an ofﬁce] Man: Good morning, I’d like to have an argument, please. Receptionist: Certainly, sir. Have you been here before? Man: No, this is my ﬁrst time. Receptionist: I see, well we’ll see who’s free at the moment. Mr. Bakely’s free, but he’s a little bit conciliatory. No. Try Mr. Barnhart, room 12. Man: Thank you. [Enters room 12]. Angry Man: WHADDAYOU WANT? Man: Well, well, I was told outside that . . . Angry Man: DON’T GIVE ME THAT, YOU SNOTTY-FACED EVIL PAN OF DROPPINGS! Man: What? Angry Man: SHUT YOUR FESTERING GOB, YOU TIT! YOUR TYPE MAKES ME PUKE! YOU VACUOUS STUFFY-NOSED MALODOROUS PERVERT!!! Man: Yes, but I came here for an argument!! Angry Man: OH! Oh! I’m sorry! This is abuse! Man: Oh! Oh I see! Angry Man: Aha! No, you want room 12A, next door. Man: Oh . . . Sorry . . . Angry Man: Not at all! [Under his breath] Stupid git. [Man enters room 12A. Another man is sitting behind a desk] Man: Is this the right room for an argument? Other Man: [pause] I’ve told you once. Man: No you haven’t! Other Man: Yes I have. Man: When? Other Man: Just now. Man: No you didn’t! Other Man: Yes I did! Man: You didn’t! Other Man: I did! Man: You didn’t! Other Man: I’m telling you, I did! Man: You didn’t! Other Man: Oh I’m sorry, is this a ﬁve minute argument, or the full half hour? Man: Ah! [taking out his wallet and paying] Just the ﬁve minutes. Other Man: Just the ﬁve minutes. Thank you. Anyway, I did.
- 176 EXPLORATION: INVESTIGATING ENGLISH LANGUAGE Man: You most certainly did not! Other Man: Now let’s get one thing perfectly clear: I most deﬁnitely told you! Man: Oh no you didn’t! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: Oh no you didn’t! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: Oh no you didn’t! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: Oh no you didn’t! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: Oh no you didn’t! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: Oh no you didn’t! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: No you DIDN’T! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: No you DIDN’T! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: No you DIDN’T! Other Man: Oh yes I did! Man: Oh look, this isn’t an argument! [Pause] Other Man: Yes it is! Man: No it isn’t! [Pause] Man: It’s just contradiction! Other Man: No it isn’t! Man: It IS! Other Man: It is NOT! Man: You just contradicted me! Other Man: No I didn’t! Man: You DID! Other Man: No no no! Man: You did just then! Other Man: Nonsense! Man: [exasperated] Oh, this is futile!! [Pause] Other Man: No it isn’t! Man: Yes it is! [pause] Man: I came here for a good argument! Other Man: AH, no you didn’t, you came here for an argument! Man: An argument isn’t just contradiction. Other Man: Well! It CAN be! Man: No it can’t! An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
- EXPLORING LITERATURE 177 Other Man: No it isn’t! Man: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction. Other Man: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position! Man: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’. Other Man: Yes it is! Man: No it isn’t! Other Man: Yes it is! Man: No it isn’t! Other Man: Yes it is! Man: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says. Other Man: It is NOT! Man: It is! Other Man: Not at all! Man: It is! [The Arguer hits a bell on his desk and stops] Other Man: Thank you, that’s it. Man: [stunned] What? Other Man: That’s it. Good morning. Man: But I was just getting interested! Other Man: I’m sorry, the ﬁve minutes is up. Man: That was never ﬁve minutes!! Other Man: I’m afraid it was. Man: No it wasn’t . . . Other Man: I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to argue any more. Man: WHAT?? Other Man: If you want me to go on arguing, you’ll have to pay for another ﬁve minutes. Man: But that was never ﬁve minutes just now! Oh come on! Oh this is . . . This is ridiculous! Other Man: I told you . . . I told you, I’m not allowed to argue unless you PAY! Man: Oh all right. [Takes out his wallet and pays again] There you are. Other Man: Thank you. Man: [clears throat] Well . . . Other Man: Well WHAT? Man: That was never ﬁve minutes just now. Other Man: I told you, I’m not allowed to argue unless you’ve paid! Man: Well I just paid! Other Man: No you didn’t! Man: I DID!!! Other Man: You DIDN’T! Man: I DID!!! Other Man: You DIDN’T! Man: I DID!!! Other Man: You DIDN’T! Man: I DID!!!