Asyndeton and Apokoinu constructions

Asyndeton is deliberate omission of structurally significant conjunctions and connectives. The omission of conjunctions and connectives between the parts of complex and compound sentences or between homogeneous parts of the sentence imparts strong semantic and emotional colouring to the whole utterance, shapes its rhythmic contour, makes the speech dynamic and expressive. Sometimes it implies speakers nervousness and impatience:


Who makes fame? Critics, writers, stockbrokers, women (S. Maugham).

The train had stopped during the forenoon and three times we had heard planes coming, seen them pass overhead, watched them go far to the left and heard them bombing on the main highroad (E. Hemingway).

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Asyndeton is frequently to be found in poetry where it is an indispensable means of preserving rhythm of the verse:


Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,

Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,

Families by ten and dozens,

Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives

Followed the Piper for their lives (R. Browing).

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The last stylistic device that promotes the incompleteness of sentence structure is apocoinu construction. In apocoinu construction the omission of the pronominal (adverbial) connective of the complex sentence creates the blend of the main and subordinate clause. As a result of this process the predicative or the object of the first clause is simultaneously used as the subject of the second one. The double syntactical function played by one word produces the general impression of clumsiness of speech and is used as a means of speech characterization in dialogues, reported speech and the type of narration known as entrusted in which the author entrusts the telling of the story to an imaginary narrator who is either an observer or participant of the described events. The blend of the sentence elements is also the exposure of speakers lack of education or language incompetence. Such structures always cause misunderstanding and humour:


There was a whisper in my family that it was love drove him out and not love of the wife he married (J. Steinbeck).

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Consequently, the process of reduction may encompass either the whole sentence (or its part), as in ellipsis, one-member sentences and aposiopesis, and the means of sentences connection in the text, as in asyndeton an apocoinu constructions. The reduced syntactic structures are stylistically marked models which perform a definite stylistic function within a context of a literary text.


Syntactic stylistic devices based on the extension of sentence model


Repetition is recurrence of the same word, word combination, phrase for two or more times in close succession. Skillfully used and justified repetition never creates the redundancy of information. On the contrary, the additional stylistic meanings that arise as a result of repetition are indispensable elements of emotional and artistic impact upon the reader or listener. Repetition is powerful means of emphasis, besides it adds rhythm and balance to the utterance.

According to the place which the repeated word occupies in the sentence or text, repetition is classified into several groups.

Ordinary repetition. In ordinary repetition the repeated element has no definite place in the utterance.


I wake up and Im alone and I walk round Warley and I am alone; and I talk with people and I am alone and I look at his face when Im home and its dead (J. Braine).

The reiterated element of the utterance may be supported by introduction of other elements which specify and extend its meaning:


I dont think Art heard. Pain, even slight pain, tends to isolate. Pain such as he had to suffer, cuts the last links with society (S. Chaplin).

Successive repetition. Successive repetition is a string of closely following each other reiterated units. This is the most emphatic type of repetition, which signifies the peak of speakers emotions, or imparts the greatest logical significance to the repeated element.

She was screaming high a shrill scream that rose in the air incisively like a gulls shriek. Put it back, put it back, put it back! the scream seemed to say (W. Sansom).

I wanted to knock over the table and hit him until my arm had no more strength in it, then give him the boot, give him the boot, give him the boot I drew a deep breath (J. Braine).



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Anaphora. Anaphora is the repetition of elements at the beginning of each consecutive syntactic structure:


And everywhere were people. People going into gates and coming out of gates. People staggering and falling. People fighting and cursing (P. Abrahams).




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The main stylistic function of anaphora is to create a background for nonrepeated units of the utterance or the text, to give it logical and/or emotional emphasis and to underline its novelty.


Epiphora. Epiphora is the repetition of the final elements of each successive utterance.


She stopped and seemed to catch the distant sound of knocking. Abandoning the traveler, she hurried towards the parlour. In the passage she assuredly did hear knocking, angry and impatient knocking, the knocking of someone who thinks he has knocked too long (A. Bennett).

The main stylistic function of epiphora is to foreground the final elements of the utterances.


Framing. In framing the initial element of the utterance is repeated at the end of the utterance. Thus the syntactic structure resembles a kind of a frame: between the repeated words or word combinations there comes a middle part that explains and clarifies the idea. Framing has several stylistic functions. It is capable of rendering a wide score of human emotions and modal meanings: doubt, delight, impatience, worry, irritation, and others, as, for example in such widely used expressions , , ! and the like.

In most cases framing is aimed at foregrounding (logically or emotionally) of the repeated element, so by the time it is used the second time its semantics is concretized and specified:

Nothing ever happened in that little town, left behind by the advance of civilization, nothing (S. Maugham).

He ran away from the battle. He was an ordinary human being that didnt want to kill or to be killed. So he ran away from the battle (St. Heym).

Catch repetition (anadiplosis) (). In catch repetition the end of one clause or sentence is repeated at the beginning of the following one.


Chain repetition ( ). Chain repetition presents several anadiploses:


Failure meant poverty, poverty meant squalor, squalor led, in final stages, to the smells and stagnation to B. Inn Alley (D. du Maurier).

The stylistic function of anadiplosis and chain repetition is to specify the semantics of the repeated elements and to create the effect of logical reasoning.

Thus, as it has already been pointed out, repetition is an expressive means of language used for different purposes.

From the functional point of view, repetition, first of all, is one of the devices having its origin in the emotive language. Repetition in this respect is to be seen as the exposition of excitement, the expression of a feeling being brought to its highest tension. Secondly, when used as a stylistic device of logical language, repetition acquires quite different functions. It does not aim at making a direct emotional impact. On the contrary, the stylistic device of repetition aims at logical emphasis, an emphasis necessary to fix the attention of the reader on the 'key-word of the utterance'. And thirdly, repetition is rhythmical and intonation device having a purely aesthetic aim.

From the semantic point of view, any repetition of a language unit will inevitably cause some slight modification of meaning.

Sometimes a writer may use different compositional patterns of repetition in one utterance.



Enumeration is a stylistic device by which separate things, objects, phenomena, properties, actions are named one by one so that they produce a chain of syntactically homogeneous but semantically remote elements. Due to the common syntactic links and equal syntactic status the enumerated elements are forced to display some kind of semantic homogeneity, remote though it may seem. For example:


Fleur's wisdom in refusing to write to him was profound, for he reached each new place entirely without hope or fever, and could concentrate immediate attention on the donkeys and tumbling bells, the priests, patios, beggars, children, crowing cocks, sombreros, cactus-hedges, old high white villages, goats, olive-trees, greening plains, singing birds in tiny cages, water sellers, sunsets, melons, males, great churches, ' pictures and swimming grey-brown mountains of a fascinating land (J. Galsworthy).

The cited extract depicts scenery through a tourist's eyes. The enumeration here includes various elements which can be approximately grouped in the following semantic fields:

1) donkeys, mules, crowing cocks, goats, singing birds;

2) priests, beggars, children, water sellers;

3) villages, patios, cactus-hedges, churches, tumbling bells, sombreros, pictures;

4) sunsets, swimming grey-brown mountains, greening plains, olive-trees, melons.

Galsworthy found it necessary to arrange them not according to logical semantic centres, but in some other order; in one which, apparently, would suggest the rapidly changing impressions of a tourist and therefore become striking. This heterogeneous enumeration gives one an insight into the mind of the observer, into the great variety of miscellaneous objects which caught his eye; it gives an idea of the progress of his travels and the most memorable features of the land.

Similar stylistic effect is created in the following extract of the famous Ukrainian satirist O. Vyshnia. The laws of logical and semantic combinability of the enumerated elements being violated, the perceptible humorous effect emerges:


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The range of stylistic function of enumeration is versatile. The primary one, as in most of the stylistic devices, is to intensify the utterance. Enumeration adds logical and emotional emphasis to the words which semantically fall out of the string of homogeneous elements and, therefore, become foregrounded, as in the following extract:


Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and his sole mourner (Ch. Dickens).

The enumeration here is heterogeneous: the legal terms placed in a string with such words as friend and mourner result in a kind of clash, a thing typical of any stylistic device. Here there is a clash between terminological vocabulary and common neutral words. In addition there is a clash of concepts: friend and mourner by force of enumeration are equal in significance to the business office of executor, administrator, etc. and also to that of legatee.

Enumeration can be employed for the display of subjective evaluation of facts, things, situations:


There was a great deal of confusion and laughter and noise, the noise of orders and counter-orders, of knives and forks, of corks and glass-stoppers (J. Joyce).

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In poetic discourse enumeration is often aimed at producing solemn, elevated effect. Each subsequent element of the string intensifies the preceding one. Being brought together the elements of enumeration contribute to the developing of images, increase the emotional and aesthetic impact on the reader. Enumeration is often combined with climax (anticlimax), hyperbole. Enumeration raises the expressiveness of speech, makes it dynamic and informative.

Syntactic tautology

Syntactic tautology is repetition of semantically and grammatically similar language units within a sentence which results in the redundancy of information:


It was a clear starry night, and not a cloud was to be seen.

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In oral colloquial discourse tautological repetition may be caused by different psychological reasons (speakers excitement, fright, petrification, hesitation, grief, etc.) or by carelessness of speech, slipshod organization of the utterance, low cultural level of the speaker:

Well, Judge Thatcher, he took it and put it out of interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day a piece all the round. The widow Douglas, she took me for her son (M. Twain).

In some cases the tautology is viewed as a drawback of speech, since the unnecessary repetition of the same statement, repetition of the same word or expression of the same idea or statement in other words do not favour the stylistic value of the utterance and should be avoided. For example, as in the following incorrect Ukrainian phrases , , , , , etc

Generally speaking, involuntary tautology has little to do with stylistic. It becomes stylistically relevant when is used in writing with the aim of intensification of some semantic shades of the described notions, of creating different additional connotations, as the means of humour:


Why dont you shut your great big old gob? You poor bloody old fool (J. Osborn).

His Noontide Peace, a study of two dun cows under a walnut tree, was followed by A midday Sanctuary. A study of a walnut tree with tow dun cows under it (B. Malamud).

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One more type of tautological repetition consists in the use of more lexical units in a sentence than it is necessary to express the meaning. In other words it is a reduplication of semantically close words, as in -, -, -, , -, -, -, -, lovey-dovey, clitter-clatter, goody-goody, hush-hush, etc.

Repetition of this type is rooted in the tradition of folklore and is characteristic feature of nursery rhymes. In modern writing it performs the function of colloquial and folk stylization.



The arrangement of sentence members, the completeness of its structure necessarily involves various types of connection between sentence components and between sentences. Polysyndeton is stylistically motivated deliberate repetition of conjunctions or prepositions:


The raisins and almonds and figs and apples and oranges and chocolates and sweets were now passed about the table (J. Joyce).

Polysyndeton performs both formal and semantic function in the utterance. First of all, it shapes the rhythmical contour of the utterance and has a definite aesthetic impact on the reader or listener. Consequently it is the most frequent way to secure melody and rhyme in poetry or to impart rhythm, emotional tension and solemnity to emotive prose:

And then you came with those mournful lips.

And with you came the whole of the worlds tears,

And all the trouble of her labouring ships,

And all the trouble of her myriad years (J. Yeats).

He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife (E. Hemingway).

Secondly, polysyndeton imparts syntactic independence and logical significance to the sentence components joined by the common conjunction: the repetition of the conjunction unites these components and simultaneously singles out each of them and actualizes their meanings.







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Thus polysyndeton is one of the efficient means of logical and communicative allocation of the most important information.


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