Research article
Issue: № 8 (110), 2021


Научная статья

Сапожникова А.Ю.*

ORCID: 0000-0001-8209-1150,

Волховский филиал Российского государственного педагогического университета им. А.И. Герцена, Волхов, Россия

* Корреспондирующий автор (anna_sapozhn[at]mail.ru)


В данной статье анализируются синтаксические средства выражения эмоций в текстах анималистической поэзии одного из крупнейших англоязычных авторов рубежа XIX – XX веков - Томаса Харди. Авторская позиция Харди, выражающаяся в гуманном отношении к животным и сопереживании им, находит свое отражение в выборе языковых средств произведений его анималистического цикла, в том числе синтаксических. На материале произведений Харди описывается расширение эмоционально-экспрессивных возможностей английского синтаксиса, новые смыслы, которые обретают клишированные эмоционально-экспрессивные синтаксические конструкции. Синтаксис поэзии Харди исследуется в опоре на методики и труды крупнейших ученых, посвященные выражению эмоций в языке и речи. Материалы и результаты исследования могут быть применены в курсе преподавания истории зарубежной литературы, спецкурсах по европейскому стиховедению в вузе.

Ключевые слова: анималистическая лирика, Томас Харди, синтаксис, эмотивность, эмоционально-экспрессивные синтаксические конструкции.


Research article

Sapozhnikova A.Yu.*

ORCID: 0000-0001-8209-1150,

Volkhov branch of Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Volkhov, Russia

* Corresponding author (anna_sapozhn[at]mail.ru)

Abstract This article describes and discusses the syntactic means of expressing emotions in the texts of animalistic poetry by one of most prominent English-speaking authors at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries – Thomas Hardy. Hardy's subjective position, precisely humane and kind attitude towards animals, which is reflected in his animalistic cycle, is emphasized. The expansion of the expressive possibilities of English syntax in Hardy’s animalistic lyrics is described. The syntax of Hardy's poetry is analyzed with the help of methods worked out by the most eminent linguists devoted to the emotions in language and speech. The materials and results of the research can be applied in the course of teaching the History of Foreign Literature, special courses in European verse at the university. Keywords: animalistic lyrics, Thomas Hardy, syntax, emotiveness, emotionally expressive syntactic constructions. Introduction

Thomas Hardy, alongside with Rudyard Kipling, Ted Hughes, is one of the greatest English-speaking poets of the 20th century [5]. However, Hardy’s prose texts have been studied to a much greater extent than his lyrical ones.

Among the variety of topics which are developed in Hardy's poetry, the topic of humane treatment of animals, which is important for understanding the author's life position, stands out [3]. The kind relationship to animals and birds also meant for the author the connection of all living beings. Hardy often personifies animals, emphasizing the fact that everyone can be in the place of this animal. In the lyrical texts of animalistic cycle which are analyzed below (“Ah, are You Digging on my Grave?”, “The Robin”, “The Blinded Bird”. “The Puzzled Game-birds”, “The Roman Gravemounds”, “Dead “Wessex” Dog to the Household”), these feelings and emotions of the author are expressed with the help of certain linguistic means and devices.

The language has a wide set of means of expressing emotions used in the complex. Emotions as a psychological phenomenon turn into emotiveness at the language level; thus, emotions should be understood as a psychological category, and emotiveness as a linguistic one [9, P. 7-13].

Methods and principles of the research

In this research we employed the following methods: the method of linguistic stylistic analysis, statistic analysis, contextual analysis, and elements of the method of descriptor linguistic analysis.


Many famous scholars, namely V.I. Shakhovski [9], S.V. Ionova [2], I.V. Arnold [11], and others, turned their attention to such notions as emotiveness and expressivity. They understand emotiveness as language means potential to express inner state and attitude of the speaker. As for expressivity of language means, its key feature is ability to influence the reader/listener emotionally.

These two notions become very close when we speak about the fictional text analysis, because while creating the fictional text, the authors aim not only at expressing their own emotions, but to evoke the same emotions within the readers. Lyrical texts are even more expressive and emotional than prosaic ones [10, P.109]. Thus, such terms as “emotionally expressive syntax” [6], [7], “emotionally expressive syntactic construction” (sometimes shortened for EESC) [1] appeared and became widely spread in text linguistics.

Syntactic linguistic means are considered the most potentially expressive among other means of the language, as “psychologically a person accepts syntactic construction (usually a clichéd one) as a piece of expressive information” [2, P.14].

Modern linguistic theories suggest various approaches to the emotive sphere of fictional text. Mostly the aforementioned theories are connected with the analysis of lexical and graphical emotives, but there are also some works where grammatical, precisely, syntactic linguistic markers of emotiveness are suggested as the material for the analysis. In these studies, complex unity of English emotives is termed as functional semantic field of emotiveness (FSFE) [1].

FSFE is a multi-level structure where the kernel zone, the perikernel zone, the near periphery zone, and the far periphery zone can be singled out (see Picture 1).

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Fig. 1 – Functional semantic field of emotives (FSFE) in English syntax (according to A.S. Ilinskaya [1])

  1. In the kernel zone only constructions expressing special emotive meaning are included (“What (a) + Noun!”, “How (so) + Adjective (Adverb)!”, “If only …!” / As if …!”). Samples of such constructions which are given here and below are cited from the analyzed lyrical texts by T. Hardy.

 “So zestfully thou canst sing!” [12, P.142] (“The Blinded Bird”)

 The emotionally expressive syntactic construction is aimed at conveying feeling of admiration for the wonderful singing of a bird which was previously blinded by its owners (there was a belief that blinded birds sing better).

What use!

What good will planting flowers produce?” [12, P. 148] (“Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?”)

The emotional constructions given above convey deep feeling of mourning and loss.

The constructions mentioned above are, however, not very numerous, and are found in the analyzed texts only sporadically (see Picture 2).

  1. The perikernel zone of FSFE comprises syntactic units where the emotionally expressive semantics is realized through the additional, connotative semes (such as parethesis, elliptical sentences, rhetorical questions, inverted constructions, various kinds of repetitions) [1].

In the given lyrical texts rhetorical interrogative sentences can be frequently met as variants of such perikernel zone constructions .

So zestfully canst thou sing?...

Who suffereth long and is kind,

Is not provoked, though blind

And alive ensepulchred?

Who hopeth, endureth all things?

Who thinketh no evil, but sings?

Who is divine?” [12, P.142] (The Blinded Bird)

«String chain» of rhetorical questions provokes interest within the readers, influences them emotionally.

“They are not those who used to feed us –

When we were young – they cannot be!” [12, P. 129] (The Puzzled Game-birds)

The combination of slightly varied syntactic repetition (they are not… they cannot be) with parenthetical enclosure (“…- when we were young -…”) deepens the effect of puzzle and despair expressed by the game-birds being murdered by those who had once fed and tamed them.

The key types of EESC in the poem “Dead "Wessex" The Dog To The Household” are triple paralleled constructions (the lines cited below are repeated thrice in the corresponding stanzas). Such multiple repetition expresses the dog’s attachment to the owner, his belief in the owner’s fidelity.

“Do you think of me at all…” (stanza 1).

“Do you look for me at times…” (stanza 2).

“You may hear a jump or trot…” (stanza 3).

“Should you call as when I knew you…” (stanza 4). [12, P. 133]

In another Hardy’s poem “The Robin” EECS is represented by enumeration with polysyndeton, the aim of which is to illustrate numerous happy events in the bird’s life, endless positive emotions.

“I stand and look,

And stop and drink,

And bathe my wings,

And chink, and prink.” [12, P.131]

The EESC from the perikernel zone of FSFE (parenthetical enclosure “…,see,..”and partial invertion in his basket he has brought”) are found in Hardy’s text “The Roman Gravemounds”.

“But no; in his basket, see, he has brought

A little white furred thing, stiff of limb”. [12, P.122]

The storyteller seems to disbelieve what he sees (the owner of the cat came to bury the animal near the gravemounds of Roman warriors).

“It is this [cat’s death], and not Rome, that is moving him” [12, P.122] (Roman Gravemounds).

 “Could she [a cat] but live, might the record die of Caesar, his legions, his aims, his end!” [12, P. 123] (Roman Gravemounds)

In the second example the emotionally expressive syntactic construction (It is this….that is), combined with parenthesis (…and not Rome) is used to emphasize the storyteller’s love for his pet (the cat whom he brought to bury not far from the Roman gravemounds). In the third quotation the double inverted structure in the conditional sentence (the main part and the clause) highlights the insignificance of all historic tragedies, including the Roman Empire fall, compared to the loss of the beloved animal.

  1. In the close periphery zone of FSFE we find language units which realize the emotionally expressive semantics only potentially in the certain context (see Picture 1). For instance, these are the emotive variants of declarative and interrogative sentences.

“Here say you that Caesar's warriors lie?

But my little white cat was my only friend!” [12, P. 123]

The regular interrogative construction “Do you say that Caesar’s warriors lie here?” and the regular declarative one “My little white cat was my only friend” are substituted by their emotive variations (by additions of colloquial question formula, exclamation mark, adversative conjunction “but”).

As an example of contextual morphological emotives (or non-conventional grammatical markers of emotiveness [1]) in Hardy’s animalistic lyrics, the use of archaic forms of the verbs can be mentioned.

“So zestfully thou canst sing!..

Who suffereth long and is kind,

Who hopeth, endureth all things?

Who thinketh no evil, but sings?

Who hath charity?” [12, P. 127]

The examples from the analyzed lyrics illustrating the bulk of the EESC belonging to the perikernel and the far periphery zone of FSFE proved to be the most numerous (see Picture 2).

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Fig. 2 – FSFE of animalistic lyrical texts by T. Hardy

Note: in brackets the statistics of the EESC occurrence is given

  1. The far periphery zone of FSFE comprises language units the main function of which is the nomination and description of emotional situations, that is, nominants and descriptors of the emotions (see Picture 1) [1]:

- lexical nominants of feelings and emotions: “I search and search but find no meal, // And most unhappy then I feel” (“The Robin”);

- interjectional enclosures: «Ah, are you digging on my grave?», «Ah, no», «Ah, yes», «’O it is I» (“Ah, are you digging on my grave?”);

- phraseological descriptors:

“No tendance of her mound can loose

Her spirit from Death's gin”. (Ibid.)

Phraseological unity “Death’s gin” stands for emotionally neutral lexeme “grave”.

Their quantity in the given lyrical texts is substantial, but doesn’t prevail over the emotionally expressive syntactic constructions described above (see Picture 2).

Consequently, having studied all levels of FSFE in T. Hardy's animalistic poetry, we found out that EESC are the main means of expressing emotiveness in the aforementioned texts. They are represented by various types of interrogative, parenthetic, emphatic constructions, as well as repetitions. It is worth mentioning that often emotives of other language levels occasionally appear in a sentence containing EESC, reinforcing the effect expressed by the author (the so-called convergence of stylistic devices):

“And a happy bird am I, am I!” [12, P.131]

The convergence of the repeated inverted EESC (am I, am I) with the lexical descriptor of emotional state (happy), and graphical descriptor of this state (exclamation mark) reinforces the reader's impression of a joyful bird's state in summertime.

"Ah, are you digging on my grave?...

Then who is digging on my grave?...

Ah yes, you dig upon my grave... “ (“Ah, Are you Digging On my Grave?”)

Slightly varied repetition of interrogative structure («…Are you digging on my grave?») is reinforced by the addition of graphical (italics, three dots) and lexical (interjections – “ah”; “ah yes”) descriptors.


Having analyzed the animalistic lyrical texts by Thomas Hardy and having collected the statistic data (see Picture 2), we found out that in the functional semantic field of emotiveness of the given texts the majority of language units with emotive semantics is concentrated not in the kernel zone of the field (the sphere of emotive denotation), but in the perikernel zone and its close periphery (the sphere of emotive connotations and emotive potential respectively, which are represented by different EESC).

Thus, in the texts of his animalistic verse Thomas Hardy expands the emotionally expressive possibilities of English syntax, implying in them new meanings, which is quite consistent with the concept of the creative aspect of English syntax (as opposed to lexical and morphological levels) noted by modern researchers [2]. Undoubtedly, with the help of these means the poet managed to convey his sincere empathy for the fate of the animals and birds described by him.

No wonder the animalistic poetry by Thomas Hardy found response among the writer’s contemporaries and sounds actual nowadays as well.

Конфликт интересов Не указан. Conflict of Interest None declared.

Список литературы / References

  1. Илинская А. С. Грамматические маркеры эмоциональности в английском языке: дисс. … канд. филол. наук: 10.02.04. / Илинская Анастасия Сергеевна. - Барнаул, 2007. – 185 с.
  2. Ионова С. В. Эмотивность текста как лингвистическая проблема: дисс. … канд. филол. наук: 10.02.04. / Ионова Светлана Валентиновна. – Волгоград, 1998. – 197 c.
  3. Крылова М.П. Лирическая поэзия Томаса Харди: дисс. … канд. филол. наук: 10.01.03. / Крылова Мария Петровна. - СПб, 2007. – 221 с.
  4. Маслова А.А. Эмотивные высказывания (на материале русского и сербского языков) / А.А. Маслова. - М., 2007. – 32 с.
  5. Михальская Н.П., История английской литературы / Н.П. Михальская. - М., 2006. – 478 с.
  6. Оковитая Ю.Ф., Экспрессивные синтаксические конструкции в языке рекламы: соотношение структуры и значения: дисс. … канд. филол. наук: 10.02.04. / Оковитая Юлия Фаридовна. – Краснодар, 2004.- 142 с.
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  10. Эсалнек, А.Я Теория литературы / А.Я. Эсалнек. – М.: Наука, 2010. – 208 с.
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Список литературы на английском языке / References in English

  1. Ilinskaja A.S. Grammaticheskije marker emozional`nosti v anglijskom jazike [Grammatical markers of emotionality in the English language] dis… of PhD in Philology: 10.02.04 / Ilinskaja Anastasija Sergejevna. - Barnaul: [b.i.], 2007. – 185 p. [in Russian]
  2. Ionova S.V. Emotivnost’ teksta kak lingvisticheskaja problema [The text’s emotiveness as a lingustic problem] dis… of PhD in Philology: 10.02.04 / Ionova Svetlana Valentinovna. – Volgograd: [b.i.], 1998. – 197 p. [in Russian] 15, 9 13
  3. Krylova M.P. Liricheskaja pojezija Tomasa Hardi [The lyrical poetry by Thomas Hardy] dis… of PhD in Philology: 10.01.03 / Krylova Marija Petrovna. – SPb, [b.i.], 2007. – 221 p. [in Russian]
  4. Maslova A.A. Emotivnyje vyskazyvanija (na materiale russkogo i serbskogo jazikov) [Emotive utterances (on the material of Russian and Serbian languages)] / A.A.Maslova. - Мoscow, 2007. – 32 p. [in Russian]
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