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ISSN 2227-6017 (ONLINE), ISSN 2303-9868 (PRINT), DOI: 10.18454/IRJ.2227-6017
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.23670/IRJ.2021.112.10.095

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Фокина М. С. КЛАССИФИКАЦИЯ ЛИНГВИСТИЧЕСКИХ ИГР / М. С. Фокина // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2021. — № 10 (112) Часть 3. — С. 143—146. — URL: https://research-journal.org/languages/classification-of-language-games/ (дата обращения: 02.07.2022. ). doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2021.112.10.095
Фокина М. С. КЛАССИФИКАЦИЯ ЛИНГВИСТИЧЕСКИХ ИГР / М. С. Фокина // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2021. — № 10 (112) Часть 3. — С. 143—146. doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2021.112.10.095

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КЛАССИФИКАЦИЯ ЛИНГВИСТИЧЕСКИХ ИГР

КЛАССИФИКАЦИЯ ЛИНГВИСТИЧЕСКИХ ИГР

Научная статья

Фокина М.С.*

ORCID: 0000-0003-1790-9416,

Российский государственный педагогический университет им. А.И. Герцена, Санкт-Петербург, Россия

* Корреспондирующий автор (aivengomag[at]gmail.com)

Аннотация

Статья посвящена вопросу классификации англоязычных лингвистических игр. Несмотря на то, что попытки привести множество игр в организационное единство предпринимались с середины прошлого века, таксономический результат предпринятых изысканий не удовлетворяет всем нуждам лингвистического исследования. Цель статьи состоит в том, чтобы предложить классификацию лингвистических игр, которая представила бы ее элементы как иерархическую организованную систему единиц разной величины и сложности, являющихся скорее форой выражения языка, чем интеллектуальной деятельностью или стилистическим приемом. Для составления классификации был применен уровневый подход Э. Бенвениста, в результате которого было установлено, что некоторые игры проявляют черты смежных языковых уровней и являются точками перехода к более сложным и организованным языковым единствам.

Ключевые слова: лингвистическая игра, игра слов, уровни лингвистического анализа, лудические операции, двойственная природа языка, единица языка.

CLASSIFICATION OF LANGUAGE GAMES

Research article

Fokina M.S.*

ORCID: 0000-0003-1790-9416,

Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Saint Petersburg, Russia

* Corresponding author (aivengomag[at]gmail.com)

Abstract

The article is devoted to the issue of classification of the English language games. Though the attempts of investigating and organizing multiple language amusements have been taken since the middle of the XXth century the result does not satisfy the needs of linguistic research. This article is aimed at fulfilling the classification that would reveal the interdependence of smaller and larger language units and display a language game as a manifestation of a language rather than an activity or device. For this purpose, the variety of language games were contemplated through the prism of E. Benveniste’s approach and disposed into the hierarchy of interconnected levels. The result reveals that some games gain ambiguous features from adjacent levels and convey the complex nature of a language.

Keywords: language game, wordplay, levels of linguistic analysis, ludic operations, ambiguous nature of language, language unit.

Introduction

The study of language games and wordplays though started back in the middle of the XXth century still rises growing concern among linguists and logologists. The linguists dedicated to thorough research of various language phenomena are predisposed to maintain a cogent connection between the stylistic functioning of a language and the domain of a human’s recreational activity. According to the prevalent linguistic approach, language games and wordplays are treated as a speech play conveying humorous and esthetical effects achieved through buffoonery and wittiness [2, Р. 172-173, 214]. Thus, the object of linguistic research is represented by play on words such as puns of paronomasia (“Casting my perils before swains” M. McLuhan), puns of antanaclasis (“Your argument is sound, nothing but sound” B. Franklin), and puns of syllepsis or zeugma (“Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey I Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea” A. Pope). On the other hand, in the field of recreational linguistics language games and wordplays are notable for their ambiguous nature. Not only do they serve as means of joking and witty talk but also compile amusing intellectual activities, the interplay of elements of language that, according to D. Morice, achieves a linguistic “special effect” beyond ordinary communication [9]. Language amusements encompass thuswise puns and other language games such as flats, crosswords, and nursery rhymes enlarging the range of objects for further research. This article is aimed at fulfilling the complex classification of language games which appreciates both stylistic and recreational needs.

The earlier attempts of composing the classification of language games were undertaken by foreign as well as Russian researchers. Thus, D. Liubich compares language games with lego toys whose elements are interconnected by means of ludic transitions. According to D. Liubich, there are four types of ludic transitions: from a formal / semantic condition to a known structure (word, sentence, text) / a new structure [1, P. 8]. As for the formal condition, the plane of expression is paramount for the result of a game (the presence of certain letters and their combinations) whereas the content plane plays the key role in the semantic condition. Taking into account the foregoing features, one can hardly separate formal and semantic conditions for the majority of language games which makes the classification of games based on the divisions of transitions relative. For instance, the anagram is widely used as a separate game and as a ludic device for major games. Formal features of anagrams are revealed in the game Word Ping-Pong which supposes players to develop an anagram chain irrespective of the meaning of its elements (last – lash – cash – past – pant – …). At the same time, the wordplay Espygram requires anagrams suitable both in form and meaning for a light verse. Here is the sample of Espygram from The Game of Words by W. Espy [8, Р. 40]:

Drinking Song

He **** for gold,

As I for ale;

I’ve **** of this:

Of that has he.

For me a kiss

**** Holy Grail;

He’d go cuckold

To **** a fee.

Yet, ****! I wist

(And I’d **** bail)

He’d pay fourfold

To be like me.

(Answer: opts, pots, tops, spot, stop, post)

The logologist R. Eckler offers the following brief taxonomy of language games [6, Р. 10-11]. According to the patterns of words, language games are subdivided into those based on single-word patterns (palindromes, tautonyms), multiple-word patterns (pangrams, word squares), and patterns dependent on alphabetic order. According to the operations on words, there are language games based on elementary operations (deletion, insertion) and complex operations (combinations of deletion, insertion, and transposition of letters). According to the relationship between sight and sound in words, R. Eckler singles out games based on homonymy (bear – bare), silent letters (aisle, rendezvous), added letters, and reduced syllables (aged – staged). It should be noted that R. Eckler’s approach covers a great variety of language games and elaborates specific ludic devices as well as linguistic phenomena laid in their structure. However, the object of a game with the approach applied is narrowed to a separate word. Consequently, all language games should have been treated as mere word recreations, irrespective of larger semantic units or graphical elements. Thus, there are language games which do not match R. Eckler’s classification, such as Enigma – a riddle or a pun based on an obscure or ambiguous allusion. Though made of interdependent words, Enigma requires a nontrivial answer resulted of the transposition of images and concepts rather than letters and sounds. One of the famous Enigmas is the biblical riddle of Samson, the last Israeli judge. According to the Book of Judges, Samson had killed a lion and later found that a hive of bees had made honey in the lion’s carcass. He posed the riddle to the Philistines, who agreed to let him go of he could ask them a riddle that they could not solve [10, Р. 162]:

Out of the eater came something to eat;

Out of the strong came something sweet.

Answer: A honeycomb in the body of a dead lion.

Another play that does not fit the classification is Emblematic Poetry. The result of the amusement is a stanza shaped like its subject matter. Thus, the plain of expression comes equally to the plain of content creating the unity of form and meaning. According to C. C. Bombaugh, Emblematic Poetry was popular during the seventeenth century. The following poem is written by G. Wither (1588-1677). Its form reveals the tension and climax of a farewell [4, Р. 94].

Rhomboidal Dirge

Farewell,

Sweet groves, to you!

You hills that highest dwell,

And all you humble vales, adieu!

You wanton brooks and solitary rocks,

My dear companions all, and you my tender flocks!

Farewell, my pipe! and all those pleasing songs whose moving strains

Delighted once the fairest nymphs that dance upon the plains.

You discontents, whose deep and over-deadly smart

Have without pity broke the truest heart,

Sighs, tears, and every sad annoy,

That erst did with me dwell,

And others joy

Farewell!

 

Results

The obstacle for compiling a comprehensive classification lays in the supposition that language games serve as a manifestation of language in its complexity. A possible solution seems in the investigation of ludic values and operations applied to language units, following the structural hierarchy of language levels, suggested by a well-known Belgian linguist E. Benveniste at the IX International Congress of Linguists [3, Р. 101-112] and accepted by most scholars today if not in its entirety, then at least as the basis for further elaboration and development.

Thus, all language games could be classified according to the levels of linguistic analysis. The material of the analysis consists of more than 500 language games and wordplays borrowed from H. Eiss’s Dictionary of Language Games, Puzzles and Amusements [7].

To begin with, phono-graphical level is presented by language games with the smallest structural units of language in oral (phonemes) and written (graphemes) manifestations. The object of the game is to gain the result by ludic operations with sounds and letters. Abbreviations serve as a vivid example of phono-graphical games. If done consistently for a lengthy passage or an entire book, Abbreviations result in a literary dialect. Here is the first paragraph from Ch. Dicken’s A tale of Two Cities in full and mutilated forms.

(original) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us <…>

(abbreviated) T ws th bst f tms, t ws th wrt f tms, t ws th ag f wdm, t ws th ag f fls, t ws th eph f blf, t ws th eph f icdty, t ws th ssn f Lgt, t ws th ssn f Dks, t ws th spg f hp, t ws th wtr f dspr, w hd evythg bfr s, w hd nthg bfr s <…>.

Morphological level is represented by language games with the smallest meaningful units of language (morhemes). There are such games as Prefixes and Suffixes in which participants should find as many words with the designated affixes as possible. The game Beheadment stays on the border of phono-graphical and morphological levels since the new word is produced by removing the keyword’s first letter which could be either a prefix or a mere grapheme (amoral – moral, cluck – luck).

Lexical level is composed of language games with words and word collocations. The cluster of lexical games is rich with various amusements. Though the object of a game is an independent word or short phrase the lexical level games are strongly connected to phono-graphical and morphological ones. For instance, one of the most popular word games in the world is Scrabble. Scrabble is a crossword game played on a fifteen by fifteen grid with a set of one hundred letter tiles, each of which has a certain number value. In general, players should make up words in the grid in the crossword manner out of the seven random letter tiles. On the one hand, the minimal operating unit in the game is a grapheme noted on a letter tile, on the other – the combination of letter tiles could produce a word consisting of a single morpheme (e.g. play) or a lexeme (playful). The process of decision-making in the game displays the interdependence of the hierarchy of language levels.

Syntactical level consists of language games with larger lexical units such as a sentence or a text. A common representative of this level involves the group writing of a story as in the Consequences game. Each player is given a sheet of paper and starts by writing at the top an adjectival phrase descriptive of a male person. The top of the paper is then folded over to hide the phrase, and the paper is passed to the next player. The entire listing consists of the descriptions of a man, a woman, a place where they met, and other circumstances. The finished papers are read aloud with the transitional phrases included. The collective writing usually results in humorous ideas and unexpected twists of the story:

The happy energetic Mr. Simphins met the modest Miss Robinson in the Thames Tunnel. He gave her a sly glance, and said to her, ‘Do you love the moon?’. She replied, ‘Not if I know it’. The consequence was they sang a duet, and the world said, ‘Wonders never cease’.

Another type of syntactical games is a game with a ready-made text such as Aguish languish. The Anguish languish is a term used by H. Chase for elaborate puns of paronomasia. For purposes of humor, he would replace the words of familiar folk tales with other syntactically related shorter words similar in sound but unrelated in meaning. This is a sample from Little Red Riding Hood rewritten in the Anguish languish [5, Р. 19-20]:

(original) Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived with her mother in a little cottage on the edge of a large, dark forest. This little girl often wore a pretty little red cloak, with a little red hood, and for this reason, people called her Little Red Riding Hood.

(The Anguish languish) Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage, honor itch offer lodge dock florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

The creator of Aguish speculates on the advantages of the language. They are fun, verbal economy, attention, dialect-free space, improvement of English skills, and wide usage [5, Р. 11-18]. In fact, Languish demonstrates the similar values presented by L. Shcherba’s Glokaya kuzdra. In Anguish translation all word collocations are meaningless, but clusters of phonemes are real and – to some extent – provide enough semantics for the phrase to be perceived as a meaningful text hidden behind the homophonic transformation.

Conclusion

The foregoing classification presents an attempt to organize the variety of English language games according to the level principle of linguistic analysis. The main advantage of this approach is the conception of language amusements as the hierarchy of elements of a language structure rather than separate activities, devices or ludic operations. The ludic activity based on language units is not separated from the language but displays its manifestations in multiple forms. However, it seems impossible to put all the variety of language games into strict borders ignoring its complex ambiguous nature. Thus, there are games which lay between the borders of language levels serving as uniting elements in hierarchy of language units. 

Конфликт интересов

Не указан.

Conflict of Interest

None declared.

 

Список литературы / References

  1. Любич Д. В. Лингвистические игры / Д. В. Любич. – Санкт-петербург: Издательство Буковского, 1998. – 272 с.
  2. Русская разговорная речь. Фонетика. Морфология. Лексика. Жест / отв. ред. Е. А. Земская. – М.: «Наука», 1983. – 239 с.
  3. Benveniste E. Problems in general linguistics / E. Benveniste. – Miami: University of Miami Press, 1971. – 371 p.
  4. Bombaugh C. Oddities and curiosities of words and literature / C. Bombaugh. – New York: Dover Publications, 1961. – 388 p.
  5. Chace H. Anguish languish / H. Chace. – New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1956. – 63 p.
  6. Eckler R. Word recreations : games and diversions from Word Ways / R. Eckler. – New York: Dover Publications, 1979. – 135 p.
  7. Eiss H. The Dictionary of Language Games, Puzzles, and Amusements / H. Eiss. – Westport: Greenwood Press, 1986. – 278 p.
  8. Espy W. The game of words : the remarkable exuberance of the English language / W. Espy. – New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. – 2003. – 296 p.
  9. Morice D. The Dictionary of Wordplay [Electronic Resource] / D. Morice. – New York: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2001. – 293 p. – [Electronic resource]. URL: https://read.amazon.com/?asin=B00GDLGWNY (accessed: 04.09.2021)
  10. The Book of Judges : commentary / ed. by P. R. Ackroyd, A. R. C. Leaney, J. W. Packer. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975/ 234 p.

Список литературы на английском языке / References in English

  1. Ljubich D. V. Lingvisticheskie igry [Language Games] / D. V. Ljubich. – Sankt-peterburg: Bukovski Publishing house, 1998. – 272 p. [in Russian]
  2. Russkaja razgovornaja rech’. Fonetika. Morfologija. Leksika. Zhest [Russian Colloquial Speech. Phonetics. Morphology. Lexis. Gesture] / edited by E. A. Zemskaja. – M.: «Nauka», 1983. – 239 p. [in Russian]
  3. Benveniste E. Problems in general linguistics / E. Benveniste. – Miami: University of Miami Press, 1971. – 371 p.
  4. Bombaugh C. Oddities and curiosities of words and literature / C. Bombaugh. – New York: Dover Publications, 1961. – 388 p.
  5. Chace H. Anguish languish / H. Chace. – New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1956. – 63 p.
  6. Eckler R. Word recreations : games and diversions from Word Ways / R. Eckler. – New York: Dover Publications, 1979. – 135 p.
  7. Eiss H. The Dictionary of Language Games, Puzzles, and Amusements / H. Eiss. – Westport: Greenwood Press, 1986. – 278 p.
  8. Espy W. The game of words : the remarkable exuberance of the English language / W. Espy. – New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. – 2003. – 296 p.
  9. Morice D. The Dictionary of Wordplay [Electronic Resource] / D. Morice. – New York: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2001. – 293 p. – [Electronic resource]. URL: https://read.amazon.com/?asin=B00GDLGWNY (accessed: 04.09.2021)
  10. The Book of Judges : commentary / ed. by P. R. Ackroyd, A. R. C. Leaney, J. W. Packer. – Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975/ 234 p.

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