Exercise 1. State the type and function of literary words in the following examples:
1. "I must decline to pursue this painful discussion. It is not pleasant to my feelings; it is repugnant to my feelings."
2. "I am not in favour of this modern mania for turning bad people into good people at a moment's notice. As a man sows so let him reap."
3. Isolde the Slender had suitors in plenty to do her lightest hest. Feats of arms were done daily for her sake. To win her love suitors were willing to vow themselves to perdition. But Isolde the Slender was heedless of the court thus paid to her.
4. "He of the iron garment," said Daigety, entering, "is bounden unto you, MacEagh, and this noble lord shall be bounden also."
5. If manners maketh man, then manner and grooming maketh poodle.
6. "Thou art the Man," cried Jabes, after a solemn pause, leaning over his cushion. "Seventy times didst thou gapingly contort thy visage – seventy times seven did I take council with my soul – Lo! this is human weakness: this also may be absolved. The first of the seventy first is come. Brethren – execute upon him the judgement written. Such honour have all His saints."
7. At noon the hooter and everything died. First, the pulley driving the punch and shears and emery wheels stopped its lick and slap. Simultaneously the compressor providing the blast for a dozen smith- fires went dead.
8. "They're real!" he murmured. "My God, they are absolutely real!" Erik turned. "Didn't you believe that the neutron existed?" "Oh, I believed," Fabermacher shrugged away the praise. "To me neutrons were symbols n with a mass of Mn= 1.008. But until now I never saw them."
9. Riding back I saw the Greeks lined up in column of march. They were all still there. Also, all armed. On long marches when no action threatened, they had always piled their armour, helmets and weapons in their carts, keeping only their swords; wearing their short tunics (made from all kinds of stuff, they had been so long from home) and the wide straw hats Greeks travel in, their skins being tender to sun. Now they had on corselets or cuirasses, helmets, even grades if they owned them, and their round shields hung at their backs.
10. There wasn't a man-boy on this ground tonight did not have a shield he cast, riveted or carved himself on his way to his first attack, compounded of remote but nonetheless firm and fiery family devotion, flag-blown patriotism and cocksure immortality strengthened by the touchstone of very real gunpowder, ramrod minnie-ball and flint.
11. Into the organpipes and steeples Of the luminous cathedrals,
Into the weathercocks' molten mouths
Rippling in twelve-winded circles,
Into the dead clock burning the hour
Over the urn of sabbaths...
Erupt, fountain, and enter to utter for ever
Glory glory glory
The sundering ultimate kingdom of genesis' thunder.
12. If any dispassionate spectator could have beheld the countenance of the illustrious man, whose name forms the leading feature of the title of this work, during the latter part of this conversation, he would have been almost induced to wonder that the indignant fire that flashed from his eyes, did not melt the glasses of his spectacles – so majestic was his wrath. His nostrils dilated, and his fists clenched involuntarily, as he heard himself addressed by the villain. But he restrained himself again – he did not pulverize him.
"Here," continued the hardened traitor tossing the license at Mr. Pickwick's feet; "get the name altered – take home the lady – do for Tuppy."
Exercise 2. Think of the type of additional information about the speaker or communicative situation conveyed by the following general and special colloquial words:
1. "She's engaged. Nice guy, too. Though there's a slight difference in height. I'd say a foot, her favor."
2. "You know Brooklyn?"
"No. I was never there. But I had a buddy at Myer was from Brooklyn."
3. I didn't really do anything this time. Just pulled the dago out of the river. Like all dagos, he couldn't swim. Well, the fellow was sort of grateful about it. Hung around like a dog. About six months later he died of fever. I was with him. Last thing, just as he was pegging out, he beckoned me and whispered some excited jargon about a secret.
4. "Here we are now," she cried, returning with the tray. "And don't look so miz."
5. "What's the dif," he wanted to know.
6. Going down the stairs he overheard one beanied freshman he knew talking to another. "Did you see that black cat with the black whiskers who had those binocks in front of us? That's my comp prof."
7. "Don't you intend to get married?" asked Eugene curiously. "I don't know," she replied, "I'd want to think about that. A woman-artist is in a d – of a position anyway," using the letter d only to indicate the word "devil".
8. "There we were... in the hell of a country – pardon me – a country of raw metal.
...It's like a man of sixty looking down his nose at a youth of thirty and there's no such God-darned – pardon me – mistake as that.
9. "All those medical bastards should go through the ops they put other people through. Then they wouldn't talk so much bloody nonsense or be so damnably unutterably smug."
10. "I thought of going to the flicks," she said. "Or we could go for a walk if it keeps fine."
11. "Let me warn you that the doc is a frisky bacheldore, Carol. Come on, now, folks, shake a leg. Let's have some stunts or a dance or something."
12. "Goddamn sonofabitching stool," Fishbelly screamed, raining blows on Bert's head. "Lawd Gawd in heaven, I'll kill, kill every chink-chink goddamn chinaman white man on this sonofabitching bastard earth."
13. There was a fearful mess in the room, and piles of unwashed crocks in the kitchen.
14. "Of course I've spent nine years around the Twin Cities – took my B.A. and M.D. over at the U, and had my internship in a hospital in Minneapolis."
15. "How long did they cook you?" Dongeris stopped short and looked at him.
"How long did they cook you?"
"Since eight this morning. Over twelve hours."
"You didn't unbutton then? After twelve hours of it?"
"Me? They got a lot of dancing to do before they'll get anything out of me."
16. "Nix on that," said Roy. "I don't need a shyster quack to shoot me full of confidence juice. I want to go through on my own steam."
17. "Go in there, you slob. I hope you get a hell of a lot of fun out of it. He looks too damned sick."
18. Just then Taylor comes down. "Shut up and eat," my mother says to him before he can open his mouth. In less than five minutes my father is back. "Keep the kids home," he says.
"My God." my mother says wearily, "them under foot all day."
19. "Don't wanna sleep, Don't wanna die, just wanna go a-travelin' ihrough the pastures of the sky."
20. "Never heard anything so bloody daft in all my life."
21. "You know. The mummies – them dead guys that get buried in them toons and all."
22. His expenses didn't go down... washing cost a packet, and you'd be surprised the amount of linen he needed.
23. "We'll show Levenford what my clever lass can do. I'm looking ahead, and I can see it. When we've made ye the head scholar of the Academy, then you'll see what your father means to do wi' you. But ye must stick in to your lessons, stick in hard."
24. Wee modest crimson tipped flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow'r
Thou bonnie gem.
25. "That's so, my lord. I remember having tae du much the same thing, mony years since, in an inquest upon a sailing vessel that ran aground in the estuary and got broken up by bumping herself to bits in a gale. The insurance folk thocht that the accident wasna a'tegither straightforward. We tuk it upon oorsels tae demonstrate that wi' the wind and tide setti' as they did, the boat should ha' been wellaway fra' the shore if they started at the hour they claimed tae ha' done. We lost the case, but I've never altered my opeenion."
Exercise 3. Compare the neutral and the colloquial (or literary) modes of expression:
1. "Also it will cost him a hundred bucks as a retainer."
"Huh?" Suspicious again. Stick to basic English.
"Hundred dollars," I said. "Iron men. Fish. Bucks to the number of one hundred. Me no money, me no come. Savvy?" I began to count a hundred with both hands.
2. "...some thief in the night boosted my clothes whilst I slept. I sleep awful sound on the mattresses you have here."
"Pinched. Jobbed. Swiped. Stole," he says happily.
"That's the next set of words I am decreasing my vocabulary by", said Atherton. "Tossing them all out in favor of –"
"Intoxicated?" I supplied.
"I favor fried," said Atherton. "It's shorter and monosyllabic, even though it may sound a little harsher to the squeamish-minded."
"But there are degrees of difference," I objected. "Just being tiddled isn't the same as being blotto, or-"
"When you get into the vocabulary-decreasing business," he interrupted, "you don't bother with technicalities. You throw out the whole kit and caboodle – I mean the whole bunch," he hastily corrected himself.
4. "Do you talk?" asked Bundle. "Or are you just strong and silent?"
"Talk?" said Anthony. "I burble. I murmur. I gurgle – like a running brook, you know. Sometimes I even ask questions."
5. "So you'll both come to dinner? Eight fifteen. Dinny, we must be back to lunch. Swallows," added Lady Mont round the brim of her hat and passed out through the porch.
"There's a house-party," said Dinny to the young man's elevated eyebrows. "She means tails and a white tie."
"Oh! Ah! Best bib and tucker, Jean."
6. "What do you really contemplate doing?"
"No Plaza? Not even when I'm in the chips?"
"Why are you so rich?"
7. "Obviously an emissary of Mr. Bunyan had obtained clandestine access to her apartment in her absence and purloined the communication in question." It took Lord Uffenham some moments to work this out, but eventually he unravelled it and was able to translate it from his butler's language. What the man was trying to say was that some low blister, bought with Bunyan's gold, had sneaked into the girl's flat and pinched the bally things.
8. "I say, old boy, where do you hang out?" Mr. Pickwick responded that he was at present suspended at the George and Vulture.
9. "The only thing that counts in his eyes is solid achievement. Sometimes I have been prostrate with fatigue. He calls it idleness. I need the stimulation of good company. He terms this riff-raff. The plain fact is, I am misunderstood."
10. "The scheme I would suggest cannot fail of success, but it has what may seem to you a drawback, sir, in that it requires a certain financial outlay."
"He means," I translated to Corky, "that he has a pippin of an idea but it's going to cost a bit."
11. Mrs. Sunbury never went to bed – she retired, but Mr. Sunbury who was not quite so refined as his wife always said: "Me for Bedford."
12. "He tried those engineers. But no soap. No answer."
13. "You want to know what I think? I think you're nuts. Pure plain crazy. Goofy as a loon. That's what I think."
14. The famous Alderman objected to the phrase in Canning's inscription for a Pitt Memorial "He died poor" and wished to substitute "He expired in indigent circumstances."
15. "I am Alpha and Omega – the first and the last," the solemn voice would announce.
16. The tall man ahead of him half-turned saying "Gre't God! I never, I never in all my days seen so many folks." Mr. Munn thought that he, too, had never seen so many people, never before.
17. It may sound to some like cold-blooded murder of the English tongue, but American kids have been speaking a language of their own since they annoyed their Pilgrim parents at Plymouth Rock.
Ask a teen-ager today what he thought of last night's rock show. If he liked it, it was "wicked" or "totally awesome". But if he didn't, it was "groady" or "harsh".
Young people punctuate their sentences with slang. They drop phrases that would make Professor Henry Higgins turn over in his grave. Twice.
"It's just like a dictionary that only teen-agers understand," said Michael Harris, 17, a high school student in Richmond, Va. "You go home and you have to spell it for your parents. They don't even know what you're talking about."
But this has been going on for years. Slang is as old as English itself, says Stuart Berg Flexner, editor-in-chief of the Random House Dictionary, author of the Dictionary of American Slang.
It offended puritan parents that their Pilgrim children took their traditional farewell – God be with you – and turned it into "good-bye", Flexner says.
Today's words are obsolete tomorrow.
"I may call somebody a jerk, but today they would call him a nerd," says Flexner, 54. "Each generation seems to want to have some of its own words."
Flexner considers slang a reflection of American pop culture. Words come and go like No. 1 hit songs. Once a word is widely known it may be dropped, relegated to the used-slang bin alongside "swell" from the '50s and "groovy" from the '60s.
Others stick around like golden oldies.
"There are classics. Once a good phrase comes along it's pretty hard to replace it," says Scott Wenger, 19, a New York University student. Flipped" out still means crazy and "pulling an allnighter" still means to study hard until small hours of the morning for exams."
Teen-agers may dream up slang, but adults use it too. Julia Shields, 42, a high school English teacher in Charlottesville, Va., is an avowed user.
"I love slang, think it's colorful, wonderful, metaphoric. Some of it is quite clever," she says. "I hate it, but I call everything "neat". It's such a horrible, vague, meaningless word. But I use it in every sentence."
Slang is not the talk of board rooms and diplomatic sessions. Because young people spend more time informally than adults, and slang is a product of relaxing the rules, high schools and college campuses are breeding grounds for it.
Exercise 4. Speak about the difference between the contextual and the dictionary meanings of italicized words:
1. Mr. James Duffy lived in Chapelizod because he wished to live as far as possible from the city of which he was the citizen and because he found all the other suburbs of Dublin mean, modern and pretentious.
2. He does all our insurance examining and they say he's some doctor.
3. He seemed prosperous, extremely married and unromantic.
4. "What do you think?" The question pops their heads up.
5. We tooled the car into the street and eased it into the ruck of folks.
6. He inched the car forward.
7. "Of course it was considered a great chance for me, as he is so rich. And – and – we drifted into a sort of understanding – I suppose I should call it an engagement –"
"You may have drifted into it; but you will bounce out of it, my pettikins, if I am to have anything to do with it."
8. He sat with the strike committee for many hours in a smoky room and agonized over ways and means.
9. Betty loosed fresh tears.
10. When the food came, they wolfed it down rapidly.
11. He had seen many places and been many things: railroad foreman, plantation overseer, boss mechanic, cow-puncher, and Texas deputy- sheriff.
12. Station platforms were such long, impersonal, dirty, ugly things, with too many goodbyes, lost hearts, and tears stamped into the concrete paving.
13. "Let me say, Virginia, that I consider your conduct most unbecoming. Nor at all that of a pure young widow."
"Don't be an idiot. Bill. Things are happening."
"What kind of things?"
14. I need young critical things like you to punch me up.
15. Oh! the way the women wear their prettiest every thing!
Additional practical assignments:
Exercise 1. Describe the type of vocabulary used in the following statements:
1. At the seminar the professor will outline the assessment criteria and then, give his paper.
2. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence commeth my help.
3. Youth's trauma in blazing inferno. Heartbroken mother makes agonised plea.
4. John Brown, Maple Leaf Cottage, Greenholme, Essex.
5. What matters in life is honesty, trust, courage, and thrift. All these lead to happiness.
6. This is a classic Burgundy, vintage 1989, with lots of finish.
Exercise 2. Say, which of the following pairs are close synonyms:
1. fabulous – fantastic,
2. dramatic – theatrical,
3. heavenly – celestial,
4. strength – power,
5. reverence – respect,
6. nervous – anxious.
Exercise 3. Pick out any slang terms in these statements:
1. "He's won the lottery and got loads of dosh."
2. "Give me lots of spuds with my dinner."
3. "Put the kettle on, and we'll have a cup of Rosy Lee."
4. "He squealed to the cops, and that put a spanner in the works."
5. "The tea-leaves scarpered with all the moolah."
6. "She's got big blue eyes and a nice pair of pins."
Exercise 4. Define the stylistic value of each of the following words: 1) neutral; 2) common literary; 3) common colloquial; 4) special literary (specify); 5) special colloquial (specify):