Pusat Program Luar/FBMK
Program Bersemuka I
Semester 2 2012/13
Kursus: BBL 3207
23 FEBRUARI 2013
BBL 3207
Language in Literature:
An Overview
Course Synopsis
This course covers the interconnections between
language and literature. It introduces the use of
language in literary texts as a methodical approach
in the study of literature, and explores definitions of
literature and literariness. The course traces the
development of the study of literature which
focuses on language from traditional literary
criticism to the study of style or stylistics in
linguistic criticism. It also examines the value of a
linguistic method in reading literature.
BBL 3207 – Course Objectives
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. analyse the interconnections between language and literature(C4),
2. explain the main concepts in the study of language in literary texts (P2),
3. discuss the value of using linguistics as a methodology in reading literature
(A4) and,
4. accept new ideas and develop autonomous learning (LL)
Topics for 1st half of semester:
1. Introduction: connection between language
and literature
2. Foregrounding: Deviation and parallelism
3. Structure: Shapes and patterns
4. Choice of lexical: figurative expressions
5. Sentence structure
Assignment I
Mid-Semester Exam
Assignment 2
Final Exam
• Ordinary language
–makes an ordinary use of the
possibilities of language design.
–made up of many kinds of normative
• Literary language
– makes an extraordinary use of these possibilities
 this makes the text more memorable
– Particular linguistic patterning
– Extends and modifies normative structures of
language in unusual ways
In reading a text, we create a perception of that text.
The perception of a literary text is affected by
language design, and by the relationship of the text
to the literary tradition
we burn paper
we burn wood
we burn oil
we burn fuel
we burn daylight
The object of “burn” has to denote a concrete, combustible
material or be a more general term for such materials.
What does it mean by “burn daylight”?
‘burnt’ destroyed/used up
Possible meaning = we are using up daylight (metaphor)
“we burn daylight”
Consider the context:
- Romeo and Juliet: Montagues gatecrashing
Capulet ball (first meeting of R&J)
- Reference to torches: burning is literal,
daylight is metaphorical  a joke
Combination of linguistic, contextual and
general world knowledge  basis for inferring
an appropriate interpretation
What seems to distinguish literary from nonliterary usage may be the extent to which the
phonological, grammatical and semantic
features of the language are salient, or
foregrounded in some way.
• Foregrounding is a significant literary stylistic device
based on the Russian Formalist's notion that the very
essence of poeticality lies in the "deformation" of
• "Foregrounding" literally means "to bring to the
• The writer uses the sounds of words or the words
themselves in such a way that the readers' attention
is immediately captivated.
• Foregrounding works in two ways:
1. by distortion against a norm,
2. by imposing regularity in grammatical patterns over
and above those designated by the language repetition or parallelism.
Distortion can be studied under deviation, and can take
place at any ‘level’ of language i.e. lexical, grammatical,
phonological, historical, graphological, semantic and
others (Leech :1981).
What is ‘foregrounding’?
• In a purely linguistic sense,
the term ‘foregrounding’
is used to refer to new
information, in contrast to
elements in the sentence
which form the
background against which
the new elements are to
be understood by the
listener / reader.
• In the wider sense of stylistics, text linguistics,
and literary studies, it is a translation of the
Czech aktualisace (actualization), a term
common with the Prague Structuralists.
– In this sense it has become a spatial metaphor:
that of a foreground and a background, which
allows the term to be related to issues in
perception psychology, such as figure / ground
• The English term ‘foregrounding’ has come to
mean several things at once:
– the (psycholinguistic) processes by which - during
the reading act - something may be given special
– specific devices (as produced by the author) located
in the text itself. It is also employed to indicate the
specific poetic effect on the reader;
– an analytic category in order to evaluate literary
texts, or to situate them historically, or to explain
their importance and cultural significance, or to
differentiate literature from other varieties of
language use, such as everyday conversations or
scientific reports.
• Thus the term covers a wide area of meaning.
• This may have its advantages, but may also
be problematic: which of the above meanings
is intended must often be deduced from the
context in which the term is used.
Devices of Foregrounding
• Outside literature, language tends to be
automatized; its structures and meanings are
used routinely.
• Within literature, however, this is opposed by
devices which thwart the automatism with
which language is read, processed, or
• Generally, two such devices may be
distinguished, deviation and parallelism.
• Deviation corresponds to the traditional idea of
poetic license: the writer of literature is
allowed - in contrast to the everyday speaker to deviate from rules, maxims, or conventions.
– These may involve the language, as well as literary
traditions or expectations set up by the text itself.
– The result is some degree of surprise in the reader,
and his / her attention is thereby drawn to the
form of the text itself (rather than to its content).
– e.g. neologism, live metaphor, or ungrammatical
sentences, as well as archaisms, paradox, and
• Devices of parallelism are characterized by
repetitive structures: (part of) a verbal
configuration is repeated (or contrasted),
thereby being promoted into the foreground
of the reader's perception.
– e.g., rhyme, assonance, alliteration, meter,
semantic symmetry, or antistrophe.
Phonological deviation
1. Syllable omission
“Goody, goody. Pay’er back for all those “Rise an’
Shines.”(Lies down, groaning) You know it don’t take much
intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura.
But who in hell ever got himself out of one without
removing one nail?” (Tom, 175)
“Pay’er”(=pay her ), “Rise an’ Shines”(=Rise and Shine)
(from The Glass Menagerie)
Levels of language
• Language is not merely a mass of sounds and symbols, but is
instead an intricate web of levels, layers and links.
Levels of Language
Phonology; Phonetics:
The sound of spoken language; the way
words are pronounced
The patterns of written language; the
shape of language on the page
The way words are constructed; words and
their constituent structures
Syntax; grammar
The way words combine with other words
to form phrases and sentences
Lexical analysis;
The words we use; the vocabulary of a
The meaning of words and sentences
Pragmatics; discourse
The way words and sentences are used in
everyday situations; the meaning of
language in context.
“That puppy’s knocking over those pot plants!”
Graphology: Roman alphabet, in a 12 point emboldened
‘Georgia’ font. Exclamation mark suggests an emphatic style of
vocal delivery.
Phonology: Potential for significant variation in much of the
phonetic detail of the spoken version (e.g. the /t/ vs. ‘glottal
stop’ ; /r/ variations ; /ing/ vs. /in/ ). The social or regional
origins of a speaker may affect other aspects of the spoken
Morphology: 3 constituents: two root morphemes (‘pot’ and
‘plant’) and a suffix (the plural morpheme ‘s’), making the word a
three morpheme cluster.
“That puppy’s knocking over those pot plants!”
Grammar: A single ‘clause’ in the indicative declarative mood. It
has a Subject (‘That puppy’), a Predicator (‘’s knocking over’) and
a Complement (‘those potplants’).
Semantics: The demonstrative words ‘That’ and ‘those’ express
physical orientation in language by pointing to where the
speaker is situated relative to other entities specified in the
sentence( deixis) - suggest that the speaker is positioned some
distance away from the referents ‘puppy’ and ‘potplants’.
Pragmatic: This sentence in a two-party interaction will be
understood as a call to action on the part of the addressee. Yet
the same discourse context can produce any of a number of
other strategies – compared with “Sorry,but I think you might
want to keep an eye on that puppy..’ (politeness)
Phonological deviation
Pronunciation deviation from the norm
Often happens to interjection, which is deliberately
pronounced longer, expressing a stronger emotion
When Laura and Jim talks about her unicorn, her long
answer shows that she has a deep feeling toward the glass
“Mmm-hmmm!” (Laura, 205)
(from The Glass Menagerie)
Phonological deviation
3. Done deliberately in regard to the rhyme, just to
keep the poems rhymed.
e.g. wind (N) / wind /
wind (V) / waind/
Graphological Deviation
• Related to type of print, grammetrics, punctuation,
indentation, etc.
1. Parenthesis – explains a specific action / certain /
separate situation,
When Amanda called Tom to be seated by the table, Tom’s
reply showed his reluctance to his mother.
“Coming. Mother.” (He bows slightly and withdraws,
reappearing a few moments later in his place at the table.)
(Tom, 164)
Graphological Deviation
2. Capital
“What’s the matter with you, you---big---big---IDIOT!”
(Amanda, 172)
Phonological and graphological deviation are often
closely linked. This is because authors sometimes use
respelling to provide information about how something
sounds when spoken aloud, often to capture (and
emphasize) regional or social variation.
‘Man….dis life no easy’ (Zadie Smith 2000)
Graphological Deviation
• Poets often disregard the rules of writing. They write words
in such a way without any boundaries in lines, space, or
~ E.E. Cumming ~
seeker of truth
follow no path
all paths lead where
truth is here
Lexical Deviation
• The coining of entirely new words (neologism)
When he awakened under the wire, he did not feel as though he
had just cranched. Even though it was the second cranching
within the week, he felt fit (Cordwainer Smith 1950).
The prefix fore is applied to verbs like ‘see’ and ‘tell’.
T.S. Eliot uses the term ‘foresuffer’.
• Functional conversion of word class
But me no buts (Henry Fielding 1730)
Syntactical Deviation
• Poet disregards the rules of sentence
i. fastened me flesh
ii. A grief ago (Dylan Thomas)
iii. “the achieve of, the mastery of the things” (Hopkins,
the Windhover)
• Typical word order can be altered to produce
particular effects
What dire Offence from am’rous Causes springs
(Alexander Pope 1714)
Morphological Deviation
• Involves adding affixes to words which they
would not usually have, or removing their
‘usual’ affixes;
• Breaking words up into their constituent
morphemes, or running several words
together so they appear as one long word
Morphological Deviation
a billion brains may coax undeath
from fancied fact and spaceful time
(e.e. cummings 1960)
resssandwichepottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesoda water
(Kenneth Grahame 1908)
Semantic deviation
• Tranference of meaning
• phrase containing a word whose meaning violates
the expectations created by the surrounding words
e.g., “a grief ago” (expect a temporal noun)
“in the room so loud to my own” (expect a spatial
Semantic Deviation
1. Simile - describes one thing as another using
such words “like” or “as”. Simile also has the
power of making language visual and vivid.
Laura’s separation increases till she is like a piece of her
own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move
from the shelf. (Glass Menagerie, 161)
Semantic Deviation
2. Metaphor – one thing describes another
without the use of ‘like’ or ‘as’
“So it is! A little silver slipper of a moon. Have you
made a wish on it?” (Amanda, 182)
• Another method of foregrounding
• Repeated structure
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
(Shakespeare, As You Like It)
Wind is greater than usual / the speaker has stronger
feelings about it than usual
No pain felt she; / I am quite sure she felt no pain
(Robert Browning, Porphyria’s Lover)
Foreground the notion that the murder caused no
physical discomfort to the victim, and thus signals once
more the fact that the speaker might be disturbed,
might be distorting the truth, and might not be giving
an accurate account of the events narrated.
• Parallel structure joins together two or more
recognizably similar, yet not identical structures
• Repeated elements
• Can occur at all levels of language (phonological,
syntactic, morphological etc.)
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised
for our iniquities
(Isaiah, 53, v)
Phonological parallelism
• Rhyming verse
• Alliteration, assonance, consonance
"the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple
curtain." (Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven)
Severus Snape," "Luna Lovegood," "Rowena Ravenclaw
(characters in Harry Potter series)
Syntactic / grammatical Parallelism
"Thinking less, feeling more. Doing less, being more.
Fearing less, loving more.“
Also, lexical parallelism i.e. ‘less/more’
word  phrase  clause
The birds are in their nests and in their nests they sing.
Each morning we sing, each morning we dance, and each
morning we pray.
Parallelism and effect
Parallelism is more than just a repetition of sentence structure. The thoughts
expressed by the repeating pattern are also repeated. When we talk of things
being in parallel, then the things are of equal force and have the same tone.
He was a tender young man, he was a gentle young man, he was an
affectionate young man. He was the man everyone wanted.
In the example above, the repeating thought is that of a young man of very
warm affection.
Parallelism in prose aims at basically two things:
1. Reinforcing ideas of importance and
2. Making the text more pleasurable to the reader.
In the first instance, if the writer wants to reinforce a certain idea or thought,
he will repeat it by using a cyclic pattern: he will repeat sentence structure or
word order. The overall effect is that the reader will notice the point that he
wants to emphasise and pay particular attention to it.
Parallelism and effect
• Parallelism in prose also aims at pleasuring the
reader. We are naturally musical by nature and
are sensitive to rhythm. Not only do we notice
rhythmical patterns, but we also enjoy them.
Thus, a passage imbued with parallelism is
enjoyable and memorable.
Parallelism and effect
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,
we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going
direct the other way...
(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities? )
The language of poetry
Little Bo-peep
Has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know where to find them
Leave them alone
And they will come home
Waggling their tails behind them
Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through wind and murky air
Forms of sound patterning
• Rhyme: full rhyme,
incomplete rhyme
• Alliteration
• Assonance
• Consonance
• Repetition
• Rhyme:
– two words rhyme if their final stressed vowel and
all following sounds are identical;
– two lines of poetry rhyme if their final strong
positions are filled with rhyming words.
|Humpty |Dumpty |sat on a |wall
|Humpty |Dumpty |had a great |fall
|All the king’s |horses and |all the king’s |men
|Couldn’t put |Humpty to|gether a|gain
Full rhyme
• Sometimes known as perfect, true or exact rhyme. This is a case
when the stressed vowels and all following consonants and
vowels are identical, but the consonants preceding the rhyming
vowels are different e.g. chain, drain; soul, mole. In other words
this is a case of near-exact repetitions of end-sounds.
Incomplete rhyme
• Also known as half-rhymes, which are not exact repetitions
but are close enough to resonate e.g. supper, blubber.
• Alliteration: repetition of the initial consonant
of a word
– Magazine articles: “Science has Spoiled my Supper”
and “Too Much Talent in Tennessee?”
– Comic/cartoon characters: Beetle Bailey, Donald
– Restaurants: Coffee Corner, Sushi Station
– Expressions: busy as a bee, dead as a doornail,
good as gold, right as rain, etc...
– Novels: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff,
Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin”
• The repetition of sound, usually consonant, at the
beginning of words.
• sweet smell of success, a dime a dozen, bigger and
better, jump for joy
• And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind.
• Assonance: Repetition of vowel sounds to
create internal rhyming within phrases or
– The sound of the ground is a noun.
– Hear the mellow wedding bells. (Poe)
– And murmuring of innumerable bees
– The crumbling thunder of seas (Stevenson)
– That solitude which suits abstruser musings
– Dead in da middle of little Italy, little did
we know that we riddled some middle men
who didn't do diddily. (Big Pun)
• Consonance: The repetition of two or more
consonants using different vowels within words.
– All mammals named Sam are clammy
– And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple
curtain (Poe)
– Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectile /
Whether jew or gentile I rank top percentile. (Hiphop music)
• a word that imitates the sound it represents
• Example:
splash, wow, gush, kerplunk
• Examples: Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the
dark inn-yard, / He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but
all was locked and barred; Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard
it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear; / Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the
distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
("The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes)
• Words that imitate the sound they are
• OR sounds that imitate another sound
“The silken, sad, uncertain, rustling of
each purple curtain . . .”
• Repetition:
– “Words, words, words.” (Hamlet)
– “This, it seemed to him, was the end, the end of a
world as he had known it...” (James Oliver Curwood)
– “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the
landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in
the streets, we shall fight in the hills… we shall
never surrender.” (Winston Churchill)
• “What lies behind us and what lies before us are
tiny compared to what lies within us.” (Ralph
Waldo Emerson)
• The regular periodic beat.
• “a unit which is usually larger than the syllable, and which
contains one stressed syllable, marking the recurrent beat,
and optionally, a number of unstressed syllables” (Leech
(1969): 105).
• It may involve a succession of weak and strong stress; long
and short; high and low and other contrasting segments of
utterance. Rhythm can occur in prose as well as in verse.
• Meter is a type of rhythm of accented and unaccented
syllables organized into feet, aka patterns.
• It is determined by the character and number of syllables in a
line. Meter is also dependent on the way the syllables are
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
(Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18”)
• The above line consists of ten syllables that show a pattern of unstressed
and stressed syllables: 1st syllable unstressed, 2nd syllable stressed, 3rd
syllable unstressed…. 10th syllable. The unstressed syllable is underlined
while the stressed syllable is in bold (Cumming 2006).
Foot – stress patterning
• A foot is made up of a pair of unstressed and stressed
syllables. Thus, the above line altogether contains five feet (see
Shall I..|.. compare |.. thee to..|.. a sum..|.. mer’s day?
Stress patterning
Iamb: 2 syllables, unstressed + stressed
Trochee: 2 syllables, stressed + unstressed
Anapest: 3 syllables, 2 unstressed + stressed
Dactyl: 3 syllables, stressed + 2 unstressed
Spondee: 2 stressed syllables
Pyrrhic: 2 unstressed syllables
5 types of Feet
Unstressed + Stressed
Stressed + Unstressed
Stressed + Stressed
"To be or not to be"
Two Syllables (Shakespeare’s
"Double, double, toil
and trouble."
Two Syllables
Two Syllables
"I arise and unbuild it
Unstressed + Unstressed +
Three Syllables again" (Shelley's
Stressed + Unstressed +
Three Syllables
Metrical patterning
Dimetre: 2 feet
Trimetre: 3 feet
Tetrametre: 4 feet
Pentametre: 5 feet
Hexametre: 6 feet
Heptametre: 7 feet
Octametre: 8 feet
Meter depends on the type of foot and the number of feet in
a line. Below are the types of meter and the line length:
One Foot
Two Feet
Three Feet
Four Feet
Five Feet
Six Feet
Seven Feet
Eight Feet
Shall I..|.. compare |.. thee to..|.. a sum..|.. mer’s day?
Here's an example of how a line by Shakespeare
is divided into feet:
from FAIR | est CREA | tures WE | deSIRE |
Intimations of Immortality – Robert Frost
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
Choice of lexical: Figurative expressions
• Friends, Romans and
Countrymen, lend me your
Anthony in Shakespeare’s
Julius Caesar
O, my luve is like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O, my luve is like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
Robert Burns
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances.
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages …
William Shakespeare
There is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings;
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked Scythe and Spade.
James Shirley (1596-1666)
A figure of speech that consists of the use
of the name of one object or concept for
that of another to which it is related, or of
which it is a part,
They were short of hands at harvest time.
(part for whole)
Have you any coppers? (material for thing
He is a poor creature. (genus for species)
He is the Newton of this century.
(individual for class)
A figure of speech in which a part is used
for the whole or the whole for a part, the
special for the general or the general for
the special
Sentence Structure
Checking our grammatical intuitions
We are going to look at three clauses, or simple sentences, taken
from Ted Hughes's 'Esther's Tomcat', all of which describe the
Daylong this tomcat lies stretched flat
As an old rough mat, no mouth and no eyes.
Continual wars and wives are what
Have tattered his ears and battered his head.
Like a bundle of old rope and iron
Sleeps till blue dusk. Then reappear
His eyes, green as ringstones
[Daylong this tomcat …. Sleeps till blue dusk.]
Then reappear his eyes….
Over the roofs go his eyes and outcry.
His eyes and outcry go over the roofs.
The tomcat still grallochs the odd dog on the
quiet, will take the head clean off your simple
pullet. Is unkillable.
What is deviant about this sentence?
Grammatical structure and grammatical
The two sentences below use exactly the same
words, but clearly mean different things.
• John kisses Mary
• Mary kisses John
What is it about these two sentences which
gives rise to the different meanings?
'John' and 'Mary' have different
grammatical functions in the sentences
Functions of words and phrases in
Simple sentences and clauses in English are made up of
five functional elements:
Subjects (S)
Predicators (P)
Objects (O)
Complements (C)
Adverbials (A).
Although these five elements do not turn up in every
sentence (we will begin to see why below), they have a
strong tendency to occur in the above order.
The SPOCA elements are functional constituents
of sentences.
In the simple cases, they each consist of a
phrase, but those phrases 'do different jobs' (i.e.
have different functions) in sentences and
consist of
verb phrases (e.g. 'ate', 'had been eating', 'is', 'was being') which can be
used to express tense and aspect)
function as
The centre of English sentences and clauses, around which everything
else revolves
They express actions (e.g. 'hit'), processes (e.g. 'changed', 'decided')
and linking relations (e.g. 'is', 'seemed')
They are the most obligatory of English sentence constituents
Mary loves John (transitive predicator),
John had been running (intransitive predicator),
John seems quiet (linking predicator)
consist of
noun phrases (NPs) (e.g. 'a student', 'John')
function as
The topic of the sentence, and the 'doer' of any action expressed by a
dynamic predicator and normally come before that predicator .
Subjects are the next most obligatory element after predicators
Mary loves John,
The exhausted student had been running,
John seems quiet
consist of
noun phrases (NPs)
function as
the 'receiver' of any action expressed by a dynamic predicator, where
relevant and normally come immediately after that predicator.
Objects are obligatory with transitive predicators (but do not occur with
intransitive or linking predicators)
Mary loves John,
The exhausted student had eaten all his food,
Mary has the biggest ice cream
Transitive predicators: predicators that require an
object (I like pies)
Intransitive predicators: predicators that can be used
without a direct object. Verbs like come and go and
die do not need objects. Contrast verbs like 'make'
and 'catch', which are transitive. Some verbs can
function both intransitively and transitively, eg.
Complements consist of
noun phrases (e.g. 'a student') or adjective phrases (e.g. 'very happy')
and normally come immediately after a linking predicator (when they
are subject complements) or an object (if they are object complements)
Complements are obligatory with linking predicators
function as
the specification of some attribute or role of the subject (usually) or the
object (sometimes) of the sentence
John is a student,
The exhausted student is ill,
Mary made her mother very angry
consist of
adverb phrases (AdvPs: e.g. 'soon', 'then' 'very quickly', prepositional
phrases (PPs: e.g. 'up the road', 'in a minute' or noun phrases (e.g. 'last
Tuesday', 'the day before last')
function as
the specification of a condition related to the predicator (e.g. when,
where or how the predicator process occurred)
Adverbs are the most optional of the SPOCA elements and can
normally occur in more positions than the other SPOCA elements,
though the most normal position for most adverbials is at the ends of
Then John walked up the road,
The exhausted student became ill last Thursday,
Next Mary stupidly made her mother very angry on her wedding
What phrases will we find in each of
the sentence elements?
Noun Phrase
Verb Phrase
Noun Phrase
Adjective Phrase or
Noun Phrase
Adverb Phrase or
Prepositional Phrase or
Noun Phrase
What are the most common (conventional)
orderings of the sentence elements?
John / laughed
John / ate / the student
John / is / crazy
John / laughed / mysteriously
John / ate / some more students / on Thursday
The rest of the students / voted John / maniac of the year
The students / gave / John / his bus fare to the asylum
A Noun Phrase which refers to the entity which is the
topic of the sentence (what the sentence is about), and
if the predicator of the sentence is a dynamic verb,
the subject is the "doer" of the action. Usually comes
first in the sentence, before the Predicator.
A Verb Phrase which expresses the action/process or
relationship in the sentence.
A Noun Phrase which refers to the entity which is the recipient of the
action/process. Only occurs with transitive
Predicators. Usually comes after the Predicator.
C = COMPLEMENT A Noun Phrase or Adjective Phrase which normally comes after a linking
Predicator and expresses some attribute or role of the SUBJECT.
Sometimes it expresses an attribute or role of the OBJECT. Almost
always comes after the Predicator.
An Adverbial, Prepositional or Noun Phrase which usually specifies
some condition related to the Predicator, e.g. when, where or how
some action occurred. It is by far the most mobile of the sentence
elements, and can occur in many different positions in a sentence (the
other four sentence elements are much more fixed). Its most normal
position is at the end of the sentence, however.
Hence the ordering S-P-O-C-A
• Notice that unusual orderings are deviant and
so produce foregrounding. Consider, for
(i) Crazy John is.
(ii) with not a soul having seen us
Analysing some simple sentences
using SPOCA analysis
• (i) Work out what kind of phrase each
constituent is (NP, VP, AdjP, AdvP, PP)
• (ii) Show the SPOCA structures of the
sentences they occur in.
Analysing some simple sentences
using SPOCA analysis
John loves Mary.
Mary loves John.
John was very annoyed.
The hungry student hates overcooked cabbage.
The telephone rang.
The cheerful woman was kissing her radiant
husband with great abandon.
7. Mary lifted the receiver angrily within two
Thank you for listening…
All the best!
Dr. Zalina Mohd Kasim
E-Mail: zalina@fbmk.upm.edu.my
Phone: 03-89468733
FBMK Room No. A153
(1st Floor, Language Studies Block, Faculty of
Modern Languages and Communication
Recommended Reading
• Simpson, P. (2004) Stylistics: a Resource Book for Students. London:
• Short, M. (1996) Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose.
London: Longman.
• Leech, G. N. (1969) A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry. London:
• Simpson, P. (1997) Language through Literature: an Introduction.
London: Routledge.
• Cummings, M. & R. Simmons (1983) The Language of Literature: a
Stylistic Introduction to the Study of Literature. Oxford: Pergamon
• Culpeper, J., M. Short, & P. Verdonk (1998) Exploring the Language
of Drama: from text to context. London: Routledge.
• Verdonk, P. (2002) Stylistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

BBI 3207 Language in Literature