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МОСКОВСКИЙ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННЫЙ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ

имени М.В. ЛОМОНОСОВА


Филологический факультет

Е.В. Михайловская, О.В. Сапунова

WHAT’S IN A STOP?
THE SEMICOLON IN FICTION THROUGH
THE PRISM OF PRAGMAPHONOSTYLISTICS

Учебное пособие

Москва
2019
1
УДК 802.0(075.8)
ББК 81.2Англ-я73
М69
Рецензенты:
доцент кафедры английского языкознания
филологического факультета МГУ имени М.В. Ломоносова
канд. филол. наук М.Ю. Прохорова,
старший преподаватель кафедры иностранных языков
юридического факультета МГУ имени М.В. Ломоносова
канд. филол. наук Е.А. Амочкина

Михайловская Е.В., Сапунова О.В.


М69 What’s in a Stop? The Semicolon in Fiction through the Prism of Pragma-
phonostylistics : учебное пособие / Е.В. Михайловская, О.В. Сапунова. –
М.: Издательство «Наука», 2019. – 114 с.
ISBN 978-5-6043112-6-4
Настоящее пособие является продолжением серии учебных пособий, по-
священных прагмалингвистическим проблемам английской пунктуации (см.
также Магидова И.М., Михайловская Е.В. “The ABC of Reading”, 1999 г.). В по-
собии рассматриваются особенности функционирования одного из так называ-
емых «тяжелых» знаков – точки с запятой – в современной британской художе-
ственной литературе. Особый упор делается на просодические характеристики
знака и его использование для создания фоностилистических эффектов. Издание
содержит ряд заданий, основанных на прагмалингвистических методах модели-
рования знаков препинания и предназначенных для самостоятельного изучения.
Задания сопровождаются развернутыми ключами.
Пособие предназначено для студентов, магистрантов и аспирантов язы-
ковых вузов и факультетов, а также для всех изучающих английский язык
на продвинутом этапе.
УДК 802.0(075.8)
ББК 81.2Англ-я73
Учебное издание
Михайловская Екатерина Владимировна, Сапунова Ольга Валерьевна
WHAT’S IN A STOP?
The Semicolon in Fiction through the Prism of Pragmaphonostylistics
Учебное пособие
Техническая подготовка макета в печать Игнатовой Е.С.
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Отпечатано с материалов, предоставленных авторами, в типографии издательства.

ISBN 978-5-6043112-6-4 © Михайловская Е.В., 2019


© Сапунова О.В., 2019
2
Contents

Introduction ............................................................................................................. 4
Chapter One. Talking Heads by Alan Bennett ........................................................ 9
Her Big Chance ........................................................................................................ 9
A Lady of Letters ................................................................................................... 15
Bed Among the Lentils .......................................................................................... 22
A Chip in the Sugar ............................................................................................... 34
Soldiering On ......................................................................................................... 58
Chapter Two. The Lying On of Hands by Alan Bennett ....................................... 85
Conclusions .......................................................................................................... 102
References ............................................................................................................ 104
Appendix 1 ........................................................................................................... 106
Appendix 2 ........................................................................................................... 110
Appendix 3 ........................................................................................................... 112

3
Introduction
The increasing popularity of computer technologies and the Internet has
resulted in the fact that reading as ‘information retrieval’ is beginning to assert its
dominance over the other kinds of reading – first and foremost, its philological
variety [Maguidova, Mikhailovskaia, 1999]. The usual practice here is that the
reader just briefly scans a text on the computer screen to pick up some facts and
ignores the way the text is written. The situation gets more aggravated when it comes
to reading fiction: not only does the reader lose any interest in the way the text is
written, what is its general aesthetic-artistic purport, but he or shw are not equipped
with the necessary skills to be able to appreciate the author’s manner of writing and
the global aesthetic-artistic design.
It has generally been assumed that philological reading is aimed at appreciating
the artistic imagery of the text and penetrating into its author’s artistic design. As
special research in the field has shown, this goal can be achieved only by applying the
principles of philological phonetics1, which presuppose that the reader should ‘hear’
the text in his/her mind’s ear [Akhmanova, 1896]. The main task here is to extract the
sound potential that has been encoded in the written original and in this way to
understand the text better. As a special research in the field has shown [Magidova,
Mikhaylovskaia, 1999; Азарова, 2001], different elements of the written text can
prompt the reader in doing so. Among these are punctuation marks which have long
been the subject of linguistic research in the field of syntax [Александрова, 1979,
1984] and linguostylistics [Азарова, 2001; Михайловская, 2018].
Pragmalinguistics as a separate branch of linguistics focusing on the way this
or that linguistic phenomenon functions in speech and showing it most clearly in
specially modelled pragmalinguistic texts [Ахманова, 1987; Магидова, 1989,
Maguidova 2008], too, included punctuation marks in its studies. However, the main
focus here has so far been on the comma [Баранова, 1996] and the colon
[Михайловская, 2018]. As for the semicolon, its functioning in the artistic text has
not so far received all the attention it deserves. In the present book the semicolon
has been ‘shifted’ from the periphery of the pragmalinguistic study to its centre. In
other words, this is a step forward in the pragmalinguistic study of the functioning
of the semicolon in fiction and the specificity of its prosodic expression. It
concentrates on both semiotic and metasemiotic functions of the semicolon, which
makes it possible to highlight the stylistic potential of the semicolon and the
opportunities it offers when used for the stylistic purposes, as a stylistic device.
Prosodic peculiarities of the stop are described in the guide to complement and
develop the well-established ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’ [Arapieva, 1985].
Most generally, the semicolon can be defined as a ‘weighty’ stop performing
its functions on two levels: syntactic and metasemiotic. In grammar books and
teaching materials only the former function is represented, with two major cases
1
This branch of anglistics has being developed since the middle of the 1980-s. One of the most tangible results
in the field were achieved at the Department of English Linguistics, Lomonosov Moscow State University.
4
normally mentioned: 1) linking / separating independent, i. e. grammatically
complete, semantically related clauses within a compound sentence (the condition of
primary importance is the grammatical independence of the clauses); 2) separating
elements of the enumeration set. The semicolon is highly recommended if the parts it
is to link/separate are extended, i. e. already contain commas.
However, the stop also performs a metasemiotic function or, in other words,
produces a pragmatic effect, i. e. either highlights most prominent information in the
sentence or adds expressive-emotional-evaluative overtones to the text. This is
especially true of works of verbal art which present original, exceptional in their artistic
scope and quality, texts, heavily loaded with numerous stylistic nuances and overtones.
In what follows we shall rely on a classification of the functions of the
semicolon on both the syntactic and metasemiotic levels. Thus, the syntactic
functions of the stop are as follows:
1. Function of complementation: 1) developing the same idea in a new
clause; 2) specifying the preceding statement; 3) introducing a new fact;
4) presenting several events or actions in a sequence; 5) adducing a sequence of
commands expressed by the imperative verbal forms; 6) marking off the border
between the elements of an enumeration set; 7) establishing a cause – effect
relationship; 8) separating a gerund construction from the rest of the sentence.
2. Function of Contrast.
Yet on the metasemiotic level – especially in verbal art – the semicolon may
demonstrate a wider range of functions aimed at introducing stylistic nuances,
namely: 1) showing ‘the thinking process’; 2) producing ‘the camera effect’;
3) giving ‘the final touch’ to the preceding statement; 4) presenting an ‘effective
result’ [Сапунова, 2017; Сапунова, 2018].
In the book we shall study the selected samples from fiction with the help of
several methods, including those of pragmalinguistics:
 lexical analysis;
 linguostylistic analysis;
 method of pragmaphonostylistic confrontation including three kinds of
pragmalinguistic experiment: experimental replacement of the stop in question,
‘punctuating a blind text’ and ‘punctuating a sound blind text’;
 auditive analysis of audio and video material;
 instrumental analysis conducted with the help of the program Speech Analyzer
(version 3.0.1).
The contribution the semicolon makes to the stylistic arrangement of fiction
is most thoroughly and clearly demonstrated in the book with the help of a range of
specially elaborated pragmaphonostylistic materials, including several contrasted
variants and multimodal texts of TV adaptations, which highlight some of the most
important characteristics that distinguish the content plane and the expression plane
of the semicolon in fiction.
5
The material for the present study was selected from the two works by
Alan Bennett (born in 1934 in Leeds, Yorkshire), a contemporary British writer,
dramatist and actor. He became famous mainly for his satirical comedies, such as
Beyond the Fringe (1960, published in 1963), and the play Forty Years On (1968,
published in 1969). He gained his acting experience while studying at Oxford
University, where he was a member of The Oxford Revue, a group of students who
wrote and performed comedy shows. Among his works of other genres are the novels
The Insurance Man (1986) and Single Spies (1988); a series of monologues Talking
Heads, originally written for television (1987, published in 1988); and plays The
Madness of George III (1994) and The History Boys (2006), which – along with the
story The Lady in the Van (2015) – were adapted for the screen and gained broad
popularity. One of his recent works is Keeping On Keeping On (2016), a collection
of diary notes he was making from 2005 to 2015. In addition, the voice of Alan
Bennett is easily recognizable by those who listened to Alice’s Adventures in
Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh.
Alan Bennett’s monologues Talking Heads were written specially to be
adapted for television, and later were staged as well2. Each story in the series is told
by a character in the form of ‘a confession’: only the speaker is present on the screen
and attracts all the attention; the camera gradually zooms to take an extreme close-
up. It is only natural, then, that to sound more convincing the monologues are
deliberately written as free, conversational speech. Thus, all the pieces belong to the
colloquial style [Виноградов, 1963], which is manifested lexically (words marked
as spoken, informal), grammatically (personal pronouns and auxiliaries omitted,
both the noun and the corresponding personal pronoun used within one sentence)
and stylistically (elliptic and nominal sentences).
The material chosen for the present guide includes:
1) the text of the two books by Alan Bennett:
 five monologues from the series Talking heads (1997): A Chip in the Sugar,
A Lady of Letters, Bed Among the Lentils, Her Big Chance and Soldiering On
 a short novel The Laying On of Hands (2000);
2) the audio material:
 the audio book Talking Heads (1997) recorded by the author himself (A Chip
in the Sugar) and professional actresses (the rest of the monologues);
 the audio book The Laying On of Hands (2000) recorded by the author
himself;
 the recordings of the passages borrowed from Talking Heads that were read
by a highly qualified Russian anglicist;

2
The television version of the monologues became immensely popular and brought the author Lawrence
Olivier Award. Stephen Fry composed a parody on the series in his sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry and
Laurie; the piece was ironically entitled Gossiping Heads.
6
3) the video material, namely the television adaptation (1992) of the aforementioned
monologues performed by the author himself (A Chip in the Sugar) and
professional actors (the rest of the monologues).
It is worth mentioning that the two kinds of audio versions and the video versions
of the passages appeared to be performed in a drastically different manner. Thus, the
variants presented by the anglicist are vivid illustrations of the ‘philological reading’
and in most cases accurately correspond to the ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’.
The variants recorded by professional actors3 are less reserved and can be called the
samples of ‘voice acting’, since they express emotions of the character more eagerly; at
the same time, they do not stick to the prosody typical of each particular stop but rather
play upon modulating the main prosodic parameters (pitch, pausation, tempo, loudness,
timbre) to convey the author’s design more fully and to create a more vivid sound
picture. The video versions create a multimodal image by means of the combination of
visual and audial components [Сорокин, Тарасов, 1990: 180-181]; here the actors
focus on acting and thus not infrequently violate the ‘rules’ for the sake of delivering
the artistic purport as convincingly as possible and impressing the audience.
Prosodically the audio and video variants of the monologues do not stick to
the recommended prosody: the actors feel free to change the prosodic parameters
and play upon them, since their primary purpose is to convey the author’s design
and impress the audience.
The guide is comprised of two chapters. Chapter One is aimed at
demonstrating the semiotic and metasemiotic functioning of the semicolon in
modern English artistic prose with reference to the aforementioned classification.
The primary goals of this chapter are:
- to see whether the prosody described in the classification as ‘recommended’ for
each particular case is reproduced by speakers;
- to study the possible modulations produced by the Russian anglicists and to
describe the resultant changes in the content plane in case they take place;
- to study the possible modulations produced by the author and the actresses and to
describe the resultant changes in the content plane of the text in case they take place.
This chapter of the guide opens with an example of pragmalinguistic analysis
of one particular excerpt from the monologue Her Big Chance (the one from the series
The Talking Heads), followed by a set of self-study tasks for the readers (extracts
taken from the aforementioned series: A Lady of Letters, Bed Among the Lentils, A
Chip in the Sugar and Soldiering On). Each task is followed by a detailed expansion
in the ‘Commentary’ section to check up the answers and compare the results.
Chapter Two analyses the functioning of the semicolon in one more piece of
fiction by Alan Bennett – The Laying On of Hands. The short novel is different from
the series of monologues in the way that it presents a piece of literature proper which
was written specifically to be read and not to be staged or performed. This means
3
We can refer to Alan Bennett as to a professional actor as well, since he has the corresponding educational
background and experience of performing.
7
that the author was free to make it more ‘literary’ in a way and to employ those
literary devices which in Talking Heads would much hamper reading it aloud.
This chapter is intended to achieve the following goals, namely, to find out:
1) whether one-to-one correspondence is established between the pauses produced
in the audio variant and the stops in the printed text;
2) what punctuation marks will be chosen by the participants of the experiment with
the ‘sounded blind text’ to correspond to the pauses in the audio version and
whether the stops would coincide with the original ones;
3) what prosodic peculiarities produced in the audio version will hamper or, on the
contrary, justify the choice of the stops preferred by the respondents.
To perform a complex pragmalinguistic analysis, each case consists of the
following steps at least:
1) briefly outlining the content of the passage and its broader context;
2) analysing the tonetic transcription of the audio version of the passage;
3) identifying the function the semicolon performs;
4) comparing the stops placed in the written text with the pattern of pauses produced
in the audio version;
5) conducting the ’punctuating a sound blind text’ experiment;
6) conducting the ‘punctuating a blind text’ experiment (optional).
To study these aspects yet another kind of pragmaphonostylistic experiment
has been worked out which will be referred to as ‘Punctuating a sound blind text’.
The difference between this kind of the experiment and the one known as
‘Punctuating a blind text’ lies in the way of conducting. In both experiments a passage
containing the semicolon is presented without any punctuation marks including
hyphens, apostrophes and inverted commas. The first difference is that in the ‘sound
blind text’ the capital letters marking off the borders of sentences are preserved, as
well as the initial capital letters of proper nouns. It should be pointed out, though, that
respondents are allowed to change the borders of sentences irrespective of capital
letters if they find it necessary. To compare, in the ‘blind text’ proper borders of
sentences are not denoted, which may sometimes hamper the understanding of the
general content. Another major difference is that in the experiment with a ‘sound blind
text’ the anglicists rely on the audio version of the passage and thus instances of
misunderstanding the content will become a rare exception.
Thus, in the experiment ‘Punctuating a sound blind text’ we proceed from the
sound form of a text and choose an appropriate stop relying first and foremost on its
prosodic realization. More specifically, there are several aspects to be coordinated:
the content of the passage, rules of grammar and punctuation, ‘rules of reading
punctuation marks’, prosodic peculiarities of the audio version. Three qualified
anglicists were asked to participate in the experiment with a ‘sound blind text’; one
qualified anglicist was offered to punctuate the same passages in a ‘blind text’ proper.
8
Chapter One
Talking Heads by Alan Bennett
As it has been already explained in the Introduction, in this chapter we are
going to present the analysis of several monologues from the series Talking Heads
and offer the readers self-study tasks, which are going to be provided with
commentaries.

Her Big Chance


For a start a sample of exemplary analysis is going to be introduced. For this
purpose we have chosen the extract from Alan Bennett’s Her Big Chance, the fifth
monologue in the series Talking Heads. It is conveyed by Lesley, an actress, and
describes her experience of acting in some German experimental film (the title of
which she does not know). In her opinion, she is a talented, cultured and highly
educated person, so she never misses an opportunity to demonstrate a high level of
her proficiency in any possible sphere to everyone – to the director (her prospective
employer), to her colleagues, to her presumable interlocutor. In fact, however, she
turns out to be a shallow, vulgar and rather primitive woman; the actual state of
affairs can be easily deduced from her manner of speaking about things, from her
way of thinking and the pattern of her behaviour.
Thus, for example, she is sure she would impress a film director during an
audition she was offered to take part in if she followed a few ‘tips’ of ‘right’
behaviour. She has read about them in some book by ‘an American’ and has decided
to test these recommendations to impress the director and thus get the role. (Largely,
these ‘tips’ advise to call people by their names, to put one’s hand above the
interlocutor’s while shaking hands, etc. We may suggest that ‘an American’ who
wrote the guide was Dale Carnegie, and it is of him that Lesley seems to know
nothing.)
Though being quite ignorant, the young lady is very stubborn and persistent.
Firm in her decision to excite the director, she continues to add his name after almost
every sentence (“Book? This is Tess, Simon. Roman Polanski. <…> Do you know
Roman, Simon?” “Yacht? That’s interesting, Simon.” “Chess, Simon? Do you mean
the musical?”). Interestingly, she is persuaded the name of a person is important but
does not find it necessary to learn who is the author of the novel ‘Tess’, as she calls
it, in an adaptation of which she once played her only major role.
Another typical feature which immediately shows Lesley’s modest cultural
and educational background is her habit to use idiomatic expressions and individual
metaphors that undoubtedly belong to colloquial speech, i. e.: to fall over a
Christmas tree yesterday (to be naïve and trust everyone), to be the girl who seldom
has to light her own cigarette (to be popular with men), to need as many strings to
your bow as you can in this game (to do your best at some competition and business),
to be professional to your fingertips (to be highly professional), to get involved right
up to the hilt (to be very involved into some activity), to be rather curl up with a
9
book (to be keen on reading) (interestingly, she means here reading in general rather
than a particular book), the penny began to drop when <something happens> (the
consequences of some event or act were very severe and negatively influenced many
other spheres of life), to let the grass grow under one’s feet (to stay idle instead of
acting), out of the hat (unexpectedly), to have a lot on one’s plate (to have a wide
choice of something, especially about opportunities), as thin as a rail (about a very
thin and even skinny person), to be made up as well as wardrobe (to be made up
very well).
The whole monologue belongs mainly to the colloquial style, which is
expressed at the level of syntax as well. For this purpose the author uses short
parcellated nominal sentences (“Very good to excellent.” “Just one fellow in there.”),
and short non-extended sentences (“It’s by an American.”). In several cases the
author imitates colloquial speech omitting the subject (“[He] Said his name was
Simon <…>.”) or eliminating articles (“Thing was I’d met this ex-graphic designer
<…>.”). Another feature to be singled out is using a noun with the pronoun to
substitute it within one sentence (“They’re the experts where personality is
concerned, the Americans.”).
Here comes the passage selected for the analysis – the character starts to tell
about the books with the ‘tips’ she decided to follow:
I know something about personality. There’s a chapter about it in this book
I’m reading. It’s by an American. They’re the experts where personality is
concerned, the Americans; they’ve got it down to a fine art. It makes a big thing of
interviews so I was able to test it out.
(Alan Bennett. “Her Big Chance”)
The passage includes few punctuation marks apart from full stops: a comma
and the semicolon. Though the sentence containing both stops is the longest in the
passage and the most complex, it does not stand out in the text due to simple
grammatical constructions and syntax typical of colloquial speech. According to the
classification4, the semicolon here performs a complemental function and connects
two clauses, the second of which develops the idea of the preceding clause.
Naturally, the clauses are closely connected in terms of semantics; moreover, the
relation is further enhanced grammatically, as the pronoun it in the second clause
refers to the whole previous clause: the Americans have got the sphere concerning
personality down to a fine art. In addition, a purely syntactic reason conditioned the
choice of the semicolon: the first clause already contains a comma separating the
parenthetical insertion ‘the Americans’. Thus we may conclude that the semicolon
performs here a syntactic function exclusively.
However, despite such solid grounds for using the semicolon, the results of
the ‘blind text’ experiment are far from being predictable5:

4
Here and later we refer to the classification described in The Introduction.
5
Here and later the differences in the punctuation marks between the variants are marked off with a grey
colour.
10
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
I know something about personality. I know something about personality.
There’s a chapter about it in this book There’s a chapter about it in this book
I’m reading. It’s by an American. I’m reading. It’s by an American.
They’re the experts where personality They’re the experts where personality
is concerned. The Americans, they’ve is concerned, the Americans; they’ve
got it down to a fine art; it makes got it down to a fine art. It makes a big
a big thing of interviews so I was able thing of interviews so I was able to
to test it out. test it out.
Anglicist 2
I know something about personality. I know something about personality.
There’s a chapter about it in this book There’s a chapter about it in this book
I’m reading. It’s by an American, I’m reading. It’s by an American.
they’re the experts where personality They’re the experts where personality
is concerned. The Americans, they’ve is concerned, the Americans; they’ve
got it down to a fine art; it makes a got it down to a fine art. It makes a big
big thing of interviews so I was able thing of interviews so I was able to
to test it out. test it out.

Interestingly, in the course of the experiment with a ‘blind text’ both anglicists
failed to detect the function of this ‘afterthought’ and preferred to make it a
parenthesis at the beginning of the following sentence: “T(t)hey’re the experts where
personality is concerned. The Americans, they’ve got it down to a fine art; it makes
a big thing of interviews so I was able to test it out.” Here the anglicists prefer not
to follow the rules of modern oral grammar which is characterized by breaks of the
word order and by a great deal of afterthoughts, but, rather, tend to follow the rules
of literary written English which almost always boasts a direct word order and in
which breaking this order is normally done exclusively for the purposes of emphasis
or rhetoric. Here, however, the idea of the author was to preserve the conversational
colloquial character of speech, to make the reader ‘hear’ the character’s voice and
appreciate her informal conversational manner of speaking. The anglicists prefer to
see “the Americans” as a ‘pre-thought’ to start a sentence with.
At the same time, both philologists preferred to use the semicolon to connect
the sentences that initially were separate: “The Americans, they’ve got it down to a
fine art; it makes a big thing of interviews so I was able to test it out.” Such an
arrangement makes the passage sound rather formal. Furthermore, it may be
misinterpreted, because the pronoun it in the first clause (they’ve got it down to a
fine art) has lost its reference to the determined notion (the skill of communicating)
and thus can be mistakenly associated with it-s in the following clause (it makes
a big thing of interviews and I was able to test it out). The former pronoun is the
subject of the impersonal sentence, while the latter refers to the whole clause that
the Americans are the experts in communication. Thus, the syntactic function of the
11
semicolon appears to order the ideas in the sentence, while its misuse may hamper
the general understanding of the content.
Taking into account the way the case was classified (the clause after the
semicolon develops the idea of the preceding part) and the fact that the semicolon
performs here only semiotic function, the prosody of the originally punctuated
sentence is expected to follow the ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’. Let us now
concentrate on the way the passage is actually produced.
In the screen adaptation and
the audio book the monologue is
performed by Julie Walters6 (see in
the picture on the right). She
manages to deliver the author’s
vision of the character and
brilliantly plays her part of a
complacent and vain person whose
self-confidence, though, is poorly
grounded.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the variant produced by the actor7:

In general, the actress performs the monologue rather ‘lightly’ and


emotionally, playing upon her voice and changing intonation freely, just as she is
supposed to do, judging from the broader context and the image of the character.
Another thing the actress is after is, obviously, producing an effect of real speech.
Indeed, the monologue sounds (and looks in case with the video) as a girl’s chatting
with a friend of hers.
The tempo produced is quite fast, sometimes the actor speaks even hastily.
Perhaps since having an ambition to be a promising young actor, she tries to sound
‘trendy’ and thus plays upon syllables very often. As a result, some syllables become
unnaturally prolonged, while others are too clipped. The pausation pattern is also
rather unstable: sometimes the reader makes excessive pauses, while other pauses
are neglected. Thus, rhythmical structures are not arranged with a regular alternation

6
Here and later for further information about the actors performing the reading see Appendix 3.
7
Here and later in tonetic transcriptions the sentence containing the semicolon is marked off with a grey
colour.
12
and no general rhythm is created. Occasional playing upon tempo and loudness
makes the picture even more inconsistent.
Let us now concentrate on the sentence of our particular interest:

The set of prosodic characteristics accompanying the semicolon fully agrees


with the ‘rules’, as it was expected judging from the function of the stop8:
1) though the pause accompanying the semicolon in the sentence is somewhat
shorter than the one normally produced after the stop (300 ms vs 500 ms), it is
still long enough to be regarded as ‘one-unit’, which is recommended by the
‘rules’ for the semicolon;
2) the first stressed word in the clause before the semicolon (they’re) is produced
on a considerably higher pitch as compared to the first stressed word in the second
clause (they’ve): 200 Hz and 130 Hz respectively;
3) while producing the part after the semicolon tempo somewhat increases and
loudness is slightly diminished.

Pic. 1.
While reading the sentence the actress changes tempo, loudness and the length
of pauses to produce an impression of ‘affected speech’. As a result, she makes an
excessive pause before a defining clause ‘where personality is concerned’ in the first
sentence, but almost completely neglects the pause before a parenthetical insertion
‘the Americans’. Due to the combination of these modulations the clause after the
semicolon sounds somewhat homiletically, since the character pretends to have a
profound knowledge of the literature on communication and even instructs her
presumable interlocutor in the subject. Interestingly, in the screen adaptation while
producing this passage the actor is sitting with her legs crossed and nods her head;
the expression on her face shows that she is quite an expert in the field and is
perfectly sure her opinion is the only correct.
Let us now compare this version with the anglicist’s variant. Here comes the
tonetic transcription of the latter:

8
See the results of the instrumental analysis in Pic. 1.
13
In contrast to the actor’s interpretation, the anglicist performs the so-called
‘philological reading’ which does not presuppose much voice acting. The anglicist
follows the ‘rules’ in the parameters of pausing, pitch and loudness (the clause after
the semicolon is produced louder as compared to the preceding one), while tempo
remains unchanged. Surprisingly, as a result, the second clause also sounds
somewhat instructively, as it is the case in the actress’s version. In the anglicist’s
variant the character is also presented as a person fully convinced in her deep
knowledge of every sphere of life. Such an impression is created by means of the
combination of increased loudness and normal tempo. The only difference between
the versions is that the actor’s variant sounds more like on-the-stage performance as
compared to the one produced by the anglicist.

14
A Lady of Letters
Preliminary remarks
A Lady of Letters is the second dramatic monologue in the first part of the
series Talking Heads by Alan Bennett. It is presented by quite an elderly lady, Irene
Ruddock, who finds any violation of a ‘normal’ way of life and an ‘ordered’ state of
affairs (as she sees them) criminal and writes piles of letters complaining at these
cases to various administrative and social institutions. In fact, she feels desperately
lonely and is displeased with her life, though cannot realise it. Thus, her monologue
sounds either like a chat with a neighbour or some acquaintance or, more likely, as
mumbling to herself, just verbalizing thoughts and actions.
Finally, having written a slanderous letter that caused her neighbour’s nervous
breakdown, the meddlesome heroine is put in prison. There, being obliged to take
part in various clubs and societies, she takes up many new activities and meets many
new acquaintances. Surprisingly to herself, she understands this period is the
happiest in her life and is full of freedom, as no other time of her life. In the following
passage Miss Ruddock describes one of her cellmates, Bridget.
In general, the whole monologue belongs both to conversational and official
styles. The former is used by the heroine to recall some events of her life or to make
a remark on some current events (e.g. describing her new neighbours who has just
moved to the house across the road and expressing her opinion about them); this
register predominates in the monologue and comprises largely neutral lexis with a
few conversational elements (e.g. kiddy). Official register appears in the monologue
when Miss Ruddock retells the letters she has sent or the replies to them; neutral and
formal lexis and constructions prevail in these parts of the monologue (e.g. with
regards to my remark, to provide a smoking area, in the foreseeable future, for the
use of racial minorities). It is worth mentioning that judging from the way Miss
Ruddock writes formal letters, she can be regarded a well-educated person, though
from time to time she uses colloquial words and structures (e.g. using both a noun
and a pronoun to substitute it within one phrase, as well as using an auxiliary verb
in an affirmative statement: they want fresh air do kiddies, she stammers does
Shirley).
Such a combination of highly formal lexis and colloquial elements helps the
author express his ironical attitude to the character; ironical effect is enhanced
further since highly formal vocabulary and complicated structures usually exploited
by the character to write a complaint about insignificant – or even absurd – matters
(e.g. from Miss Ruddock’s point of view, crime rate in London is increasing because
too many policemen wear glasses and thus cannot do their work properly).
Moreover, quick switches from one register to another make the dialogue dynamic,
though the character’s speech is rather boring and monotonous except for the final
part told in prison.
In both the audio book and the screen adaptation the monologue is presented
by a professional actress Patricia Routledge. It may be divided into two parts: the
15
character’s life before her imprisonment and her life in jail. Though in both parts
tempo is considerably fast, the first one is rather monotonous; here not infrequently
the actress grumbles when dissatisfied or disapproves of somebody or something
(e.g. the behaviour of her neighbours). On the contrary, in the latter part she is
extremely excited and even jabbers some parts of the text when gets especially
happy. It is also characterized by several accents typical of conversational speech
(e.g. final falling-rising tones) which show that the heroine is overwhelmed with
emotions. A regular alternation of increased and slowed down tempo should be
pointed out as typical of the actress’s version, as well as increased and decreased
loudness that may vary up to whispering. Likewise, the actress adds more quality to
her voice while reading, such as giggling, excitement, irritation. Due to all the
characteristics mentioned above and the given tonetic pattern, an impression of free,
off-the-cuff speech is produced.

Assignment 1
In the screen adaptation the contrast between the character’s mood in the first
and in the second part of the monologue is expressed both audially and visually.
Look at the screenshots showing the character’s life before her imprisonment and
her life in jail. Which of the pictures illustrates the first part and which the second
one? Describe the visual means used to highlight the contrast.

The passage selected for the analysis is borrowed from the final part of the
monologue, in which the character excitedly describes her life in prison. Read the
passage and place punctuation marks in the ‘blind text’:
I share a room with Bridget who’s from Glasgow she’s been a prostitute on
and off and did away with her kiddy accidentally when she was drunk and upset
bonny little face you’d never think it her mother was blind but made beautiful
pastry and brought up a family of nine in three rooms you don’t know you’re
born I think I’m friends with practically everyone though besides Bridget I’m
up and down this corridor more often than not I’m still on my rounds when the
bell goes
16
Commentary
A closer look at the pictures shows that the picture on the left is the screenshot
of the scene from the first part, the picture on the right is the scene from the second
part. First, the colours in the first picture are more pale, with brownish and greyish
shades prevailing. In the second picture the character is dressed in bright, warm
green and pink colours which attract all the attention against the light grey settings.
The character’s clothes symbolise the change for the better in her life, her good mood
and happiness that she has finally found in the gaol. Another powerful means
showing the drastic change in the character’s worldview is her vivid mimics and
very fast movements in the second part: while speaking she is energetically creating
some poster, smiles and giggles very often. As compared to this intense activity, in
the first part her movements are slow and somewhat reluctant, her facial expression
is always unpleased, and her speech sounds more like grumbling.

I share a room with Bridget, who’s from Glasgow. She’s been a prostitute on
and off and did away with her kiddy, accidentally, when she was drunk and
upset. Bonny little face, you’d never think it. Her mother was blind, but made
beautiful pastry and brought up a family of nine in three rooms. You don’t know
you’re born I think. I’m friends with practically everyone though besides
Bridget. I’m up and down this corridor; more often than not I’m still on my
rounds when the bell goes.
(Alan Bennett. “A Lady of Letters”)
The passage belongs to the conversational style, thus the better part of the
vocabulary is neutral, with a few colloquial elements: kiddy (informal)9; to do away
with sb (informal)10; the expressions ‘you’d never think it’, ‘you don’t know you’re
born’11 can also be regarded as colloquial. Another marked feature of Miss
Ruddock’s speech is the use of lexis that is marked as ‘British English’ in
dictionaries: kiddy12, bonny13.
Since the passage includes neither formal lexis nor complicated grammar
structures, it is natural that few ‘weighty’ punctuation marks are used by the author.
Namely, it is the semicolon which performs the function of complementation: “I’m
up and down this corridor; more often than not I’m still on my rounds when the bell
goes.” Applying the classification elaborated in the Introduction, we may define the
second clause as specifying the idea of the previous clause: in the first clause the

9
Here and later except for the specially mentioned notes the articles are borrowed from Longman
Dictionary of Contemporary English [LDCE, 2009]: “Kiddie, kiddy noun [countable] especially British
English, informal a young child; e. g. a sandpit for the kiddies”.
10
“Do away with somebody/something phrasal verb 2) informal to kill someone.” [LDCE, 2009].
11
This expression is usually used by people of quite an advanced age. See more information by the
reference: https://www.webmasterworld.com/forum9/9460.htm.
12
See Footnote 9.
13
“Bonny adjective. British English pretty and healthy; e. g. a bonny baby.” [LDCE, 2009].
17
character mentions her habit to walk along the corridor and in the next clause she
specifies how long her promenades usually last.
Now let us try and substitute the original semicolon (“I’m up and down this
corridor; more often than not I’m still on my rounds when the bell goes.”) with some
other stop:
1) the semicolon is replaced by a comma: “I’m up and down this corridor, more
often than not I’m still on my rounds when the bell goes.” In this case the clauses
lose their independence and no longer sound self-contained;
2) the semicolon is replaced by a full stop: “I’m up and down this corridor. More
often than not I’m still on my rounds when the bell goes.” Here, on the contrary, a
full stop makes the former clauses too independent and thus it is a logical connection
that is hampered in this case. Though, it should be mentioned that this variant seems
to be better than the one containing a comma.
Thus, the main task of the semicolon in this sentence is typical of the stop, i.e.
to signal the semantic connection of two clauses, the second of which is somewhat
subdued to the preceding. Apart from this, no additional meaning is conveyed by
means of the stop. Hence, we may conclude that the semicolon functions here on the
semiotic level solely.
This statement is further supported by the experiment with a ‘blind text’:
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
I share a room with Bridget, who’s I share a room with Bridget, who’s
from Glasgow. She’s been a prostitute from Glasgow. She’s been a prostitute
on and off and did away with her on and off and did away with her
kiddy (accidentally), when she was kiddy, accidentally, when she was
drunk and upset. Bonny little face, drunk and upset. Bonny little face,
you’d never think it. Her mother was you’d never think it. Her mother was
blind but made beautiful pastry and blind, but made beautiful pastry and
brought up a family of nine in three brought up a family of nine in three
rooms. You don’t know you’re born, I rooms. You don’t know you’re born I
think. I’m friends with practically think. I’m friends with practically
everyone, though besides Bridget. I’m everyone though besides Bridget. I’m
up and down this corridor; more up and down this corridor; more often
often than not, I’m still on my rounds than not I’m still on my rounds when
when the bell goes. the bell goes.
Anglicist 2
I share a room with Bridget, who’s I share a room with Bridget, who’s
from Glasgow. She’s been a prostitute from Glasgow. She’s been a prostitute
on and off and did away with her on and off and did away with her
kiddy accidentally when she was kiddy, accidentally, when she was

18
drunk and upset. Bonny, little face – drunk and upset. Bonny little face,
you’d never think it. Her mother was you’d never think it. Her mother was
blind, but made beautiful pastry and blind, but made beautiful pastry and
brought up a family of nine in three brought up a family of nine in three
rooms. You don’t know you’re born. I rooms. You don’t know you’re born I
think I’m friends with practically think. I’m friends with practically
everyone, though. Besides Bridget, everyone though besides Bridget. I’m
I’m up and down this corridor. More up and down this corridor; more often
often than not I’m still on my rounds than not I’m still on my rounds when
when the bell goes. the bell goes.

The variant presented by the first anglicist is quite close to the original,
(though it is more richly punctuated as compared to the author’s text); the author’s
original intention was grasped by the anglicist and the original semicolon is used in
the sentence.
The second anglicist appears to be less close to the original: thus, several
author’s ideas happen to be distorted owing to the choice and arrangement of
punctuation marks (e. g. “I think I’m friends with practically everyone, though.” vs
the original “I’m friends with practically everyone though besides Bridget.”). As for
the semicolon, the anglicist preferred to replace it with a stop and thus to parcellate
the sentences: “Besides Bridget, I’m up and down this corridor. More often than not
I’m still on my rounds when the bell goes.” Since the borders of the preceding
sentence were shifted, the purport of the given extract has changed as well: it turns
out that Bridget and the heroine walk along the corridor. Nevertheless, since the two
sentences are separated, they no longer have a close connection and the fact that
Irene walks along the corridor till it is quite late in the evening is perceived as an
independent idea: her walks and their duration are not united in a single semantic
block.
Since the semicolon links the clauses of which the latter specifies the former,
the prosodic pattern of the sentence is expected to correspond to the ‘rules of reading
punctuation marks’: the clause after the semicolon is to be produced on a lower level
than the preceding one; tempo in the second part is expected to fasten, while
loudness is supposed to diminish.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the variant produced by the actor:

19
Let us dwell at the prosodic properties of the sentence under consideration14:
1) a slight pause accompanies the semicolon (about 40 ms), which is somewhat
shorter than that recommended by the ‘rules’;
2) the first stressed word in the clause before the semicolon (up) is produced on a
lower level as compared to the one in the clause after the stop (more): 200-270 Hz
vs 250-450 Hz – which goes against the ‘rules’;
3) the clause after the semicolon is produced with a fastened tempo, which
corresponds to the recommendations;
4) in the second clause loudness remains unchanged instead of diminishing.

Pic. 2.
Thus, almost all the parameters but for tempo do not follow the
recommendations. It should be noted, however, that these modulations of prosodic
characteristics do not bring any semantic change to the passage. They help the actor
express how excited and even thrilled the character gets in prison: she is
overwhelmed by positive emotions and is so involved in sharing this new state with
her interlocutor that fastens tempo considerably (almost up to jabbing) and
practically ignores the pause between the clauses. The produced effect is further
enhanced by adding special qualities to the voice: the endings of both clauses sound
a bit squeaky.
The pattern of the sentence produced by the anglicist in many respects
coincides with the actor’s variant:

14
See the results of the instrumental analysis performed using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 2.
20
The anglicist follows the principles of philological reading and thus follows
the ‘rules’ more accurately than the actor. The parameters of pitch, pausation and
tempo fully correspond to the ‘rules’, while loudness remains unchanged in the
second clause instead of being diminished. (It should be noted that though the first
stressed word in the first I’m and the one in the second clause more are produced on
the mid level, the former is on a considerably higher pitch than the latter.) Due to
the set of prosodic parameters presented by the anglicist this variant is more
‘standard’ and ‘academic’, it sounds a bit more reserved and temperate as compared
to the one performed by the actress. It does not mean to say, though, that it is
completely unemotional or less convincing.
Thus, we may conclude that even in the case where the function of the
semicolon is purely syntactic, a change in the recommended set of prosodic
characteristics may add new shades of meaning to the text and helps to express
evaluative-expressive-emotional connotations, such as irony or the personal attitude
of the author or the reader.

21
Bed Among the Lentils
Preliminary remarks
Bed Among the Lentils is the third monologue in the first series Talking Heads
by Alan Bennet. The narrator is Susan, a vicar’s wife. Retelling different episodes
of her life and reflecting on them, the character touches upon quite a few
controversial and highly complicated subjects, such as Christian faith, marital
relations, unfaithfulness, destiny.
Gradually, the readers find out that Susan, like most of Bennett’s characters,
suffers from loneliness and is thoroughly miserable. She tries to escape from her
routine married life and finds such a distraction in a casual relationship and alcohol.
However, it is her husband who appears to benefit from Susan’s addiction: the vicar
forces her to join AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and then takes a chance to show
how patient and Christian-likely virtuous he is, despite such appalling
circumstances.
Stylistically neutral vocabulary is predominant in the monologue with
occasional expressive elements. In some parts the voice of Susan as a narrator
amalgamates with her voice as a character and comes into a form of stream of
consciousness [Кухаренко, 1988: 163; Drabble, 2000: 975], as quite often the
character unpredictably changes the object of contemplation. Interestingly, words
uttered by other characters are presented as direct speech, reported speech and free
indirect speech. At that, these forms are used at random: for instance, a line in the
dialogue presented as direct speech may be followed by the reply in the form of
reported speech which is presented through Susan’s restating.
Another characteristic feature of the monologue is combining short nominal
sentences, typical of oral, mainly conversational, speech (e.g. “Roads busy. Sunday
afternoon. Families having a run out. Wheeling the pram, walking the dog. Living.”)
and quite extended, syntactically complicated sentences (e.g. “Had this been a
serious ambition I should have seen to it I was equipped with the skills necessary to
its achievement.”). Normally, short sentences express an immediate response to the
surrounding circumstances or her thoughts that appear while speaking (e.g. in the
selected passage: “Actually, it’s temperament. I don’t have it.”) As for the extended,
logically complicated sentences, these topics have already been thought over by the
character, and thus became thoroughly formulated.
It is only natural that being a vicar’s wife, the character refers to the holy texts.
Susan twice imitates the language of the Bible and prayers, which is done by the
author for stylistic purpose. At the same time, she wonders why every vicar’s wife
is supposed to have a strong faith and even doubts whether her husband himself is a
true believer. Thus, we may suppose that such a mingle of discourses reveals her
real attitude to religion, which, nevertheless, is part and parcel of her daily life. For
instance, once her thoughts on daily routine (namely, she is driving to a shop)
intermingle with the words of a prayer, which she ends with the phrase ‘not to spend

22
our Sunday afternoons parked in a lay-by’, being annoyed with a traffic jam and the
absence of space at the car park.
Another allusion is exploited by the author to express the character’s self-
irony. The character starts one of the parts of the monologue as a fairy tale: ‘once
upon a time’. The initial phrase deliberately creates the impression that the passage
to follow describes an imaginary or ideal situation. Indeed, Susan tells about an
‘ideal life’ as it is seen in her surrounding: routine, uneventful existence and peaceful
death at the age of eighty. The character herself does not find such a life attractive.
Here two ‘scripts’ [Габриэль, 2018] collide: Susan’s worldview vs the well-
accepted vision of a proper vicar’s wife, which she cannot accept as a paragon. This
collision becomes the source for humour, which is further developed by the character
in the next passage (the one selected for the analysis). Susan mentions ironically that
had she been eager to live and die as ‘a wonderful woman’ 15, she would have tried
to acquire the skills generally regarded as ‘compulsory’ for every proper housewife.
However, she can do none of it. Here humour turns into tragedy: in fact, Susan
strongly dislikes the life she has to lead, and – which is more – she is absolutely
unprepared for such a life. Here comes the passage:
Had this been a serious ambition I should have seen to it I was equipped with
the skills necessary to its achievement. How to produce jam which, after reaching a
good, rolling boil, successfully coats the spoon; how to whip up a Victorian sponge
that just gives to the fingertips; how to plan, execute and carry through a successful
garden fête. All weapons in the armoury of any upstanding Anglican lady. But I can
do none of these things. I’m even a fool in the flower arrangement. I ought to have
a PhD in the subject the number of classes I’ve been to but still my efforts show as
much evidence of art as walking sticks in an umbrella stand. Actually, it’s
temperament. I don’t have it. If you think squash is a competitive activity try flower
arrangement.
(Alan Bennett. “Bed Among the Lentils”)

Assignment 2
Identify the functions which the semicolons perform in the passage.

Commentary
According to the classification, both semicolons perform a complemental
function, and in both cases the clause after the semicolon introduces a new fact. At
the same time, the passage is a bright example of irony: the character mocks the
standards accepted in the local society. Syntactic parallelism and anaphora enhance

15
This ironic characteristic given by Susan to any proper vicar’s wife, an honorable elderly lady, cannot
but remind of the novel Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, who shows in her book that even the best of
these ladies appear to be not that ideal. Hence, Susan’s witty label acquires additional meaning, being
referred to the ladies of this type who surround her and whom she strongly dislikes.
23
the irony even further: highlighting the skills by the figures of speech, Susan shows
that she finds this knowledge useless and despises those who force her to take up
these skills. Thus, the case of using the semicolon is polyphonic, i. e. the stop
performs both syntactic and stylistic functions.
Each following clause in the sequence presents an ‘obligatory’ skill which seems
absurd to Susan; moreover, the necessity to possess each following ‘talent’ seems
more and more ludicrous to the reader. The climax is reached in the final clause:
arranging a garden party. Thus, here we have an instance of the ‘period’, i.e. a
succession, each element of which is more tense than the preceding one; normally,
each following element is supposed to be pitched higher than the previous one and
be produced with increased loudness [Maguidova, Mikhailovskaia, 1999: 78, 80,
93].
The results of the pragmalinguistic experiment have shown that if the
semicolons are substituted by other stops, the logic of the original sentence would
definitely be violated, since the clauses would no longer be connected so closely;
moreover, the tension disappears almost completely:
1) both semicolons are replaced by commas: “How to produce jam which, after
reaching a good, rolling boil, successfully coats the spoon, how to whip up a
Victorian sponge that just gives to the fingertips, how to plan, execute and carry
through a successful garden fête.” In this case the sentence becomes difficult for
comprehension, as the clauses already contain stops; thus, using commas between
them seems to be simply ungrammatical.
2) both semicolons are replaced by full stops: “How to produce jam which, after
reaching a good, rolling boil, successfully coats the spoon. How to whip up a
Victorian sponge that just gives to the fingertips. How to plan, execute and carry
through a successful garden fête.” Here semantic connection between the parcellated
parallel sentences is considerably less remarkable as compared to the original, while
the character finds it important to emphasise their close link: in her opinion, boiling
jam, cooking a sponge and organizing a party are equally difficult and senseless,
since she has absolutely no skill for that.
The experiment with the ‘blind text’ supports the results of the experimental
change. Surprisingly, both anglicists failed to ‘detect’ the semicolon separating the
clauses with syntactic parallelism, though the two of them already contain commas.
It clearly demonstrates, though, that replacing the semicolon with a comma in
extended clauses comprising other stops may hamper the general perception of the
sentence. Interestingly, both anglicists joined the previous sentence to the series of
clauses (I was equipped with the skills necessary to its achievement); due to the
preceding colon, the added clause sounds like a general statement that is to be
specified by several arguments after the stop; this model is typical of the semicolon
and thus this stop could be expected here.
Here come the passages punctuated by the anglicists:

24
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
Had this been a serious ambition, I Had this been a serious ambition I
should have seen to it. I was equipped should have seen to it I was equipped
with the skills necessary to its with the skills necessary to its
achievement: how to produce jam achievement. How to produce jam
which, after reaching a good rolling which, after reaching a good, rolling
boil, successfully coats the spoon, boil, successfully coats the spoon;
how to whip up a Victorian sponge how to whip up a Victorian sponge
that just gives to the fingertips, how that just gives to the fingertips; how to
to plan, execute and carry through a plan, execute and carry through a
successful garden fête all weapons in successful garden fête. All weapons in
the armoury of any upstanding the armoury of any upstanding
Anglican lady. But I can do none of Anglican lady. But I can do none of
these things. I’m even a fool in the these things. I’m even a fool in the
flower arrangement. I ought to have a flower arrangement. I ought to have a
PhD in the subject the number of PhD in the subject the number of
classes I’ve been to, but still my classes I’ve been to but still my
efforts show as much evidence of art efforts show as much evidence of art
as walking sticks in an umbrella stand. as walking sticks in an umbrella stand.
Actually, it’s temperament – I don’t Actually, it’s temperament. I don’t
have it. If you think squash is a have it. If you think squash is a
competitive activity, try flower competitive activity try flower
arrangement. arrangement.
Anglicist 2
Had this been a serious ambition, I Had this been a serious ambition I
should have seen to it. I was equipped should have seen to it I was equipped
with the skills necessary to its with the skills necessary to its
achievement: how to produce jam achievement. How to produce jam
which, after reaching a good rolling which, after reaching a good, rolling
boil, successfully coats the spoon; boil, successfully coats the spoon;
how to whip up a Victorian sponge how to whip up a Victorian sponge
that just gives to the fingertips; how that just gives to the fingertips; how to
to plan, execute and carry through a plan, execute and carry through a
successful garden fête; all weapons successful garden fête. All weapons
in the armoury of any upstanding in the armoury of any upstanding
Anglican lady. But I can do none of Anglican lady. But I can do none of
these things; I’m even a fool in the these things. I’m even a fool in the
flower arrangement. I ought to have a flower arrangement. I ought to have a
PhD in the subject, the number of PhD in the subject the number of
classes I’ve been to; but still my classes I’ve been to but still my
efforts show as much evidence of art efforts show as much evidence of art
as walking sticks in an umbrella stand. as walking sticks in an umbrella stand.
25
Actually, it’s temperament. I don’t Actually, it’s temperament. I don’t
have it. If you think squash is a have it. If you think squash is a
competitive activity, try flower competitive activity try flower
arrangement. arrangement.

The second anglicist, though, uses the semicolon to join the following
sentence to the set (all weapons in the armoury of any upstanding Anglican lady),
which starts to sound as a conclusion drawn directly from the arguments for the
semicolon stands for a closer connection as compared to the original.
Sentences of different length are alternated in the passage which makes it
sound rhythmic; this characteristic is important for creating the pattern of the passage
and the whole monologue. Thus, the passage in question includes various types of
sentences:
- long sentences with rather simple grammatical constructions (“How to produce
jam which, after reaching a good, rolling boil, successfully coats the spoon; how
to whip up a Victorian sponge that just gives to the fingertips; how to plan,
execute and carry through a successful garden fête.” “I ought to have a PhD in
the subject the number of classes I’ve been to but still my efforts show as much
evidence of art as walking sticks in an umbrella stand.”);
- syntacally complicated sentences with an inversion (“Had this been a serious
ambition I should have seen to it I was equipped with the skills necessary to its
achievement.”);
- sentences of average length and not very complicated syntax (“All weapons in
the armoury of any upstanding Anglican lady.” “But I can do none of these
things.” “I’m even a fool in the flower arrangement.” “If you think squash is a
competitive activity try flower arrangement.”);
- considerably short, non-extended sentences (“Actually, it’s temperament. I don’t
have it.”).
Let us now turn to the recorded versions of the passage to see how the prosodic
pattern of the passage is produced. It should be mentioned that the ironic tone of the
passage, as well as the metasemiotic function of the semicolons, should by all means
find their prosodic expression in the sound version.
The monologue was produced in the audio book by Anna Massey. Providing
the background of the character and taking into account the final part of the
monologue about AA and her husband’s behaviour, the story sounds partially as a
confession and to some extent as a treatment interview, since the heroine not only
tells the whole truth about her life, but also reflects on the probable motives of her
deeds, contemplates her present and future. That is why the voice of the actor sounds
soft and not very loud. In addition, not infrequently she alternates the loudness of
phrases within a sentence to bring out most prominent details. Tempo is constantly
changed by the speaker, though her overall tempo is somewhat faster than the
average one. On the whole, most prosodic parameters required by the ‘rules’ for each
26
particular stop and regarded as typical of British speech (i. e. the descending scale,
the final tones, the length of pauses) are produced more or less precisely.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the passage produced in the audio book
by the actress16:

For the sake of convenience let us first analyse the cases separately; at that,
we will refer to the clauses in the following way: “(1) How to produce jam which,
after reaching a good, rolling boil, successfully coats the spoon; (2) how to whip up
a Victorian sponge that just gives to the fingertips; (3) how to plan, execute and
carry through a successful garden fête.”
The first semicolon (between clauses 1 and 2):
1) the first stressed word in the clause before the semicolon (produce) is pitched
lower than the one in the clause after the stop (how), 130 Hz and 170 Hz
respectively, which goes against the recommendations;
2) a one-unit pause (about 500 ms) accompanies the first semicolon, which
corresponds to the ‘rules’;

16
See the results of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 3.
27
3) while producing the second clause tempo slows down instead of fastening, as it
is recommended in the ‘rules’;
4) loudness is not changed at the beginning of the second clause; it diminishes only
while producing ‘gives to the fingertips’.
The second semicolon (between clauses 2 and 3):
1) the first stressed word in the clause before the semicolon (how) is produced
somewhat higher than the one after the stop (plan), 170 Hz and 165 Hz
respectively, which follows the recommendations. Thus, as a result, the first
stressed word of the second clause appears to be higher than the rest. At the same
time, among the maximal peaks of the clauses (spoon, sponge, fête respectively)
the one in the third clause is pitched at the highest level. [see the green horizontal
line on the graph, pic. 3];
2) the pause accompanying the semicolon is very long (1400 ms), though taking
into account the average length of pauses produced by the actress it was regarded
as one-unit. Nevertheless, the pause of the second semicolon is significantly
longer than that of the first, which is done deliberately by the actress. From the
character’s point of view, the first two skills – cooking jam and baking a cake –
are more or less compatible, while the third one – organizing a party – is much
more challenging and demands more knowledge, time and effort. Though she is
able to do none of these, the first and the second clauses are separated from the
latter, which presents the skill that is the most difficult for her. This division is
vital for the plot, because Susan has found a way to cope with cooking with the
help of ready-to-cook food, while taking part in preparations for a church holiday
once caused into a huge row with all the local ladies over the way to decorate the
church with flowers (the character mentions this situation in the passage under
consideration).
3) while producing the clause after the stop loudness remains unchanged;
4) the middle of the clause after the semicolon (‘execute and carry through’) is
pronounced with an increased tempo, while in the rest of the sentence tempo is
average; thus the final part of the clause (‘a successful garden fête’) sounds more
prominent and distinct.

Pic. 3.
Thus, we may reiterate that the prosody of the ‘period’ is partially reproduced by
the actress, i. e. each following clause is pitched higher than the preceding element
28
of the succession and sounds ‘more tense’, though loudness remains unchanged
throughout all the three parts instead of being increased.
On a par with the ‘period’ modulations of tempo and loudness are produced in
the sentence, owing to which two phrases attract the better part of the listeners’
attention: ‘gives to the fingertips’ (produced softer) and ‘a successful garden fête’
(following the fastened tempo). Both of them presuppose pejorative connotation –
explicitly (an adherently positive adjective successful) or implicitly (the sponge is
supposed to be soft and flexible, so that it returns its form if someone pushes it with
the finger).
Though insignificantly, the actress changes timbre while producing ‘gives to the
fingertips’ – her voice sounds thinner and the phrase is pitched higher; in such a way
she parodies the ladies in her surrounding who believe such a skill is vitally
important and also expresses her ironic attitude to this opinion [Давыдов, 1984: 68].
The produced ironic effect is further enhanced by the prosodic pattern of the ‘period’
[cf.: Maguidova, Mikhailovskaia, 1999].
Timbre is not changed while producing ‘a successful garden fête’, we hear the
actress’s voice proper. But it is important for the content to attract the listeners’
attention to the word successful in this phrase: the stem is repeated twice in the
sentence (‘successfully coats the spoon’ and ‘a successful garden fête’) and along
with the highlighted phrase ‘gives to the fingertips’ conveys the idea that to be
successful is a thing of primary importance for Susan’s surrounding. Here we come
again to the combination of humour and tragedy: the character is highly ironical to
such a vision of successful life, but at the same time she is neither happy nor
successful.
The actress to star as Muriel in
the screen adaptation is Maggie Smith
(see the picture on the right), and this
variant differs considerably from the
one produced in the audio book. Here
the actress is quite reserved, she
avoids expressing emotions fully and
openly often using understatements
instead. At the same time, she plays
upon her voice and intonation more
often bringing new shades of meaning
to the words. Moreover, due to the mimics of the actress this version seems to be
more powerful and impressive.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the variant produced by Maggie Smith
(for the sake of convenience we will refer to her as Actress 2). It should be mentioned
from the start that Actress 2 treats the original text rather freely and brings some
slight changes to it from time to time; in the transcription to follow such
transformations are put in Italics:

29
The idea that the actress conveys in this variant slightly differs from the one
implied in the audio book, where she is annoyed with herself for being unprepared
for the life she leads and, which is more, for being unable to learn the necessary
things. In this version the character is so tired of living her unhappy life and not
knowing what she should do with this life that she seems to regret not having become
a proper housewife, one of the ‘wonderful women’. As compared to Actress 1 who
is perfectly sure that the accepted ‘ideal’ is inappropriate for her, Actress 2 is
frustrated and hesitates whether her point of view is incorrect.
At the same time, the passage is full of irony like the one produced in the
audio book. Only here there is a different kind of irony: a bitter self-irony directed
by the character towards her lack of talents and her inability to do even the simplest
things. Actress 2 sounds very critical and reproachful to herself (e. g. “I can do none
of these things.”; to enhance the effect further she adds the elliptic construction
before the sentence “But no…” and accompanies it with a longish two-unit pause),
and sometimes – apologetic (e. g. while producing “Actually, it’s temperament. I
don’t have it.”; here the excusing tone is supported by a guilty facial expression and
shrugging her right shoulder.) The overall tone of the passage can be characterised
as tired and pathetic (Rus. «усталый, безнадежный тон») [Давыдов, 1984: 65].
Hence, the main prosodic difference between the audio and video variants lies in the

30
timbre produced by the actresses: in the audio book it is ironical and sometimes
mocking the others, while in the screen adaptation it is a case of bitter self-irony.
Let us now turn to the prosodic properties of the sentence in question. To
begin with, the tone of the sentence tends to be ironic: the character is mildly ironic
about the standards required from every ‘proper upstanding’ lady. This attitude is
expressed by raising the pitch to a higher section of diapason as compared to the
pitch of the preceding and the following sentences. In addition, another means is
using non-final tones produced at the end of the clauses (spoon is pronounced with
a non-final High Fall; lady carries a falling-rising tone).
In this variant the sentence under consideration (“How to produce jam which,
after reaching a good, rolling boil, successfully coats the spoon; how to whip up a
Victorian sponge that just gives to the fingertips; how to plan, execute and carry
through a successful garden fête.”) is not coloured as brightly as in the audio book,
because the focus of the listeners’ attention should be shifted to the character’s
contemplations about her inability to meet the demands of her surrounding (“I can
do none of these things.” and “Actually, it’s temperament. I don’t have it.”).
1) The pitch pattern produced by Actress 2 fully corresponds to the ‘rules’: the first
stressed word in each element of the sequence is pitched lower than the previous:
190 Hz, 180 Hz and 145 Hz respectively17 (see the blue line on the graph); thus,
the prosody of the ‘period’ is not reproduced and none of the clauses stand out to
attract additional attention. The sentence acquires a ‘matter-of-fact’ timbre,
which is appropriate in this variant since Actress 2 does not intend to mock the
traditional ideals;
2) the pauses accompanying both semicolons tend to be slightly longer than it is
recommended for the stop (700 ms and 1750 ms respectively), which can be
explained by the nature of the passage: the character contemplates unhurriedly
and is thinking about new facts and arguments while speaking;
3) the whole sentence is produced much slowly then the surrounding sentences; at
that, the actress slows down to pronounce the second clause, so the pattern of
tempo she produces is ‘normal –
slowed down – normal’; surprisingly,
due to such an arrangement not only
the second clause, as it might be
expected, but all the three of them
sound weighty. The reason for such a
considerable retardation of tempo is to
show to the audience (and, first and
foremost, to herself) that had she
known before how important these
skills were, Susan could have learnt

17
See the results of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 4.
31
them all and it would have been a piece of cake for her. The facial expression
supports this implicit intention (see the screenshot above): the actress looks like
a person who is getting prepared to do something one can never do, but out of
pride conceals one’s lack of self-belief and scare. Her posture adds to this
impression: keeping hands clinched in front of her, looking up and shaking her
head from time to time;
4) while producing the clause after the semicolon in both cases – clauses 2 and 3 –
in both cases loudness remains the same as in the first clause, thus all the three
clauses sound equally prominent.

Pic. 4.
Here comes the version produced by the anglicist:

To begin with, the variant presented by the anglicist expresses the character’s
ironic attitude less vividly, as compared to Actress 1, at that, in this version we hear

32
only the voice of the character. In this variant the character’s irony is directed
towards herself rather than her surrounding.
Though this variant is a sample of philological reading rather than voice
acting, the anglicist does not follow strictly all the recommendations in order to bring
out most essential details. Thus, the anglicist brings out the beginnings of each new
element in the succession, listing the skills that every ‘proper lady’ should have (to
produce jam; to whip up a sponge; to plan, execute and carry through a fete).
Likewise, the phrase ‘that just gives to the fingertips’ is produced softer to be
brought out as an essential characteristic, but it does not acquire any change in timbre
and thus belongs to Susan (cf.: in the audio book this characteristic is attributed to
the character’s acquaintances, ‘wonderful women’).
Thus, here come several conclusions to be made. Firstly, the semicolon can
be used as an effective means of expressing various kinds of irony (such as parody,
self-irony, bitter irony). Secondly, in such cases the set of recommended prosodic
parameters can come through certain changes. Finally, the parameter of pitch (on a
par with other modulations) can be used in sequences containing at least three
elements connected by the semicolon to make the sentence stand out against the
whole text, if the sentence is key for understanding the purport of the text.

33
A Chip in the Sugar
Preliminary remarks
A Chip in the Sugar is the first dramatic monologue in the first series Talking
Heads by Alan Bennett. As opposed to the rest five episodes in the collection18, this
story is told by a male character Graham: it centres on his relationship with his
mother. To put it in a nutshell, Graham Whittaker, a middle-aged man, lives with his
elderly mother, whose state of health – both mental and physical – is far from being
perfect; thus, naturally, he spends the better part of his time with her. Once they meet
Mrs Whittaker’s old friend, Mr Turnbull, quite by chance; he starts to pay attention
to the elderly lady, though Graham strongly dislikes it. It turns out to be, however,
that Mr Turnbull is already married and deliberately deludes Mrs Whittaker. Graham
has nothing to do but to tell the whole truth to his mother.
Meanwhile, as the plot unfolds, more and more disagreements between the
relatives are revealed, such as the son’s jealousy, the mother’s readiness to drive her
son out of the house back to the hostel as soon as an opportunity to get married
appears, Graham’s loneliness that results in numerous psychological disorders
(persecution mania among them) which recrudecer from time to time and has to be
treated medically.
In both the audio book and the
screen adaptation the monologue is
performed by Alan Bennett himself
(see the picture on the right). Largely
the video version coincides with the
audio variant, though from time to time
minor differences may occur.
In both versions the author treats
his text rather freely (it is more often
the case in the video version): he may
add several words to the original or
omit some of them if he finds it necessary; though, it does not affect the overall
purport, nor adds anything new to the written version. It is more important, though,
that the author also feels rather free when it comes to prosodic parameters: not
infrequently the pauses he produces do not correspond to those recommended in the
‘rules’ in terms of length; the parameters of loudness and tempo go against the rules
quite often as well. Likewise, not all stops are produced by the author in his reading:
not all the original punctuations marks are actually read out.
There are five characters in the monologue, including Graham, and the better
part of the dialogue they talk to each other. Being a professional actor apart from a
writer, the author exploits the technique of voice acting (both in the video and the
audio versions), but also acts changing his facial expression, gestures and posture
18
“A Lady of Letters”, “Bed Among the Lentils”, “Soldiering On”, “Her Big Chance”, “A Cream Cracker
Under the Settee”.
34
(which can be appreciated in the screen adaptation). His switching to different
timbres and changing facial expression is immensely amusing to follow.
Interestingly, in the screen adaptation the author is much more emotional than
in the audio book: he performs the five characters in a very different manner so that
each of them has his / her distinct voice quality and can be easily recognized. In the
audio book it is only the Mother’s direct speech that clearly stands out, for the pitch
of the author’s voice here is much higher and somewhat screamy to imitate an elderly
lady; the speed in these lines is always faster as compared to Graham’s speech.
As for playing Graham’s part, it is less emotional and remains on the same,
unlike the manner of reading of Mother’s lines, which is full of highlights and voice
modulations. Almost no modulations of loudness are produced; at the same time, the
author plays upon tempo to make his story sound rhythmical: monobeats and
trochees alternate with different frequency. In such a way an impression of natural,
impromptu speech is produced. In addition, the monologue is abundant of neutral
lexis, while neither formal nor expressive elements are present. In addition, this is
one of the most richly punctuated episodes in the series, though it is not really
complicated syntactically.
As for the image of the main character, the author presents Graham as a very
clever, but nervous person, who feels lonely and miserable. The settings of the
monologue (during the better part of the monologue the character is sitting in the
armchair) make the audience think that the story takes place at the courses of mental
therapy, and the interlocutor is a psychoanalyst.

*
Three passages were selected for the purpose of the present study in order to
focus on the semicolon, its functioning and prosodic properties. Interestingly, among
three instances of using the stop, two cases (the first and the third) present the
semicolon using direct speech.

*
I’d parked her by the war memorial on her usual seat while I went and got
some reading matter. Then I waited while she went and spent a penny in the disabled
toilet. She’s not actually disabled, her memory’s bad, but she says she prefers their
toilets because you get more elbow room. She always takes for ever, diddling her
hands and what not, and when she eventually comes back it turns out she’s been
chatting to the attendant. I said, ‘What about?’ She said, ‘Hanging. She was in
favour of stiffer penalties for minor offences and I thought, “Well, we know better,
our Graham and me.” I wish you’d been there, love; you could have given her the
statistics, where are we going for our tea?’
(Alan Bennett. “A Chip in the Sugar”)

35
In this passage the hero tells about one of his mother’s whims (she prefers to
use a lavatory for disabled) and her habit to chat with the attendant. Lexically the
passage is not complicated; neutral vocabulary prevails here overwhelmingly – with
the only exception for a conversational word diddle19 that is marked in the dictionary
as informal, North American. Syntactically the content of the passage is not too
sophisticated either. What presents a certain difficulty is punctuation: «She said,
‘Hanging. She was in favour of stiffer penalties for minor offences and I thought,
“Well, we know better, our Graham and me.” I wish you’d been there, love; you
could have given her the statistics, where are we going for our tea?’» Thus, Mrs
Whittaker’s direct speech includes her thoughts given in the form of direct speech;
in addition, the sentence also contains the semicolon. It should be noted that such a
tricky syntactic construction may seem to the readers somewhat ponderous and
confusing.
Moreover, the arrangement of the chosen stops may seem illogical:
semantically Mother’s thought («“Well, we know better, our Graham and me.”») is
connected with the clauses to follow (‘I wish you’d been there, love; you could have
given her the statistics’), as Mrs Whittaker expresses her disagreement with the
attendant and wishes her son who ‘knows better’ had witnessed the discussion to
support her opinion. As for the final part of the sentence (‘where are we going for
our tea’), it is a remark concerning a different subject that has nothing in common
with her previous speech.
Such a deliberate choice of stops may be explained by several reasons. To
begin with, judging from the broader context, the readers are supposed to realise that
Mrs Whittaker suffers from senile dementia and thus is very absent-minded (she
forgets words, may not recognize her acquaintances and cannot remember what she
was going to buy in the shop). So, it may be only typical of her to switch
unpredictably to other topics. We may suppose as well that the author preferred such
an arrangement of stops to signal the length of the pause to be made between the
clauses – the monologue is supposed to be dramatized on the stage, thus the actor
needs some ‘guidance’ how to highlight the instability of mind of Mrs Whittaker.
Thus, we may conclude that the semicolon functions here on the metasemiotic level,
i. e. it is used for a stylistic purpose rather than to signal a particular syntactic bond.

Assignment 3
Analyse the three variants of punctuation. How does the content change because of
the replacement?
The original: I wish you’d been there, love, you could have given her the
statistics, where are we going for our tea?

19
According to English Oxford living Dictionaries: “Diddle verb 2. North American, informal, pass time
aimlessly or unproductively”: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/diddle.
36
Variant 1: I wish you’d been there, love; you could have given her the
statistics, where are we going for our tea?
Variant 2: I wish you’d been there, love; you could have given her the
statistics. Where are we going for our tea?
Variant 3: I wish you’d been there, love; you could have given her the
statistics… Where are we going for our tea?

Commentary
1) The semicolon is replaced by a comma; the comma between the second and the
third clauses is replaced by the semicolon: “I wish you’d been there, love, you could
have given her the statistics; where are we going for our tea?” As it has been said
already, this variant sounds more logical and coherent. At the same time, the author’s
intention was, on the contrary, to show inconsistency of the character’s thoughts;
thus, the ‘logically correct’ version fails to fulfill the artistic design.
2) The semicolon is preserved; the third part is parcellated in an independent
sentence: “I wish you’d been there, love; you could have given her the statistics.
Where are we going for our tea?” Likewise in the first experimental change, the
intended confusion of thoughts disappears with changing the original stops.
3) The semicolon is preserved; the comma between the second and the third clauses
is replaced by the elision mark: “I wish you’d been there, love; you could have given
her the statistics… Where are we going for our tea?” This variant manages to
produce the impression that the character’s thoughts are easily confused, though,
undoubtedly, the original variant conveys the author’s intention much better due to
coherence in the passage is violated.
Thus, the statement that the semicolon functions in the passage on the
metasemiotic level is explicitly proved by the experiment of replacing the original
stops. Thus, we may conclude that the original arrangement of stops is deliberate,
and its purpose is to highlight the detail of a great importance for the plot, i. e. the
fact that Mrs Whittaker suffers from mental problems. It is a very important detail
to be shown in terms of the whole context: though her serious state is getting
increasingly worse, Graham’s mother has recognized Mr Turnbull and even starts to
get better as he appears. Graham strongly dislikes this gentleman, because he is
jealous of him; thus, it is an unpleasant surprise for him to observe these
improvements. As a result, he was deeply satisfied to find out Mr Turnbull’s true
intentions and his dark secrets – in fact, he is married to a disabled woman and has
a grown-up daughter, but despite this he gets acquainted with lots of women, dates
with them, promises to get married and then disappears.
Let us now look more closely at the results of the experiment with a ‘blind
text’ in order to see whether the author’s intention could be captured relying on
lexical-syntactical means only.

37
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
I’d parked her by the war memorial, I’d parked her by the war memorial_
on her usual seat, while I went and got on her usual seat while I went and got
some reading matter. Then I waited some reading matter. Then I waited
while she went and spent a penny in while she went and spent a penny in
the disabled toilet (she’s not actually the disabled toilet. She’s not actually
disabled, her memory’s bad but she disabled, her memory’s bad, but she
says she prefers their toilets because says she prefers their toilets because
you get more elbow room). She you get more elbow room. She
always takes for ever diddling her always takes for ever, diddling her
hands and what not, and when she hands and what not, and when she
eventually comes back it turns out eventually comes back it turns out
she’s been chatting to the attendant. I she’s been chatting to the attendant. I
said, ‘What about?’ She said, said, ‘What about?’ She said,
‘Hanging.’ She was in favour of stiffer ‘Hanging. She was in favour of stiffer
penalties for minor offences and I penalties for minor offences and I
thought, ‘Well, we know better, our thought, “Well, we know better, our
Graham and me; I wish you’d been Graham and me.” I wish you’d been
there, love; you could have given her there, love; you could have given her
the statistics. Where are we going for the statistics, where are we going for
our tea?’ our tea?’
Anglicist 2
I’d parked her by the war memorial on I’d parked her by the war memorial
her usual seat while I went and got on her usual seat while I went and got
some reading matter. Then I waited some reading matter. Then I waited
while she went and spent a penny in while she went and spent a penny in the
the disabled toilet. ‘She’s not actually disabled toilet. She’s not actually
disabled: her memory’s bad, but she disabled, her memory’s bad, but she
says she prefers their toilets because says she prefers their toilets because
you get more elbow room she always you get more elbow room. She always
takes (for ever diddling her hands and takes for ever, diddling her hands and
what not); and when she eventually what not, and when she eventually
comes back, it turns out she’s been comes back it turns out she’s been
chatting to the attendant,’ I said. ‘What chatting to the attendant. I said,
about,’ she said, ‘hanging?’ She was in ‘What about?’ She said, ‘Hanging._
favour of stiffer penalties for minor She was in favour of stiffer penalties
offences. And I thought, ‘Well, we for minor offences and I thought,
know better,’ our Graham and me. ‘I “Well, we know better, our Graham
wish you’d been there, love. You and me.” I wish you’d been there, love;
could have given her the statistics.’ you could have given her the statistics,
‘Where are we going for our tea?’ where are we going for our tea?’

38
The first anglicist has a tendency to over-punctuate. Thus, in the given passage
three clauses are united within a compound sentence by means of two semicolons:
“Well, we know better, our Graham and me; I wish you’d been there, love; you could
have given her the statistics. Where are we going for our tea?” Interestingly, as
compared to the original, the clauses are arranged differently, in a more logical way:
here Mother claims directly that Graham knows more on the topic and could support
his point of view, since the first clause (‘Well, we know better, our Graham and me’)
is not presented in the form of a thought. The final remark has nothing to do with
the idea of the previous sentence and thus is parcellated by the anglicist in a separate
sentence. However, though this version sounds more logical and coherent, it goes
against the author’s initial intention to focus on Mrs Whittaker’s absent-mindedness.
The second anglicist, on the contrary, prefers to parcellate each of the three
sentences and even to present them as direct speech of two different characters: “I
wish you’d been there, love. You could have given her the statistics.” “Where are we
going for our tea?” In this case the author’s initial design is ruined completely,
though it is not unpredictable: in the original Mrs Whittaker changes the subject so
dramatically that in the text devoid of any hint on her peculiarity it is only natural to
suppose that this utterance belongs to her son, annoyed with his mother’s
contemplations, who finally tries to divert the topic.
At the same time, this anglicist found it necessary to use the semicolon in
another sentence: “She’s not actually disabled: her memory’s bad, but she says she
prefers their toilets because you get more elbow room she always takes (for ever
diddling her hands and what not); and when she eventually comes back, it turns out
she’s been chatting to the attendant,’ she said.” It should be mentioned that, since
the anglicists were offered to determine the borders of the sentences by themselves,
this version appears to differ from the original (which not infrequently happens in
the course of the experiment). In the anglicist’s sentence the second clause develops
the idea that was presented in the first part: first Graham tells about his mother’s
usual whim, and then continues to tell about things usually happening after the lady
comes back from the lavatory. After all, it may be interesting to see the original text
from a different angle, even though the initial intention may be not ‘deciphered’ by
the readers.20
The experimental replacement has proved that the original arrangement of
stops performs the metasemiotic function and is intended to expresses the individual
peculiarities of the character’s mental state. Hence, it is difficult to predict what
pattern is to be reproduced in the sentence, since stylistic nuancing will definitely
affect the whole pattern of the sentence.
Let us turn then to the prosody of the passage and see what prosodic
modulations were reproduced by the author in the audio book. Here comes the
tonetic transcription of the recorded version:

20
These results of the experiment may be regarded as well as another evidence for the importance of
punctuation marks and their role of ‘keys’ for penetrating into the artistic design.
39
For the sake of convenience let us enumerate the clauses in the following way
to refer to them: “I wish you’d been there, love (1); you could have given her the
statistics (2), where are we going for our tea (3)?”
Let us now focus on the main prosodic properties of the sentence in question21:
1) two slight22 pauses accompany the semicolon and the comma, at that the latter
is somewhat longer (about 500 ms and 600 ms, respectively). This parameter
goes against the recommendations concerning the semicolon, since the pause
accompanying this stop is supposed to be longer than that of a comma. Still, by
doing this the author / the actor conveys his original intention to show Mrs
Whittaker’s mental problems. Another reason for the author to prefer a slight
pause after the semicolon is to avoid separating the first clause from the
following one and thus to maintain a logical connection between them. In fact,
the original punctuation is quite complicated, so being produced strictly
according to the ‘rules’ the sentence would mislead the audience and prevent
their understanding;
2) the parameter of pitch fully corresponds to the rules: the first stressed word in the
clause preceding the semicolon (wish) is produced on a higher pitch as compared

21
See the results of the instrumental analysis performed using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 5.
22
Taken into account quite a slow tempo of the monologue and the length of other pauses produced by the
speaker the pauses in the sentence should be regarded as slight rather than one-unit.
40
to the one in the clause after the semicolon (you): about 520 Hz and 400 Hz
respectively;
3) while producing the clause after the semicolon tempo somewhat increases, which
follows the ‘rules’;
4) while producing the clause after the semicolon loudness remains the same as in
the previous clause instead of diminishing. Such a modulation is only natural,
since the clause after the semicolon gives the argument for the statement
presented in the preceding clause and thus should be pronounced articulatory
enough. (It is important to produce the clause loudly especially because tempo in
the clause is increased, thus intelligibility has slightly decreased).

Pic. 5.
Interestingly, in the screen adaptation the author produces pauses in a different
way, while other prosodic parameters remain the same:

As we can see from the tonetic transcription, in this variant the arrangement
of pauses corresponds to the recommendations even less precisely than the one in
the audio book. The produced effect is drastically different as compared to the latter
variant: since the last clause stands apart from the rest, the sentence no longer seems
to be confusing, as if the speaker had some violations of rational thinking; it sounds
as if the character found it necessary to switch to some other subject for this or that
reason.
Surprisingly enough, the anglicist produces the pattern closer to the screen
adaptation, rather than to the audio book. Here comes the tonetic transcription of the
anglicist’s version of the passage:

41
Though the prosodic parameters are close to those produced by the actor, the
variant presented by the anglicist is much more ‘philological’ and follows the ‘rules’
more strictly:
1) the arranging of the prosodic pattern corresponds to the recommendations (i. e.
the first stressed word of the first clause ‘I’ is pitched higher than the one in the
second clause ‘you’);
2) the second clause is produced with an increased tempo;
3) loudness does not change in the clause after the semicolon;
4) the arrangement of pauses in this variant is similar to the one in the screen
adaptation: a slight pause accompanies the semicolon, while a one-unit pause
refers to the comma. Due to a somewhat fastened tempo and the pattern of pauses,
two logical ‘blocks’ are created: Mother’s retelling of her conversation and her
question concerning their plans. Such an arrangement does not correspond to the
author’s initial intention to show Mother’s mental instability through her speech.
As it has been shown, the author’s variant in the audio book conveys the idea of
the printed text more precisely.
Thus, we may conclude that the prosodic arrangement produced in reading
sometimes not only goes against the recommendations but may even deviate from
the printed original. The ‘rules’ may be violated to produce a stylistic effect and
convey the artistic design more vividly. What the speaker is after changing prosodic
42
properties of the original stops is to improve (or at least not to hamper) the
audience’s understanding of the sentence.
In fact, in this case it is the whole ‘system’ of stops that functions to produce the
effect encoded by the author: to show Mrs Whittaker’s mental disorder. Moreover,
the instance of using the comma in this arrangement is even more conspicuous and
effective than that of the semicolon, since it is the comma that reflects a jumble of
thoughts in the lady’s head and her inability to concentrate on a particular subject,
so that neither her thoughts nor utterances are logically connected. While producing
the sentence aloud we should always bear in mind this peculiarity, as to implement
the author’s design it has to be pronounced uninterruptedly, as one contour, despite
the fact that not all of its parts are related. Two prosodic patterns – that of a comma
and that of the semicolon – should be followed and reproduced as a ‘system’ rather
than a sequence of two separate stops.

*
There must be a famine on somewhere because we were just letting our
midday meal go down when the vicar calls with some envelopes. Breezes in, anorak
and running shoes, and he says, ‘I always look forward to coming to this house, Mrs
Whittaker.’ (He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which she’s not; it’s one of the few things
she isn’t.) He says, ‘Do you know why? It’s because you two remind me of Jesus and
his mother.’ Well, I’ve always thought Jesus was a bit off-hand with his mother, and
on one occasion I remember he was quite snotty with her, but I didn’t say anything.
And of course Madam is over the moon. In her book if you can’t get compared with
the Queen Mother the Virgin Mary’s the next best thing. <…>
(Alan Bennett. “A Chip in the Sugar”)
The second passage under consideration describes another character of the
monologue – the local vicar, who usually visits Graham and his mother and normally
chats with her about some ordinary things. It is easy to see, even in the given passage,
that Graham dislikes the vicar, since he speaks about him highly sarcastically. He
treats his mother ironically as well, though: in some passages the lady is described
with mild irony, yet sometimes the narrator treats even her sarcastically, with
annoyance or irritation. In the passage under discussion the character retells the
dialogue describing the participants ironically, though the irony is far from being
mild. Thus, for instance, Graham’s remark about his Mother’s problem with her ears
sounds ironical but somewhat brutish, even though his sarcasm concerns mainly the
vicar: “He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which she’s not; it’s one of the few things she
isn’t.”
The passage belongs to the colloquial style; thus, neutral vocabulary is mainly
used here, with the exception for the word off-hand23 which is marked as British

23
“Off-hand adjective 1 British English not very friendly towards someone when you are talking to them;
e. g. She said you were a bit offhand with her this afternoon. e. g. an offhand tone of voice.” [LDCE, 2009].
43
English. A few colloquial traits can be found in the passage: the word snotty24 is
informal; the Queen Mother and the Virgin Mary are replaced by the word thing to
avoid repetition, which is typical of colloquial English. Interestingly, the vicar starts
the conversation with the only formal phrase in the passage (‘I always look forward
to coming to this house’), due to which his utterance stands apart from the rest of the
extract and thus sounds a bit pompous; this fact reveals both Graham’s and the
author’s ironical attitude to the character.
Syntactically, the sentence containing the semicolon is a parenthetical
insertion marked off by brackets: “(He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which she’s not;
it’s one of the few things she isn’t.)” In terms of the elaborated classification, this
case of using the semicolon may be described as linking two clauses, the second of
which introduces a new idea to the sentence: in the first clause Graham tells that his
mother is not deaf, and in the second clause he makes a new – rather cynical – remark
about his mother’s health; in fact, the reader understands that Mrs Whittaker’s state
of health is rather serious. Despite being used in quite an attitudinal sentence (a
sarcastic remark, concerning, perhaps, mainly the vicar than his Mother), the
instance of using the semicolon here is purely semantic, since its primary purpose is
to emphasise the connection between the clauses.
Since this connection is so tight, the semicolon seems to be the only possible
stop to be used in the sentence. Let us make an experimental change to support this
statement:
1) the semicolon is replaced by a comma: “He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which she’s
not, it’s one of the few things she isn’t.” Since the first clause already contains a stop,
the comma may hamper the perception of the sentence. Thus, it is recommended in
most grammar books that the semicolon should be used here. Moreover, in this
variant the sentence acquires a matter-of-fact sounding and thus ironic attitude
disappears.
2) the semicolon is replaced by a full stop: “He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which she’s
not. It’s one of the few things she isn’t.” In case of parcellation the semantic
correlation of the clauses becomes less evident both in the printed text and in reading
because of a two-unit pause. Moreover, a longish pause would make the second
clause sound as stating a fact, while the author’s irony would become rather vague
and difficult to catch.
3) the semicolon is replaced by a dash: “He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which she’s
not – it’s one of the few things she isn’t.” This replacement seems to be the most
effective of all, since in this case the final clause becomes an afterthought and thus
the whole sentence sounds more contemplative. Such version corresponds to the
character of the passage and the monologue in general, for it is an unhurried
contemplation of the character, enabling to dwell upon the points he finds most

24
“Snotty adjective informal 1 someone who is snotty is rude and annoying, especially because they think
that they are more important than other people – used to show disapproval; SYN snooty; e. g. some snotty
little clerk.” [LDCE, 2009].
44
significant. Still, using the semicolon is more typical of the author25, so in this case
he prefers it to the dash.
Nevertheless, the semicolon was used in this sentence by only one of two
anglicists who punctuated the ‘blind text’; the other philologist did not ‘detect’ the
stop and replaced it by a comma.
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
There must be a famine on somewhere There must be a famine on somewhere
because we were just letting our because we were just letting our
midday meal go down, when the vicar midday meal go down when the vicar
calls with some envelopes. Breezes in calls with some envelopes. Breezes in,
(anorak and running shoes) and he anorak and running shoes, and he
says, ‘I always look forward to says, ‘I always look forward to
coming to this house, Mrs Whittaker.’ coming to this house, Mrs Whittaker.’
_He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which (He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which
she’s not; it’s one of the few things she’s not; it’s one of the few things
she isn’t. He says, ‘Do you know she isn’t.) He says, ‘Do you know
why? It’s because you two remind me why? It’s because you two remind me
of Jesus and his mother.’ Well, I’ve of Jesus and his mother.’ Well, I’ve
always thought Jesus was a bit off- always thought Jesus was a bit off-
hand with his mother, and on one hand with his mother, and on one
occasion I remember he was quite occasion I remember he was quite
snotty with her but I didn’t say snotty with her, but I didn’t say
anything. And, of course, Madam is anything. And of course Madam is
over the moon. In her book, if you over the moon. In her book if you
can’t get compared with the Queen can’t get compared with the Queen
Mother, the Virgin Mary’s the next Mother the Virgin Mary’s the next
best thing. best thing.
Anglicist 2
There must be a famine on somewhere There must be a famine on somewhere
because we were just letting our because we were just letting our
midday meal go down. When the vicar midday meal go down when the vicar
calls with some envelopes, breezes calls with some envelopes. Breezes
in_anorak and running shoes and he in, anorak and running shoes, and he
says, ‘I always look forward to says, ‘I always look forward to coming
coming to this house, Mrs Whittaker.’ to this house, Mrs Whittaker.’
_He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which (He’s got the idea she’s deaf, which
she’s not, it’s one of the few things she’s not; it’s one of the few things
she isn’t. He says, ‘Do you know she isn’t.) He says, ‘Do you know
why? It’s because you two remind me why? It’s because you two remind me
25
Thus, in the monologues studied in the present guide the dash was used only once; in addition, there is
an instance of a double dash introducing a parenthetical insertion.
45
of Jesus and his mother.’ Well, I’ve of Jesus and his mother.’ Well, I’ve
always thought Jesus was a bit off- always thought Jesus was a bit off-
hand with his mother and, on one hand with his mother, and on one
occasion, I remember he was quite occasion I remember he was quite
snotty with her. But I didn’t say snotty with her, but I didn’t say
anything and, of course, Madam is anything. And of course Madam is
over the moon. In her book, if you over the moon. In her book if you
can’t get compared with the Queen can’t get compared with the Queen
Mother, the Virgin Mary’s the next Mother the Virgin Mary’s the next
best thing. best thing.

Since the function of the semicolon was described as purely semiotic,


according to the classification, the prosody of the sentence is expected to correspond
to the ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’. However, the fact that the sentence under
consideration is part of the parenthetical insertion may influence its prosodic pattern.

Assignment 4
Read out the following two versions of the text relying on the tonetic
transcriptions – the one produced by the actor/author and the other produced by a
qualified anglicist. Which additional shades of meaning appear owing to the
differences in the prosodic patterns?
Actor/author’s version:

46
Anglicist’s version:

Commentary
Let us first turn to the author’s reading of the text and see how he ‘hears’ the
punctuation marks he uses. The sentence we are specially interested in is a
parenthetical insertion, that is why it is pitched lower than the preceding and the
following sentences. Let us now concentrate on other prosodic characteristics of the
sentence26:
1) pitch: the first stressed word in the clause before the semicolon (he’s) is produced
on a higher pitch as compared to the one in the first clause (it’s): 180 Hz and 120 Hz
respectively;
2) no pause is produced between the clauses; thus, no punctuation mark is produced
in reading, while in the printed text quite a ‘weighty’ stop is used;
3) in addition to the absence of a pause, the whole sentence is produced faster than
the surrounding sentences; at that the clause after the semicolon is pronounced with
an increased tempo, which corresponds to the recommendations;
4) the whole sentence is performed with a considerably diminished loudness. At that,
no change of loudness is observed in the clause after the semicolon, which makes

26
See the results of the instrumental analysis below, Pic. 6.
47
the second clause sound as presenting the actual state of affairs, stating the fact
without expressing any personal attitude to it.
Thus, we may conclude that all the modulations (changes in the parameters of
pausation and loudness) can be accounted for the prosodic peculiarities typical of
parenthetical insertions: these grammatical constructions are normally produced
with an increased tempo and a diminished loudness [Aleksandrova, 1984; Arapieva,
1985]. As for the prosody of the semicolon, no severe violations of the recommended
parameters are observed, as it was expected for the semiotic function (see
The Introduction).

Pic. 6.
The version produced by the anglicist does not coincide with the audio book,
though the differences are minor:
1) pitch: the first stressed word in the second clause (he’s) is produced on a higher
level as compared to the one in the clause after the semicolon (it’s);
2) quite a short slight pause accompanies the semicolon (cf.: the actor omits a pause
between the clauses);
3) the first clause is produced with an increasingly fastened tempo as compared to
the surrounding sentences; the clause after the semicolon is produced very distinctly
and more slowly than the preceding clause. Thus, the part after the semicolon sounds
more prominent and attracts more attention;
4) while producing the second clause loudness is increased; in combination with
slow tempo, the parameter makes the second clause especially prominent.
In this variant the part after the semicolon sounds more prominent than the
preceding one, since it is produced more distinctly and more slowly. As a result, in
the anglicist’s version the character’s attitude to the vicar is highly negative but
without a trace of irony – Graham clearly detests the man and finds his visits to their
house very unpleasant. To compare, in the audiobook the author/actor increases
tempo in the clause after the semicolon and in such a way shows that Graham
dislikes the vicar and also mocks him.
Interestingly enough, the variant produced by the author/actor in the screen
adaptation differs drastically from the one in the audio book:

48
To begin with, the author is much
more emotional in the screen adaptation
and exploits acting – both voicing and
facial – more actively. His ‘balled’
posture, bowed back and clinched hands
reveal his inner turmoil (see the picture
on the right). Another difference is his
attitude to the vicar: if in the audio
version we could hear his distaste for
this person and his sarcasm towards him,
in the video variant the character is
obviously filled with intense hatred to
the vicar, which is expressed both audially (by means of prosody and imitating the
vicar’s words by shifting the prosody) and visually (he changes his facial expression
to mimic the vicar).
The character finds it offensive that the vicar always forgets the fact that
Mrs Whittaker has no problems with her ears, especially because it is the only
disease she does not suffer from. It seems that Graham is terribly insulted that his
mother is deprived of the only unharmed skill: while producing the part after the
semicolon he is more than simply irritated – he is angry.
Interestingly, in this variant all the parameters typical of the semicolon are
produced in accordance with the ‘rules’: the part after the semicolon is pitched lower
than the preceding one; a very long pause accompanies the stop (it is long enough to
be regarded as two-unit); while producing the clause after the stop tempo increases,
while loudness is diminished. At the same time, three words are highlighted and
become especially prominent: deaf and few and not. We may suppose that the stop
was produced with a recommended prosody not to come into the focus of attention
and thus to make the three High Falls stand out and deliver the idea of the sentence.

*
New outfit this time: little suede coat, corduroy collar, maroon trousers. She
says, ‘You’re colourful.’ ‘We just happen to have these slacks on offer,’ he says. ‘I
was wondering whether you fancied a run out to Bolton Abbey?’ ‘Bolton Abbey?’
she says. ‘Oh, that’s right up our street, isn’t it, Graham? Graham’s good with
buildings, aren’t you, Graham? He knows all the periods of houses. There’s one
period that’s just come in. Other people don’t like it yet but we do, don’t we,
Graham?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘You do. What is it?’ ‘Victorian,’ I said. ‘That’s it,
Victorian. Only there’s a lot been pulled down.’ Mr Turnbull yawns. ‘I’ve got a little
49
bungalow.’ ‘That’s nice,’ Mother says. ‘I like a nice bungalow, don’t you, Graham?’
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘provided it’s not a blot on the landscape.’ ‘Mine’s architect designed,’
says Mr Turnbull. ‘It has a patio and a breakfast bar, it overlooks a beauty spot.’
‘Oh,’ said Mother, ‘sounds tip-top. We’d better be getting our skates on, Graham.’
He said, ‘I’ve got to pick up a load of green three-quarter-length windcheaters in
Ilkley; there won’t really be room for a third party. Isn’t there anything on at the
pictures?’ ‘Oh he’ll be happy reading,’ Mother said. ‘Won’t you, Graham?’
‘Anyway,’ Mr Turnbull said, ‘you don’t want to be with your Mother at your age,
Graham?’ I didn’t say anything.
(Alan Bennett. “A Chip in the Sugar”)
The better part of the passage includes a conversation on insignificant, plain
things between Mr Turnbull, Mrs Whittaker (who are going for an excursion) and
Graham (who is practically forced by his mother and her friend to stay at home).
Thus, the characters mainly talk about architectural styles of neighbouring houses
and discuss Mr Turnbull’s bungalow.
The passage belongs mainly to the colloquial style due to numerous pieces of
direct speech; thus, the vocabulary may be characterised as neutral plus spoken (tip-
top27 and get your skates on28 are colloquial). Interestingly enough, Mr Turnbull uses
a specialized term (a third party29), which is probably added by the character to his
speech to sound more sophisticated and impress the lady (as the plot unfolds it turns
out that the gentleman is a conjurer; thus, his main aim is to produce a favourable
impression on Mrs Whittaker by all means).
Indeed, throughout the whole passage Mr Turnbull is doing his best to show
off at the expense of Graham; moreover, Graham strongly dislikes the gentleman
either. No wonder, therefore, that Mr Turnbull would prefer not to invite the man
for the walk and tries to make up some good reason for it: “I’ve got to pick up a load
of green three-quarter-length windcheaters in Ilkley; there won’t really be room for
a third party.” Thus, on the syntactic level the semicolon establishes cause-
consequence relationships: Mr Turnbull’s happened to take too many things with
him on business, that is why there is no space for Graham in his car.
Let us now try and replace the original semicolon (“I’ve got to pick up a load
of green three-quarter-length windcheaters in Ilkley; there won’t really be room for
a third party.”) with other stops:
1) the semicolon is replaced by a comma: “I’ve got to pick up a load of green
three-quarter-length windcheaters in Ilkley, there won’t really be room for a third
party.” In this case the connection between the clauses becomes too close, and the
speaker sounds too decisive in his unwillingness to invite Graham and thus would
27
“Tip-top adjective informal excellent. E. g. The car’s in tip-top condition.” [LDCE, 2009].
28
“Get/put your skates on British English spoken used to tell someone to hurry. E. g. Put your skates on,
or you’ll be late for school.” [LDCE, 2009].
29
“Third party law someone who is not one of the two main people involved in an agreement or legal
case, but who is affected by it in some way.” [LDCE, 2009].
50
be too rude. Phonetically, such an impression is created due to the fact that the pause
accompanying a comma is considerably shorter than that of the semicolon.
2) the semicolon is replaced by a full stop: “I’ve got to pick up a load of green
three-quarter-length windcheaters in Ilkley. There won’t really be room for a third
party.” Here the cause-consequence connection becomes rather blurred and thus Mr
Turnbull’s refusal to invite Graham sounds unreasonable and having no ground and
excuse. With a longish one-unit pause accompanying the semicolon and a final
prosody before a full stop, the sentence will sound too authoritarian, impatient and
excessively rude and unacceptable for any well-bred person.
Thus, we may conclude that the semicolon functions here at the metasemiotic
level as well: it ‘mitigates’ Mr Turnbull’s refusal, so his unwillingness to invite
Graham does not sound too straight-forward.
Here come the results obtained during the pragmalinguistic experiment with
a ‘blind text’: the first anglicist preferred to parcellate the clauses and separate them
with a full stop, perhaps to make the text sound more decisive (I’ve got to pick up a
load of green three-quarter-length windcheaters in Ilkley. There won’t really be
room for a third party.); while the second anglicist has detected the original
semicolon.
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
New outfit this time: little suede coat, New outfit this time: little suede coat,
corduroy collar, maroon trousers. She corduroy collar, maroon trousers. She
says, ‘You’re colourful’. ‘We just says, ‘You’re colourful.’ ‘We just
happen to have these slacks on offer,’ happen to have these slacks on offer,’
he says, ‘I was wondering whether he says. ‘I was wondering whether
you fancied a run out to Bolton you fancied a run out to Bolton
Abbey.’ ‘Bolton Abbey,’ she says, Abbey?’ ‘Bolton Abbey?’ she says.
‘oh_that’s right up our street, isn’t it, ‘Oh, that’s right up our street, isn’t it,
Graham? Graham’s good with Graham? Graham’s good with
buildings, aren’t you, Graham? He buildings, aren’t you, Graham? He
knows all the periods of houses. knows all the periods of houses.
There’s one period that’s just come in. There’s one period that’s just come in.
Other people don’t like it yet, but we Other people don’t like it yet but we
do, don’t we, Graham?’ ‘I don’t do, don’t we, Graham?’ ‘I don’t
know,’ I said. ‘You do. What is it?’ know,’ I said. ‘You do. What is it?’
‘Victorian,’ I said. ‘That’s it, ‘Victorian,’ I said. ‘That’s it,
Victorian.’ ‘Only there’s a lot been Victorian. Only there’s a lot been
pulled down,’ Mr Turnbull yawns, pulled down.’ Mr Turnbull yawns.
‘I’ve got a little bungalow’ ‘That’s ‘I’ve got a little bungalow.’ ‘That’s
nice,’ Mother says, ‘I like a nice nice,’ Mother says. ‘I like a nice
bungalow, don’t you Graham?’ ‘Yes,’ bungalow, don’t you, Graham?’ ‘Yes,’
I said. ‘Provided. It’s not a blot on the I said, ‘provided it’s not a blot on the
51
landscape. _ Mine’s architect landscape.’ ‘Mine’s architect
designed,’ says Mr Turnbull, ‘It has a designed,’ says Mr Turnbull. ‘It has a
patio and a breakfast bar. It overlooks patio and a breakfast bar, it overlooks
a beauty spot’ ‘Oh,’ said Mother, a beauty spot.’ ‘Oh,’ said Mother,
‘sounds tip-top!’ ‘We’d better be ‘sounds tip-top. We’d better be
getting our skates on, Graham,’ he getting our skates on, Graham.’ He
said, ‘I’ve got to pick up a load of said, ‘I’ve got to pick up a load of
green three-quarter-length green three-quarter-length
windcheaters in Ilkley. There won’t windcheaters in Ilkley; there won’t
really be room for a third party. ‘Isn’t really be room for a third party. Isn’t
there anything on at the pictures? Oh, there anything on at the pictures?’ ‘Oh
he’ll be happy reading,’ Mother said, he’ll be happy reading,’ Mother said.
‘won’t you, Graham?’ ‘Anyway,’ Mr ‘Won’t you, Graham?’ ‘Anyway,’ Mr
Turnbull said, ‘you don’t want to be Turnbull said, ‘you don’t want to be
with your Mother at your age, with your Mother at your age,
Graham.’ I didn’t say anything. Graham?’ I didn’t say anything.
Anglicist 2
New outfit this time: little suede coat, New outfit this time: little suede coat,
corduroy collar, maroon trousers. She corduroy collar, maroon trousers. She
says, “You’re colourful.” “We just says, ‘You’re colourful.’ ‘We just
happen to have these slacks on offer,” happen to have these slacks on offer,’
he says. “I was wondering whether he says. ‘I was wondering whether you
you fancied a run out to Bolton fancied a run out to Bolton
Abbey.” “Bolton Abbey,” she says, Abbey?’ ‘Bolton Abbey?’ she says.
“oh, that’s right up our street, isn’t it, ‘Oh, that’s right up our street, isn’t it,
Graham? Graham’s good with Graham? Graham’s good with
buildings, aren’t you, Graham? He buildings, aren’t you, Graham? He
knows all the periods of houses. knows all the periods of houses.
There’s one period that’s just come There’s one period that’s just come
in; other people don’t like it yet, but in. Other people don’t like it yet but
we do, don’t we, Graham?” “I don’t we do, don’t we, Graham?’ ‘I don’t
know,” I said. “You do. What is it?” know,’ I said. ‘You do. What is it?’
“Victorian,” I said. “That’s it, ‘Victorian,’ I said. ‘That’s it,
Victorian; only there’s a lot been Victorian. Only there’s a lot been
pulled down.” Mr Turnbull yawns. pulled down.’ Mr Turnbull yawns.
“I’ve got a little bungalow.” “That’s ‘I’ve got a little bungalow.’ ‘That’s
nice,” Mother says. “I like a nice nice,’ Mother says. ‘I like a nice
bungalow. Don’t you, Graham?” bungalow, don’t you, Graham?’
“Yes,” I said, “provided it’s not a blot ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘provided it’s not a blot
on the landscape.” “Mine’s architect on the landscape.’ ‘Mine’s architect
designed,” says Mr Turnbull. “It has a designed,’ says Mr Turnbull. ‘It has a
patio and a breakfast bar. It overlooks patio and a breakfast bar, it overlooks
a beauty spot.” “Oh,” said Mother, a beauty spot.’ ‘Oh,’ said Mother,

52
“sounds tip-top. We’d better be ‘sounds tip-top. We’d better be
getting our skates on, Graham.” He getting our skates on, Graham.’ He
said, “I’ve got to pick up a load of said, ‘I’ve got to pick up a load of
green three-quarter-length green three-quarter-length
windcheaters in Ilkley; there won’t windcheaters in Ilkley; there won’t
really be room for a third party. Isn’t really be room for a third party. Isn’t
there anything on at the pictures?” there anything on at the pictures?’
“Oh, he’ll be happy reading,” Mother ‘Oh_he’ll be happy reading,’ Mother
said, “won’t you, Graham?” said. ‘Won’t you, Graham?’
“Anyway,” Mr Turnbull said, “You ‘Anyway,’ Mr Turnbull said, ‘you
don’t want to be with your Mother at don’t want to be with your Mother at
your age, Graham?” I didn’t say your age, Graham?’ I didn’t say
anything. anything.

In addition, the second anglicist includes another semicolon into the passage:
There’s one period that’s just come in; other people don’t like it yet, but we do, don’t
we, Graham? As compared to the original full stop, this sentence sounds more
coherent, which does not correspond to the rest of Mrs Whittaker’s speech, as the
lady suffers from mental disorder (see the analysis of the first passage of the
monologue). Thus, her thoughts are rather patchy and change easily, which is
expressed by means of a full stop.
Taking into account that the case of using the semicolon is polyphonic (i. e.
the stop performs its functions both on the syntactic and metasemiotic levels), the
prosody of the sentence is difficult to predict. On the one hand, according to the
classification, the set of prosodic parameters typical of the case of cause-effect
relations (on the syntactic level) is expected to correspond to the ‘rules’ but for the
tempo, which should slow down instead of fastening. While on the other, to express
the stylistic functioning of the stop the actor is supposed to hesitate slightly while
pronouncing the sentence so that Mr Turnbull does not sound impolite and even
rude. The only peculiarity to be expected is that the metasemiotic function would
definitely affect the recommended prosody and bring some changes into it.
Let us now focus on the prosody produced by the author; here comes the
tonetic transcription of the variant presented in the audio book:

53
1) The modulation of pitch follows the ‘rules’: the second clause is pitched lower
than the preceding part of the sentence. The first stressed word in the clause after the
semicolon (really) is produced on a lower level than the one in the clause before the
stop (got), 190 Hz and 200 Hz respectively30;

30
See the results of the instrumental experiment conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 7.
54
2) the pause between the clauses is quite a longish one-unit pause (about 1000 ms),
which is recommended for the stop by the ‘rules’;
3) tempo and loudness remain unchanged in the second clause instead of fastening,
which follows neither the ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’ (to increase tempo
and to diminish loudness), nor the recommendations given in the classification (to
slow down tempo and to diminish loudness). These changes to the recommended
prosody were brought by the author deliberately to express the metasemiotic
function of the semicolon: Mr Turnbull tries to express his dislike to Graham in a
polite form. If tempo were fastened and loudness were increased, the sentence would
sound rude and would call for open confrontation between the men. Given as it is,
Mr Turnbull pretends to hesitate and be uncertain whether the third person is
welcome (though he is sure it is not so).

Pic. 7.

Assignment 5
Look at the tonetic transcription of the sentence presenting the way the
actor/author produced it in the screen adaptation. Does the intention of the speaker,
Mr Turnbull, sound different in this version?

Commentary
In the screen adaptation this sentence is performed in a slightly different way.
First and foremost, the author changes the original and inserts Graham’s words in
the middle of direct speech. Thus, judging from the pattern of pauses, we may
assume that the graphic form would contain the semicolon after said. Apart from the
difference in arranging pauses, the prosodic modification of the sentence in the
screen adaptation does not differ from that in the audio book. Still, in the video

55
Mr Turnbull’s distaste for Graham is
much more evident due to the
author’s acting: performed by the
author, Mr Turnbull looks down at
the narrator arrogantly, with the
expression of scorn on his face (see
the picture). Moreover, supported by
the mimics and posture, his refusal to
invite Graham sounds more
persistent and a bit malevolent.
The anglicist’s reading
completely coincides with the one
produced by the author in the audiobook: the parameters of pitch and pausation are
followed, while tempo and loudness do not change in the second clause in order to
avoid emphasising the part after the stop and thus to make the refusal sound less
rude.

56
Thus, we may conclude that in those cases where the stop performs two
functions – the syntactic and the metasemiotic one – the prosodic arrangement of the
sentence would not fully correspond to the ‘rules’ or the prosody recommended for
this particular syntactic case, for certain changes are to be brought to the
conventional set of parameters to express additional emotional-evaluative-
expressive characteristics of the stop and thus to perform its metasemiotic function.
This brings us to the most significant conclusion that although in fiction punctuation
retains its grammatical function of signalling the syntactic relationships within the
utterance, the choice of punctuation marks depends primarily on the initial aesthetic-
artistic design of the author, with the considerations of style most always prevailing
over those of syntax.

57
Soldiering On
Assignment 6
Read out the opening paragraph of the monologue Soldiering On, the fourth one
in the series Talking Heads. Try to guess which event the character is preparing for.
It’s funny time, three o’clock, too late for lunch but a bit early for
tea. Besides, there were one or two brave souls who’d trekked all the way
from Wolverhampton; I couldn’t risk giving them tea or we’d have had a
mutiny on our hands. And I think people like to be offered something even
if they don’t actually eat it. One’s first instinct was to make a beeline for
the freezer and rout out the inevitable quiche, but I thought, ‘Muriel, old
girl, that’s the coward’s way out,’ so the upshot was I stopped up till two
in the morning trundling out a selection of my old standards – chicken in
a lemon sauce, beef en croute from the old Colchester days (I thought of
Jessie Marchant), and bushels of assorted salads. As it happened it wasn’t
exactly a salady day, quite crisp for April actually, however Mabel
warmed up the proceedings with one of her famous soups, conjured up out
of thin air, so we lived to fight another day. Nobody could quite put their
finger on the flavour, so I was able to go round saying, ‘Have you guessed
the soup yet?’ and that broke the ice a bit. I don’t know what had got into
Mabel but she’d gone mad and added a pinch of curry and that foxed most
people. It was cauliflower actually.
(Alan Bennett. “Soldiering On”)

Commentary
This passage opens the monologue. It sounds as if the character is shown in
the middle of telling a story and the event for which all the preparations take place
is not clear from the beginning. At first sight, some party is being on the way and
the heroine’s anxiousness about
welcoming her guests seems a usual thing.
In fact, the heroine is organising a
commemoration party after her husband’s
funeral, but the reader can understand it
only a few paragraphs later. The
television adaptation does not quite create
such an intrigue, as the character’s
appearance may give the audience a clue
(see the picture below)31.
The monologue is performed by
Muriel, a middle-aged woman, who has

It should be noted that in the screen adaptation the audience can grasp much faster what kind of the event
31

Muriel organizes due to the character’s outfit (see the picture).


58
just lost her husband and thus faces the necessity to cope with financial and family
problems. The plot unfolds gradually and it seems that each part starts somewhere
in the middle of the character’s speech; thus, the readers and the audience are
constantly provided with new details that should be collected and put together like a
jigsaw to create a whole picture. For instance, in the course of the story it turns out
that one of the character’s daughters, Margaret, suffers from mental disorder and has
to be placed to a special hospital. Another detail is that after her husband’s death
Muriel discovers that the financial situation of her family is rather poor, so she is
expected to take some decisive actions but cannot pluck up courage to do so.
Though the manner of telling is rather fragmental, the monologue includes
quite a few events: the funeral of the character’s husband Ralph (Passage 1)32, her
discussion with her husband’s assistant (and at the same time her son-in-law) Giles
of financial matters, several visits to the daughter’s psychiatrist together with the
girl, her attempts to distract from her grief visiting the library (Passage 2) and the
Health Center (Passage 3), deterioration (Passage 4) and the further improvement of
Margaret’s mental state, Muriel’s moving to a new house after and her attempts to
adjust to a new stage of her life.
Sentences in the monologue are quite long and complex; at the same time the
author includes colloquial syntactic constructions, such as omitting personal
pronouns (“Don’t see him and Pipa much <...>.”), beginning a sentence with the
conjunction and (“And then I’d a hundred and one things to do so I was perfectly all
right <…>.”), parcellating sentences (“Margaret still lying on the bed when I went
upstairs. Asleep she looks quite presentable. Daddy’s little girl. Not so little now,
those great legs”.).
Before we pass on to analyzing the selected passages some remarks
concerning the actress’s reading are to be made. In both versions – the audio book
and the screen adaptation – Stephanie Cole plays Muriel. The variants largely
coincide in every parameter but for separate sentences, which are produced much
more emotionally in the video version.
The average tempo produced by the actress is a bit faster than medium, which
allows her to alternate the speed of her speech fastening and slowing down in order
to bring out the most prominent details. Likewise, not infrequently the actress plays
upon loudness for the same purpose. Another peculiarity typical of the speaker is
adding various voice qualities to express the feelings of her heroine and make the
monologue sound more expressive. Thus, we hear tears in the voice of the actress;
sometimes she smirks and sighs; we hear how exhausted the character is when
loudness is diminished up to whispering or how unpleased she is when her voice
gets slightly husky.
Let us now turn to the passage mentioned above. Now that the actual event
became obvious (and the reader reveals the actual state of affairs within a couple of

32
Four passages were selected for the analysis, since they include the semicolon.
59
paragraphs), we can grasp some new shades of meaning: the reason for the
character’s fussing around cooking is caused by her stress and frustration.
At the same time, the passage is ironical throughout. Lexically irony is
revealed through inherent connotations of the words and word combinations
comprising a sustained war metaphor, which is manifested already in the title
‘Soldiering on’33 and later in the text: brave souls34, risk35, mutiny36, instinct37,
fight38. Preparations for the party are compared with preparations for a battle, since
both require time and effort, while starving guests remind the character of rebels.
Making a parallel between such incomparable, even opposite events the character
expresses her ironical attitude to the preparations. In fact, the idea behind her irony
is much deeper: the author signals how discouraged and unhappy Muriel has become
without her husband. However, at the same time, she goes on living a normal life in
spite of the tragedy (i. e. she continues ‘soldiering on’).
Like in the rest of monologues in the series, the author imitates free direct
speech by using several lexical means: the author’s neologism salady and the lexis
marked in the dictionary as ‘informal’: besides39, trek40, beeline41 and fox42.
In the sentence with the semicolon the character ponders on how to welcome
her guests and to organize the event properly: Besides, there were one or two brave
souls who’d trekked all the way from Wolverhampton; I couldn’t risk giving them

33
“Soldier on phrasal verb; especially British English to continue working in spite of difficulties; e.
g.: We’ll just have to soldier on without him.” [LDCE, 2009].
34
“Brave adjective 1) dealing with danger, pain, or difficult situations with courage and confidence; e. g.:
her brave fight against cancer; 2) very good; e. g.: Despite their captain’s brave performance, Arsenal
lost.” [LDCE, 2009].
“Soul noun 2) used in particular phrases to mean a person; e. g. I promise I won’t tell a soul.” [LDCE,
2009].
35
“Risk verb 1) to put something in a situation in which it could be lost, destroyed, or harmed; e. g.: When
children start smoking, they don’t realize that they’re risking their health. 2) to get into a situation where
something unpleasant may happen to you; e. g.: They may even risk losing their homes. 3) to do something
that you know may have dangerous or unpleasant result; e. g.: Are you prepared to risk traveling without
an armed guard?” [LDCE, 2009].
36
“Mutiny noun when soldiers, sailors etc. refuse to obey the person who is in charge of them, and try to
take control for themselves; e. g.: He led a mutiny against the captain.” [LDCE, 2009].
“Instinct noun a natural tendency to behave in a particular way or a natural ability to know something,
37

which is not learned; e. g.: Animals have a natural instinct for survival.” [LDCE, 2009].
38
“Fight verb 1 to take part in a war or battle; e. g.: the families of those who fought in the war.” [LDCE,
2009].
39
“Besides adverb, preposition, informal 1) spoken used when adding another reason; e. g.: I need the
money. And besides, when I agree to do something, I do it.” [LDCE, 2009].
40
“Trek verb 1 informal to make a long and difficult journey, especially on foot; e. g. The elevator was
broken, so we had to trek up six flights of stairs.” [LDCE, 2009].
41
“Make a beeline for somebody/something informal to go quickly and directly towards someone or
something; e. g.: Rob always makes a beeline for beautiful women.”
42
“Fox verb British English, informal 1) to be too difficult for someone to do or understand; e. g.: We were
foxed by the problem. 2) to confuse or deceive someone in a clever way.” [LDCE, 2009].
60
tea or we’d have had a mutiny on our hands. At that, the first clause introduces the
idea that a lot of people would come to Muriel, while the second one develops her
thoughts concerning the guests: they should be welcomed properly and offered a
substantial meal; otherwise the guests may be displeased, to say the least. Thus,
according to the classification, the semicolon here links the clauses, the second of
which develops the previous idea.
Although the clauses seem to be rather independent semantically (i. e. they
introduce different ideas that do not establish any evident relations), they are related
logically. However, the readers have to reconstruct this link by themselves; thus, we
may guess that Wolverhampton is located at quite a long distance from Muriel’s
house, and the travel to her place is rather long and exhausting. Thus, the semicolon
is required here to signal the logical connectedness of the clauses and to create the
semantic unity, which would be ruined if the stop were changed to a full stop:
“Besides, there were one or two brave souls who’d trekked all the way from
Wolverhampton. I couldn’t risk giving them tea or we’d have had a mutiny on our
hands.”
Moreover, the first clause already contains a comma, so the clarity of the
sentence would suffer if the semicolon were substituted with a comma:
“Besides, there were one or two brave souls who’d trekked all the way from
Wolverhampton, I couldn’t risk giving them tea or we’d have had a mutiny on our
hands.”
Thus, we may conclude that the semicolon performs here the syntactic
function solely, i. e. signals a particular type of syntactic bond. This statement has
been proven by the pragmalinguistic experiment with the ‘blind text’: both linguists
managed to ‘detect’ the original semicolon:
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
It’s funny time, three o’clock: too late It’s funny time, three o’clock, too late
for lunch but a bit early for tea. for lunch but a bit early for tea.
Besides, there were one or two brave Besides, there were one or two brave
souls who’d trekked all the way from souls who’d trekked all the way from
Wolverhampton; I couldn’t risk Wolverhampton; I couldn’t risk
giving them tea or we’d have had a giving them tea or we’d have had a
mutiny on our hands. And I think mutiny on our hands. And I think
people like to be offered something people like to be offered something
even if they don’t actually eat it. One’s even if they don’t actually eat it. One’s
first instinct was to make a beeline for first instinct was to make a beeline for
the freezer and rout out the inevitable the freezer and rout out the inevitable
quiche, but I thought: ‘Muriel, old quiche, but I thought, ‘Muriel, old
girl, that’s the coward’s way out!’ So, girl, that’s the coward’s way out,’ so
the upshot was I stopped up till two in the upshot was I stopped up till two in
61
the morning trundling out a selection the morning trundling out a selection
of my old standards: chicken in a of my old standards – chicken in a
lemon sauce, beef en croute from the lemon sauce, beef en croute from the
old Colchester days (I thought of old Colchester days (I thought of
Jessie Marchant) and bushels of Jessie Marchant), and bushels of
assorted salads. As it happened, it assorted salads. As it happened it
wasn’t exactly a salady day, quite wasn’t exactly a salady day, quite
crisp for April, actually. However, crisp for April actually, however
Mabel warmed up the proceedings Mabel warmed up the proceedings
with one of her famous soups conjured with one of her famous soups, conjured
up out of thin air, so we lived to fight up out of thin air, so we lived to fight
another day. Nobody could quite put another day. Nobody could quite put
their finger on the flower, so I was their finger on the flower, so I was
able to go round saying, ‘Have you able to go round saying, ‘Have you
guessed the soup yet?’ and that broke guessed the soup yet?’ and that broke
the ice a bit. I don’t know what had the ice a bit. I don’t know what had
got into Mabel but she’d gone mad got into Mabel but she’d gone mad
and added a pinch of curry and that and added a pinch of curry and that
foxed most people… It was foxed most people. It was
cauliflower, actually. cauliflower_actually.
Anglicist 2
It’s funny time, three o’clock – too late It’s funny time, three o’clock, too late
for lunch, but a bit early for tea. for lunch but a bit early for tea.
Besides, there were one or two brave Besides, there were one or two brave
souls who’d trekked all the way from souls who’d trekked all the way from
Wolverhampton; I couldn’t risk Wolverhampton; I couldn’t risk
giving them tea, or we’d have had a giving them tea or we’d have had a
mutiny on our hands. And I think mutiny on our hands. And I think
people like to be offered something people like to be offered something
even if they don’t actually eat it. One’s even if they don’t actually eat it. One’s
first instinct was to make a beeline for first instinct was to make a beeline for
the freezer and rout out the inevitable the freezer and rout out the inevitable
quiche, but I thought, “Muriel, old quiche, but I thought, ‘Muriel, old
girl, that’s the coward’s way out.” So girl, that’s the coward’s way out,’ so
the upshot was I stopped up till two in the upshot was I stopped up till two in
the morning, trundling out a selection the morning trundling out a selection
of my old standards: chicken in a of my old standards – chicken in a
lemon sauce, beef en croute from the lemon sauce, beef en croute from the
old Colchester days (I thought of old Colchester days (I thought of
Jessie Marchant), and bushels of Jessie Marchant), and bushels of
assorted salads. As it happened, it assorted salads. As it happened it
wasn’t exactly a salady day, quite wasn’t exactly a salady day, quite
crisp for April actually; however, crisp for April actually, however

62
Mabel warmed up the proceedings Mabel warmed up the proceedings
with one of her famous soups with one of her famous soups,
conjured up out of thin air, so we conjured up out of thin air, so we
lived to fight another day. Nobody lived to fight another day. Nobody
could quite put their finger on the could quite put their finger on the
flower, so I was able to go round flower, so I was able to go round
saying, “Have you guessed the soup saying, ‘Have you guessed the soup
yet?” and that broke the ice a bit. I yet?’ and that broke the ice a bit. I
don’t know what had got into Mabel don’t know what had got into Mabel
but she’d gone mad and added a pinch but she’d gone mad and added a pinch
of curry, and that foxed most people. of curry and that foxed most people.
It was cauliflower actually. It was cauliflower actually.

It is noteworthy that the second anglicist used the semicolon in another


sentence: “As it happened, it wasn’t exactly a salady day, quite crisp for April
actually; however, Mabel warmed up the proceedings with one of her famous soups
conjured up out of thin air, so we lived to fight another day.” As compared to the
original comma, this stop introduces a contrast between the clauses: Muriel’s initial
idea to offer some salad to her guests vs the actual meal to be cooked, Mabel’s
‘famous’ soup. In the original the idea of contrast is absent; the part of the sentence
that in the anglicist’s variant follows the semicolon (‘however Mabel warmed up the
proceedings with one of her famous soups, conjured up out of thin air, so we lived
to fight another day’), in fact, introduces new information that does not contradict
the previous statement.
Let us now turn to the recorded variant of the passage presented in the audio
book in order to find out whether the prosodic pattern would correspond to the ‘rules
of reading punctuation marks’, as it is recommended by the classification for this
case of using the semicolon. Here comes the tonetic transcription of the version
produced by the actress43:

43
See as well the results of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 8.
63
1) The first stressed word in the clause before the semicolon (besides) is produced
on a significantly lower level as compared to the one in the clause after the stop
(couldn’t): 75 Hz and 290 Hz correspondingly. As can be seen on the graph (Pic.
8), the whole part after the semicolon is pitched considerably higher than the
clause preceding the stop. Thus, this parameter goes against the ‘rules’, though
the speaker does it deliberately to express prosodically the character’s irony in
the part after the semicolon.
2) The pause accompanying the semicolon follows the recommendations presented
in the ‘rules’ (800 ms).
3) While producing the part after the semicolon tempo is increased, as it is
prescribed by the rules.
4) Loudness produced in the part after the semicolon remains the same as in the
previous clause, which does not fully correspond to the ‘rules’. At the same time,
loudness is slightly increased while the actress produces the phrase ‘we’d have
had a mutiny on our hands’ in order to express irony and to highlight the central
element of the metaphor, the word mutiny.

64
Pic. 8.
Thus, we may conclude that here we have another case44 when the prosody
appears to be metasemiotic in order to express additional emotional-expressive-
evaluative connotations, though the use of the stop in the printed text is conditioned
by syntactic requirements and belongs to the semiotic level.
The variant produced by the actress in the screen adaptation completely coincides
with the audio book and thus does not require any additional comment.
The anglicist’s variant, on the contrary, differs from the version produced by the
actress in several points and can be regarded as more ‘philological’, though the
speakers are both expressive and quite reserved in expressing their emotions. Let us
compare these variants with the one produced by the anglicist:

44
Cf.: the second passage from the monologue A Chip in the Sugar.
65
1) The parameter of pitch recommended by the ‘rules’ is accurately followed here:
the clause before the semicolon begins on the high level, while the part after the
stop – on the mid level.
2) One-unit pause is produced by the anglicist, which also follows the
recommendations.
3) The anglicist produces the part after the semicolon increasingly faster, which
corresponds to the ‘recommendations’ (cf.: the actress increases tempo only to
pronounce the metaphor).
4) While producing the part after the semicolon loudness is increased, as it is
recommended for this stop. As a result, the anglicist’s variant sounds largely as
stating of the fact: Muriel decides that the guests should be offered a proper meal;
while the actress (who does not change loudness in the part after the stop) brings in
some mild humour.
5) Another interesting observation is that the speakers stress different words in the
second clause, which results in a slight shift in meaning:

The actress stresses that the guests coming from Wolverhampton would be
starving and exhausted after a long trip, thus it would be rude to offer them only tea.
The anglicist brings out the idea that the guests who would cover quite a distance
should definitely be offered a substantial meal, not just tea. Though the difference is
minute and largely insignificant, the audience can feel a slight shift in meaning.

*
I thought I’d go into the library and see if Miss Dunsmore could find me
something on bereavement. That’s something I learned from Ralph: plug into other
people’s experience, pool your resources. ‘A new experience is like travelling
through unknown country. But remember, others have taken this road before you,
old girl, and left notes. So, Question no. 1: Is there a map? Question no. 2: Am I
66
taking advantage of all the information available? It doesn’t matter if you’re going
to get married, commit a burglary or keep a guinea pig; efficiency is the proper
collation of information.’ Oh Ralph.
(Alan Bennett. “Soldiering On”)
In the passage preceding the one under discussion the heroine started to tell
about her attempts to give away the things that belonged to her late husband. Now
she feels she needs to distract from the sad event, so in search for some activity she
decides to go to the library. The visit, however, evokes more memories of her
husband.
Lexically this passage corresponds to the typical characteristics of the
monologue in general. Though neutral vocabulary prevails in the text, the passage
includes several spoken and informal elements used to imitate oral speech (the way
her husband used to speak as she remembers it): plug45 into something (informal),
old girl46 (spoken). At the same time, several formal words are used by the character,
which may be caused by her good educational background: bereavement47 (formal),
collation48 of information (formal).
Sustained war and travel metaphors make the passage even more
sophisticated. Lexically the war metaphor is expressed by means of comparing a life
to the road (‘others have taken this road before you’) that requires using a map
(“Question no. 1: Is there a map?”). Moreover, such a lifestyle requires special skills
of using information and exploiting your strength effectively, i. e. the skills
especially important in military actions (“Question no. 2: Am I taking advantage of
all the information available?”; ‘pool your resources’). Though using formal lexis
and comparing everyday events to a military campaign and a journey may sound a
bit too melodramatic, it corresponds to the general mood of the monologue: while
speaking Muriel becomes increasingly anxious, and at the end of her story she almost
has a nervous breakdown. These are the concluding lines of the monologue (the
remarks given in italics belong to the author):
She puts it [the walkman] on and henceforth speaks in bursts and too loudly.
I wouldn’t want you to think this was a tragic story.
Pause.
I’m not a tragic woman.
Pause.

45
“Plug into something phrasal verb 2) informal to realise that something is available to be used and use
it; e. g.: A lot of students don’t plug into all the research facilities we have.” [LDCE, 2009].
46
“Old girl noun. British English 2) spoken an old woman. E. g. She’s a nice old girl!” [LDCE, 2009].
47
“Bereavement noun; formal when someone loses a close friend or relative because they have died; e. g.:
depression caused by bereavement or divorce.” [LDCE, 2009].
48
“Collate verb 1) formal to gather information together, examine it carefully, and compare it with other
information to find any differences; e. g.: A computer system is used to collate information from across
Britain. > collation noun.” [LDCE, 2009].
67
Pause.
I’m not that type.
Fade out to the faint sound of the music, possibly Johann Strauss.
(Alan Bennett. “Soldiering On”)
Interestingly, in the audio version the character is much more reserved while
presenting the finale of the monologue, as compared to the printed original. Though
her voice is calm and the audience may guess she smiles, she sounds anxious. At the
same time, the author’s remark ‘speaks in bursts and too loudly’ is not followed
accurately. Muriel’s state is expressed in the nervous and alarming music that she
listens to. However, in the screen adaptation the character is even more reserved and
calm; she smiles nicely and seems to put up with her new life. Moreover, the music
she listens to is quite energetic, but there is neither tension nor tragedy in it.
From the point of view of punctuation, the passage under consideration is not
very complicated and does not include many stops. The sentence in question (“It
doesn’t matter if you’re going to get married, commit a burglary or keep a guinea
pig; efficiency is the proper collation of information.”) is one of the richest in
punctuation: apart from the semicolon there is a comma in the first clause that
separates the first two elements in the set of homogeneous predicates. This is the
syntactic reason why the semicolon cannot be replaced by a comma:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re going to get married, commit a burglary or keep a guinea
pig, efficiency is the proper collation of information.”
At the same time, the clauses cannot be parcellated by means of a full stop
either, as the semantic connection between the separated clauses would become too
weak and thus comprehension of the sentences would be hampered:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re going to get married, commit a burglary or keep a guinea
pig. Efficiency is the proper collation of information.”
However, none of the anglicists managed to detect the original semicolon and
preferred to use a full stop and parcellate the clauses: “It doesn’t matter if you’re
going to get married, commit a burglary, or keep a guinea pig. Efficiency is the
proper collation of information.” It may be caused by the broader context of the
passage: the sentences are given as direct speech that is usually characterised by
parcellation. Moreover, their idea could be to further highlight the significance of
the second clause (‘efficiency is the proper collation of information’). However, the
semantic correlation and the cause-effect relationship between the parts appeared to
be considerably weakened.
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
I thought I’d go into the library and I thought I’d go into the library and
see if Miss Dunsmore could find me see if Miss Dunsmore could find me
something on bereavement. That’s something on bereavement. That’s
68
something I learned from Ralph: plug something I learned from Ralph: plug
into other people’s experience, pool into other people’s experience, pool
your resources. ‘A new experience is your resources. ‘A new experience is
like travelling through unknown like travelling through unknown
country, but remember others have country. But remember, others have
taken this road before you, old girl, taken this road before you, old girl,
and left notes. So… ‘Question no. 1: and left notes. So, Question no. 1:
is there a map? Question no. 2: am I Is there a map? Question no. 2: Am I
taking advantage of all the taking advantage of all the
information available?’ ‘It doesn’t information available? It doesn’t
matter if you’re going to get married, matter if you’re going to get married,
commit a burglary, or keep a guinea commit a burglary or keep a guinea
pig. Efficiency is the proper collation pig; efficiency is the proper collation
of information.’ ‘Oh, Ralph!’ of information.’ Oh Ralph._
Anglicist 2
I thought I’d go into the library and I thought I’d go into the library and
see if Miss Dunsmore could find me see if Miss Dunsmore could find me
something on bereavement. That’s something on bereavement. That’s
something I learned from Ralph: plug something I learned from Ralph: plug
into other people’s experience, pool into other people’s experience, pool
your resources. A new experience is your resources. ‘A new experience is
like travelling through unknown like travelling through unknown
country but remember: others have country. But remember, others have
taken this road before you, old girl, taken this road before you, old girl,
and left notes. So, Question no. 1: Is and left notes. So, Question no. 1: Is
there a map? Question no. 2: Am I there a map? Question no. 2: Am I
taking advantage of all the taking advantage of all the
information available? It doesn’t information available? It doesn’t
matter if you’re going to get married, matter if you’re going to get married,
commit a burglary, or keep a guinea commit a burglary or keep a guinea
pig. Efficiency is the proper collation pig; efficiency is the proper collation
of information. Oh, Ralph! of information.’ Oh Ralph.

According to the classification this case may be defined as ‘effective result’,


for the second clause summarizes the arguments adduced in the preceding part and
draws the conclusion: whatever one has to do, it is necessary to make use of available
information. In other words, the stop not only signals the particular syntactic
relations between the parts, but also makes the audience pay special attention to the
clause after the stop. Thus, the stop performs here a polyphonic function: both
syntactic and stylistic, i.e. it functions on both the semantic and metasemiotic levels.
Hence, the following prosodic pattern is expected: the first word in the part
after the semicolon carries a level tone which is pitched higher than that of the first
stressed word of the preceding part of the sentence; tempo fastens; loudness is

69
increased. Hence, the parameters that go against the ‘rules’ are those of the initial
tone of the second clause, tempo and loudness.

Assignment 7
Prepare the tonetic transcription of the passage and read it out. Then compare
your version with those produced by the actress and the anglicist. Are there any
differences between the variants?

Commentary
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the variants produced by the actress in
the audio book:

The sentence under consideration is included into the direct speech, and
presents Muriel’s reflections on what her husband could probably say in the situation
like that. Thus, the character imitates his speech and this is reflected in the way the
sentence is produced. Let us concentrate on the main prosodic properties of the
sentence.49
1) The parameter of pitch corresponds to the one recommended in the classification
for this case: the first stressed word of the clause before the semicolon (doesn’t)
is produced much lower than that in the clause after the stop (efficiency), 210 Hz
and 325 Hz respectively. However, as it can be seen on the graph below, the

49
See the results of the instrumental analysis performed using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 9.
70
clauses are pitched on more or less the same level. Thus, the purpose of the
modulation is to bring out the part after the semicolon and make it sound
conclusive and prominent;
2) The one-unit pause (500 ms) produced by the speaker corresponds to the
recommendations;
3) The first part is produced at a very fast tempo; it is almost like a rapid saying, in
which each following element of the enumeration set is pronounced increasingly
faster as the elements of the set are named. The end of the part before the
semicolon is produced at the highest speed and somewhat carelessly – the last
words of the clause are even confused and merge together. On the contrary, the
clause after the stop is pronounced very distinctly, loudly and slowly, i.e. the
parameter of tempo does not correspond to the recommendations given in the
classification. The purpose of this modulation is to make the clause of major
importance sound impressive and important.

Pic. 9.
Turning back to the idea that the sentence in question is imitating the probable
speech of Muriel’s husband, it should be noted that in the screen adaptation the
character plays the part much more expressively. To begin with, she changes her
timbre to imitate the voice of a man instructing his wife. She also moves closer to
the camera, leans on the table to support the instructing tone and mimics her husband
changing her facial expression. At the
same time, the audience can catch
indirect speech as she smiles to her
thoughts (see the picture on the right).
In terms of prosodic
characteristics, the screen adaptation
largely coincides with the audio book,
but for one detail: in the video version
the part of the semicolon attracts more
attention and sounds more ‘weighty’
due to another slight pause before
information and a low falling tone
produced on this word:

.
71
Here comes the anglicist’s version:

The anglicist’s variant agrees with the one presented by the actor in every
parameter but for loudness: the anglicist does not change loudness to produce the
second clause, while the actress increases it. Nevertheless, due to the contrasts in
tempo between the parts of the sentence the clause after the semicolon sounds
prominent in the anglicist’s variant as well.

*
Assignment 8
1. Punctuate the blind text. Compare your variant with the original.
I dropped into the Health Centre and the receptionist said there was a
pamphlet on death they’d had some on the counter only the tots kept taking
them to scribble on so they hadn’t re-ordered she said she’d skimmed
through it and the gist of it was not to take any big decisions and to throw
yourself into something I said you don’t mean the canal she said come
again nobody expects you to make jokes as I was going out she called me
back and said did Ralph wear spectacles because if he did not to throw
away the old pair as owing to cutbacks they’d started a spectacles
recycling scheme
2. What is the source of misunderstanding between the character and the
receptionist?

72
Commentary
I dropped into the Health Centre and the receptionist said there was a
pamphlet on death; they’d had some on the counter, only the tots kept taking them
to scribble on, so they hadn’t re-ordered. She said she’d skimmed through it and the
gist of it was not to take any big decisions and to throw yourself into something. I
said, ‘You don’t mean the canal?’ She said, ‘Come again?’ Nobody expects you to
make jokes. As I was going out she called me back and said did Ralph wear
spectacles? Because if he did, not to throw away the old pair as owing to cutbacks
they’d started a spectacles recycling scheme.
(Alan Bennett. “Soldiering On”)
In this passage the character continues to tell how she tried to distract from
the tragic events in her life. After the library she visited the Health Centre, but her
attempt to avoid her memories was not successful: the receptionist reminded Muriel
about her husband instead of supporting her. In general, the whole passage sounds a
bit confusing because of Muriel’s anxiety.
The major characteristic of the passage is that the better part of the dialogue
between the heroine and the receptionist is presented in the form of indirect speech.
It is only natural then that the passage includes informal elements (e. g. tots50). At
that, a particular type of free indirect speech occurs – the so-called ‘pronounced free
indirect speech’ (Rus. «косвенно-прямая речь» или «произнесённая
несобственно-прямая речь») [Кухаренко, 1988: 174-175]. Here is the first
instance of pronounced free indirect speech: “As I was going out she called me back
and said did Ralph wear spectacles? Because if he did, not to throw away the old
pair as owing to cutbacks they’d started a spectacles recycling scheme.”
Likewise, in the sentence under consideration (“I dropped into the Health
Centre and the receptionist said there was a pamphlet on death; they’d had some on
the counter, only the tots kept taking them to scribble on, so they hadn’t re-
ordered.”) no formal expression marking off the receptionist’s utterance is present
and the reader can only guess that the part of the second clause (‘only the tots kept
taking them to scribble on’) is a sample of pronounced free indirect speech.
Let us now turn to the semicolon in this sentence and try to replace it with
other stops:
1) the semicolon should not be replaced with a comma, since the second clause
contains several stops; otherwise, the sentence may become difficult to understand:
“I dropped into the Health Centre and the receptionist said there was a pamphlet on
death, they’d had some on the counter, only the tots kept taking them to scribble on,
so they hadn’t re-ordered.”
2) the semicolon is replaced by a full stop: “I dropped into the Health Centre and
the receptionist said there was a pamphlet on death. They’d had some on the counter,

50
“Tot noun 1) informal a very small child.” [LDCE, 2009].
73
only the tots kept taking them to scribble on, so they hadn’t re-ordered.” In case of
parcellation the second sentence no longer sounds as the receptionist’s words.
As the original text is a mix and mingle of the character’s speech proper, her
direct speech, direct speech of the receptionist, reported speech and pronounced free
indirect speech, the anglicists appeared to be quite confused while placing
punctuation marks in the ‘blind text’:
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
I dropped into the Health Centre and I dropped into the Health Centre and
the receptionist said there was. the receptionist said there was_
‘A pamphlet on death? They’d had a pamphlet on death; they’d had
some on the counter; only the tots some on the counter, only the tots
kept taking them to scribble on, so kept taking them to scribble on, so
they hadn’t re-ordered,’ she said. they hadn’t re-ordered. She said
She’d skimmed through it and the gist she’d skimmed through it and the gist
of it was not to take any big decisions of it was not to take any big decisions
and to throw yourself into something. and to throw yourself into something.
I said, ‘You don’t mean the canal?’ I said, ‘You don’t mean the canal?’
She said, ‘Come again, nobody She said, ‘Come again?’ Nobody
expects you to make jokes.’ As I was expects you to make jokes. As I was
going out, she called me back and going out_she called me back and
said, ‘Did Ralph wear spectacles? said did Ralph wear spectacles?
Because if he did not…’ ‘To throw Because if he did, not to throw
away the old pair as owing to away the old pair as owing to
cutbacks they’d started a spectacles cutbacks they’d started a spectacles
recycling scheme.’ recycling scheme.
Anglicist 2
I dropped into the Health Centre I dropped into the Health Centre
and the receptionist said there was a and the receptionist said there was a
pamphlet on death; they’d had some pamphlet on death; they’d had some
on the counter. Only the tots kept on the counter, only the tots kept
taking them to scribble on, so they taking them to scribble on, so they
hadn’t re-ordered. She said she’d hadn’t re-ordered. She said she’d
skimmed through it and the gist of it skimmed through it and the gist of it
was not to take any big decisions and was not to take any big decisions and
to throw yourself into something. I to throw yourself into something. I
said, ‘You don’t mean the canal.’ She said, ‘You don’t mean the canal?’ She
said, ‘Come again. Nobody expects said, ‘Come again?’ Nobody expects
you to make jokes.’ As I was going out you to make jokes. As I was going out
she called me back and said, ‘Did she called me back and said did
Ralph wear spectacles?’ Because if he Ralph wear spectacles? Because if he
did not to throw away the old pair, as did, not to throw away the old pair as
74
owing to cutbacks they’d started a owing to cutbacks they’d started a
spectacles recycling scheme. spectacles recycling scheme.

Though the first anglicist shifted the borders between sentences at the
beginning of the passage, the semicolon is preserved in this variant. The second
anglicist preferred a full stop to the semicolon; the result of such a parcellation has
already been described in the experiment with replacing the semicolon with a full
stop: the last clause is no longer identified as the receptionist’s words.
In this case the semicolon is used to mark off the border between reported
speech in the first clause denoted by the marker ‘she said’ and pronounced free
indirect speech running in the part after the semicolon. In other words, the semicolon
stands for the change of narration [Азарова, 2001: 17]. Thus, the use of the
semicolon is polyphonic, since together with the syntactic function (namely,
introducing new information in the clause after the stop), it performs the
metasemiotic function. As such cases have not been described in the previous parts
of the guide, it would be useful to turn first to the audio versions of the passage.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the passage presented by the actress51:

1) As it is recommended in the ‘rules’, the first stressed word in the clause before
the semicolon (I) is pitched higher than the one in the part after the stop (had):
about 250 Hz and 190 Hz respectively.
2) A slight pause produced by the speaker to accompany the semicolon is very
short (around 100 ms), though quite a longish one-unit pause is recommended

51
See the result of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 9.
75
for the stop. Still, this parameter is modified deliberately: at the end of the first
clause the first snippet of reported speech of the receptionist is introduced,
which continues in the second clause in the form of pronounced free indirect
speech. Thus, there are two ‘voices’ in the sentence: Muriel’s and the one of the
receptionist. Moreover, not only does the speaker reiterate the receptionist’s
words, but she also imitates her speech. Thus, to keep the voices coherent and
distinctly separated from one another and not to interrupt the imitation the pause
between the clauses is almost omitted.
3) The overall tempo produced by the speaker in this sentence is quite fast. In the
part after the semicolon the actress alternates the phrases pronounced fast with
those pronounced with a slowed down tempo to prioritise information: major
details are pronounced slowly to give them more prominence. Thus, the
semicolon is followed by a clause produced with increased tempo (‘they’d had
some on the counter’), as it is recommended by the ‘rules’. Then the speaker
slows down to bring out the subject and the predicate of the next clause (‘only
the tots kept taking them’), increases tempo on a less significant detail ‘to
scribble on’ and, finally, slows down again to attract the reader’s attention to
the result of the explanations: ‘so they hadn’t re-ordered’. Due to this change
in tempo the speaker effectively conveys the idea of the sentence: she came to
the center to take some brochures, but none of them was left.
4) Loudness remains unchanged in the whole sentence, instead of diminishing in
the part after the semicolon. However, playing upon tempo is more than enough
to convey the idea and express the character’s emotions: if loudness were
changed on a par with alternations of tempo, the sentence would be overloaded
with prosodic modifications and may become difficult to perceive.

Pic. 9.
The variant performed in the screen adaptation differs greatly from the audio book:

76
To begin with, the actress is much more expressive in the screen adaptation,
though it does not mean to say she is more emotional here. The expressiveness
concerns mainly her manner of pronouncing the text: she makes considerably more
pauses and highlights words more energetically.
Thus, for instance, the opening sentence of the passage starts with hesitation
(Well, I… I) to build the connection to the previous passage, in which the character
was advised to visit the Health Center and take a pamphlet on death from there. The
oral presentation is supported by changing the facial expression of the actress, since
her mimics is very vivid and conspicuous.
Another difference is the word ‘death’ which is preceded by a slight pause, since
it is difficult for the character to pronounce it. Thus, to hide this confusion and to
change the unpleasant subject the actress fastens tempo to a great extent to produce
the part after the semicolon. Though insignificantly, the actress increases loudness
in the part after the stop to attract the listeners’ attention to the new information and
make them forget her confusion in the previous clause. At the same time, the actress
follows the recommendations of pausation and pitch.
We may conclude, then, that it is not only the metasemiotic function of the stop
and the speaker’s good will that may cause modulations in the recommended set of
prosodic parameters. Such changes may be triggered by bringing a change into the
melodic curve of a sentence to express a new shade of meaning.
Let us now turn to the anglicist’s variant. As compared to the actress, the
anglicist’s reading corresponds to the ‘rules’ more consistently and, in general, is
more ‘philological’. However, like the actress the anglicist changes the parameters
of tempo and loudness to highlight most prominent details and to build the hierarchy
of information. Let us now compare this variant to the one produced by the anglicist:

77
1) the first stressed word of the part before the semicolon (dropped) is pitched
obviously higher than the one in the part after the stop (had), which fully
corresponds with the ‘rules’;
2) the anglicist follows the recommendations for pausation;
3) partially the part after the semicolon (‘they’d had some on the counter, only the
tots kept taking them to scribble on’) is produced increasingly faster, which
corresponds to the ‘rules’; tempo is slowed down to produce the end of the part,
the conclusion to the sentence (‘so they hadn’t re-ordered’). As a result, this part
stands out, which is only natural as this information is of major importance;
4) the beginning of the part after the semicolon (‘they’d had some on the counter’)
is produced with somewhat diminished loudness, as it is recommended. Loudness
in the rest of the part equals to that of the previous part, i.e. is normal. The result
(none of the pamphlets is left) and the reason for it (children have taken away
them all) stand out and become more prominent.
We may thus make two conclusions: 1) the semicolon may mark a change of
narration, for example, from the author’s narration to pronounced free indirect speech;
2) considerable modulations of tempo and loudness in the part after the semicolon can
be used to prioritise information and highlight information of major importance.
*
The food, for instance. The food has to cross a court-yard – the kitchen is so
far away for all I know it may have to cross a frontier. One toilet per floor… I just
put my head round the door and wished I hadn’t; no telephone that I could see and
the beds so crammed together if you got out of one you’d be into another. Dreadful.
(Alan Bennett. “Soldiering On”)
As it has already been mentioned, in the course of the monologue it appears
that one of Muriel’s daughters, Margaret, suffers from mental disorder and has to be
treated by a psychiatrist; the girl’s state of health deteriorates after her father’s death
and thus she is to be placed into a mental hospital. Muriel, however, finds it hard to
accept the fact and her first reaction is to criticise the living conditions in the hospital.
As well as the whole monologue, this passage belongs to a conversational style,
which is manifested both lexically (the following phrases are obviously colloquial: ‘for
all I know’, ‘to cross a frontier’, ‘to put one’s head round the door’, ‘[beds] crammed
together’) and syntactically: the passage includes neutral vocabulary solely, while there
are quite a few spoken syntactic constructions, such as nominal sentences (“The food,
for instance.”, “One toilet per floor…”), an elliptic sentence (“One toilet per floor…”),
a parcellated sentence (“Dreadful.”). The passage is quite emotional, since the character
feels extremely anxious about forcing her daughter to suffer from the lack of comfort;
such an expressivity is revealed both lexically (due to an adherently expressive
adjective dreadful) and syntactically (by means of an elliptic sentence “One toilet per
floor…”). Naturally, the character’s anxiety should be reflected in reading by means of
playing upon voice qualities and jerky rhythm that is created by means of alternation of
short and long sentences (the analysis of the audio material is to follow).
78
It is noteworthy that the range of punctuation marks that are used in the
passage is quite wide and includes several ‘weighty’ stops: the dash, the semicolon
and the ellipsis.
The sentence which is of particular interest for us (“I just put my head round
the door and wished I hadn’t; no telephone that I could see and the beds so crammed
together if you got out of one you’d be into another.”) cannot be classified to a
particular group in the classification, since such a case was not present among the
materials that were used for working out the system. The peculiarity of the case is
that the first clause gives the statement to be clarified (Muriel is displeased and upset
with the conditions in the hospital), while the arguments, i. e. inconveniences she
finds more considerable, are provided in the clause after the semicolon. Thus, the
case may be defined as a ‘reversed’ case of the cause-effect relationship.
Let us now turn to the pragmaphonolinguistic experiment to see whether the
original semicolon can be replaced by other stops:
1) the semicolon is replaced by a comma: “I just put my head round the door and
wished I hadn’t, no telephone that I could see and the beds so crammed together if
you got out of one you’d be into another.” In this version of the sentence the logical
connection between the clauses becomes less prominent. Moreover, the statement in
the first clause would sound less significant when read out as the pause
accompanying the comma is supposed to be shorter.
2) the semicolon is replaced by a full stop: “I just put my head round the door and
wished I hadn’t. No telephone that I could see and the beds so crammed together if
you got out of one you’d be into another.” If the clauses are parcellated by means of
a full stop, the logical connection almost disappears and the second sentence no
longer sounds as an argument to the statement, but as other reasons for Muriel’s
discontent (on a par with poor food and an inconvenient plan of the building) which
are mentioned in the preceding sentences.
Neither of the two anglicists followed the original in their variants of punctuating:
The anglicist’s variant The original
Anglicist 1
The food, for instance. The food has to The food, for instance. The food has to
cross a court-yard (the kitchen is so far cross a court-yard – the kitchen is so
away, for all I know it may have to far away for all I know it may have to
cross a frontier). One toilet per floor..! cross a frontier. One toilet per floor… I
I just put my head round the door and just put my head round the door and
wished I hadn’t, no telephone that I wished I hadn’t; no telephone that I
could see and the beds so crammed could see and the beds so crammed
together - if you got out of one you’d together if you got out of one you’d be
be into another. Dreadful! into another. Dreadful.

79
Anglicist 2
The food, for instance. The food has to The food, for instance. The food has to
cross a court-yard. The kitchen is so cross a court-yard – the kitchen is so far
far away, for all I know, it may have to away for all I know it may have to cross
cross a frontier. One toilet per floor; I a frontier. One toilet per floor… I just
just put my head round the door and put my head round the door and
wished I hadn’t. No telephone that I wished I hadn’t; no telephone that I
could see; and the beds so crammed could see and the beds so crammed
together, if you got out of one you’d together if you got out of one you’d be
be into another... Dreadful! into another. Dreadful.

The first version does not contain any stops in question at all (here the anglicist
preferred a comma to the semicolon), while the second one includes two sentences
with the semicolon: “One toilet per floor; I just put my head round the door and
wished I hadn’t. No telephone that I could see; and the beds so crammed together,
if you got out of one you’d be into another...”. Due to the semicolons the anglicist’s
version sounds more like ‘cataloguing’ inconveniencies, while in the original the
character contemplates on what she has seen in the hospital rather than just
enumerating things. Interestingly, in the versions of both anglicists the character
sounds more emotional than in the original (“Dreadful!”), where the heroine is rather
contemplative.
Though the case is not typical of the semicolon, since usually it is the part
after the stop which presents the conclusions or the summing up of the previous
statement, the use of the stop is purely syntactic and thus the semicolon performs the
semiotic function solely.

Assignment 9
Look at the tonetic transcription of the variant produced by the actress. What
means are used to express the character’s feelings? Be ready to read out the passage
relying on the tonetic transcription; pay special attention to the rhythmical
organization of the text.

80
Commentary
The passage is produced by the actress energetically and rhythmically due to
a large number of monobeats and trochees: see the analysis of the rhythmical pattern
in Pic. 10.

Pic. 10.
In such a way the actress expresses the character’s distinctly negative attitude
to the conditions in the mental hospital. As it has been shown in several studies in
the field [Алексюк, 2015: 90-91], not infrequently jerky rhythm is used in artistic
prose to show the character’s strong emotions: agitation, resentment, distress.
Here come the main prosodic properties of the sentence produced by the
actress in the audio book52.
1) As opposed to the recommendations, the first stressed word in the clause
before the semicolon (I) is produced on a lower pitch as compared to the one in the
part after the stop (no): 200 Hz and 250 Hz respectively. Thus, the arguments
adduced to support the statement in the first clause sound more weighty and well-

52
See the results of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 11.
81
grounded. In addition, it is quite logical that in the ‘reversed’ case of cause-effect
relations the arrangement of the pitches is opposite to the recommended one.
2) The pause produced by the actress is a longish one-unit pause (800 ms),
which corresponds to the ‘rules’.
3) While producing the sentence, the speaker plays upon tempo and
loudness; what she is after is not to bring out the most prominent part but to show
the character’s attitude to the content and express the character’s feelings.
Thus, the actress employs quite a fast tempo to express Muriel’s general
impression of the mental hospital (the clause before the semicolon: “I just put my
head round the door and wished I hadn’t ”). She then goes on to specify what aspects
especially annoyed and disappointed the character: ‘no telephone that I could see’;
they are pronounced much more slowly and distinctly, though loudness remains the
same.
The detail that shocked Muriel even more than the absence of a telephone were
‘the beds … crammed together’, that is why the phrase is brought out by means of
increasing loudness. The maximum loudness is produced on the word so and is
emphasized by an accidental rise.
The character finds the conditions appalling and even horrible and, being
overfilled with resentment, exaggerates things to a certain extent: ‘if you got out of
one you’d be into another’. This part of the clause is pronounced much faster and
with a normal loudness to express the heroine’s emotions.
Thus, the semicolon is not followed by increased tempo and diminished loudness
as it recommended by the ‘rules’. However, the parameters are violated for stylistic
purpose, i. e. to highlight meaningful details and to point out how the character
reacted to the inconveniences in the hospital cause. It is especially important for the
plot to show Muriel’s disappointment, since after her visit to this place the character
decided not to place her daughter there; after a while the girl’s disorder remitted and
her state of health improved.

Pic. 11.
The video version slightly differs from the audio book; it concerns mainly the
parameters of tempo and loudness:

82
To begin with, the overall mood of the passage in the screen adaptation differs
from the one in the audio book. In this variant the word hadn’t in the clause before
the semicolon is produced with a low falling tone instead of a High Fall, thus the
clause sounds as stating of fact. In the audio version the highlighted word shows
how displeased the character is and justifies slowing down tempo in the part after
the semicolon: the character wants to prove her dissatisfaction with this place is
solidly grounded. In the video version,
on the contrary, tempo fastens after the
semicolon, as if the character is too upset
to dwell upon all the inconveniences for
too long (see the picture on the right).
Thus, in the screen adaptation the
character is not resentful about the
dissatisfying conditions in the mental
hospital, but rather distressed and deeply
upset. Hence, while producing the last
sentence of the passage (“Dreadful.”)
she is not outraged as in the audio
version but is on the edge of bursting into tears. (It should be noted that the variant
produced in the screen adaptation seems to be closer to the author’s intention,
because there is a full stop in the sentence, not an exclamation mark, which signals
that the speaker is quite reserved and does not express any strong emotions).
Let us now turn to the version produced by the anglicist. Interestingly, it
almost coincides with the variant produced by the actress in the audio book:

The difference lies in producing the first clause: the actress utters it very fast,
since it is her general impression and it is to be specified further – the details that
83
come in the second clause are much more important in this case. The anglicist
produces the first clause at a normal tempo, and thus it sounds more weighty. Still,
this difference is not very significant and does not affect the general idea.
The beginning of the clause after the semicolon (‘no telephone that I could
see and the beds’) is produced by both speakers much more slowly and more
distinctly; the anglicist increases loudness as well, since in this case some additional
accent is required to bring the phrase out against the normal speed of the previous
clause. (To compare, the actress does not need to produce this part louder, for the
contrast between fastened tempo of the previous clause and slowed down tempo of
the part in question is marked vividly enough). In both variants the rest of the second
clause is produced with increasingly fastening tempo to reflect the character’s
desperate state and shock.
Thus, we may conclude that modulation of the recommended parameters of
tempo and loudness are used not only to prioritise information53, but also to express
the character’s emotions.

53
Cf.: the analysis of the previous passage.
84
Chapter Two
The Lying On of Hands by Alan Bennett
A it has been already mentioned in The Introduction, in this chapter we are
going to look more closely at the correlation between the written and oral forms of
the text when it comes to punctuation marks. In particular, a series of
pragmalinguistic experiments will be carried out in order to try and describe the
functions the semicolon may perform in fiction. First comes an exemplary analysis
(Passage 1), which is followed by two extracts with the assignments (Passages 2
and 3).

*
Let us start by outlining briefly and generally the plot of The Laying On of
Hands by Alan Bennett54 and presenting the main characters. The story describes
the funeral of one of the characters and a short period after it. There are four
central characters in the story: Clive, the dead man whose funerals are described;
Father Jolliffe, a young priest holding the funeral; Treacher, a senior priest who
was secretly sent by the Board to attend the ceremony in order to form an
impression about Father Jolliffe; Carl, one of Clive’s clients who claimed the late
man died from Aids; and Hopkins, a very young man who spent the last days of
Clive’s life with him.
Clive was an excellent masseur with ‘healing hands’, as his clients put it.
Naturally, his skills were highly appreciated by various people, including those
belonging to the British upper-class. Hence, the congregation at his funeral
comprises TV-stars, media persons, politicians; this fact astonished Father Jolliffe,
who appeared to be among Clive’s clients as well. As the narration unfolds, it turns
out that for most people gathered in the church Clive used to be more than just a
professional masseur and a personal psychologist; more often than not his
relationships with the clients were of an intimate character. Thus, the news that the
man died from Aids spreads panic among the congregation; the anxious public calms
down only when a young student Hopkins claims to have spent with Clive his last
days in South America and presents evidence that the reason for his death was some
local disease.
For Farther Jolliffe the appearing of the student, on the contrary, may be
dangerous, because Hopkins has brought Clive’s secret diary, which contains initials
of all his clients, including the priest, that can be easily decoded. Hopkins intends to
publish the diary; Father Jolliffe tries to make the young man give up this idea. To
be more persuasive, the priest treats Hopkins very gently, which looks as a hint at a

54
It should be noted from the very beginnng that to avoid confusion in the present part of the guide we will
refer to Alan Bennett as ‘the author’ meaning the printed text and as ‘the actor’ when we deal with the
audio version.
85
closer relationship. After some hesitation the student lets him know that his proposal
is accepted.
The fourth character of the story, Treacher, is acquainted with none of those
present at the ceremony and attends the funeral only as an official figure. At that,
this character is extremely important for the narration, because being an outside
onlooker he becomes the medium for expressing the author’s point of view. His
witty remarks concern mainly religion, belief and moral aspects of modern
society – these topics are typical of Alan Bennett and are quite frequently risen
in his works.
There are four points of view in the narration, thus we may hear four voices
of the narrator, Father Jolliffe, Treacher and the congregation; the latter either
represents a collective opinion of the people gathered at the church or gives us
separate thoughts of some individuals. Not infrequently, the voices of characters
mingle with that of the narrator and thus the text comprises quite a few types of
narration – both uttered and internal, including free indirect speech, produced
indirect speech (Rus. «косвенно-прямая речь» or «произнесённая несобственно-
прямая речь») [Кухаренко, 1988: 174], inner free indirect speech (Rus.
«изображенная речь» or «внутренняя несобственно-прямая речь») [Кухаренко,
1988: 175].
The manner of constructing the text is very typical of Alan Bennett: the plot
is full of flashbacks which add more details to the story, so gradually the reader may
restore the whole course of events. Due to this, suspense is built up to the very end.
Another typical feature is an open ending (the reader may only make a guess about
the future of the characters). In addition, the main intrigue of the story - the reason
for Clive’s death – remains unsolved, as the author neither supports nor disproves
the suggestion about a Peruvian disease.
Let us now pass on to the analysis of the selected passages.

86
1
The passage to follow is the opening one in the story. Treacher was appointed
by the Board to inspect one of the ceremonies held by Father Jolliffe and to form an
impression about the young priest. He is sitting in the church awaiting the beginning
of the sermon.
Seated obscurely towards the back of the church and on a side aisle, Treacher
was conscious nevertheless of being much looked at. Tall, thin and with a
disagreeable expression, were this a film written forty years ago he would have been
played by the actor Raymond Huntley who, not unvinegary in life, in art made a
speciality of ill-tempered businessmen and officious civil servants. Treacher was
neither but he, too, was nothing to look at. Yet several times he caught women (and
it was women particularly) bending forward in their seats to get a better view of him
across the aisle; a murmured remark passed between a couple in front, the woman
then turning round, ostensibly to take in the architecture but actually to look at him,
whereas others in the congregation dispensed with such polite circumspection and
just stared.
(Alan Bennett. “The Laying On of Hands”)
In the sentence containing the semicolon the stop under question performs a
metasemiotic function, namely, the case known as ‘the camera effect’, i. e. the
clauses in the sentence are organised in such a way as if a camera is moving around
the settings taking a series of shots. At that, since in the original the perspective is
given through Treacher’s eyes, the camera presents his point of view: first he sees
women secretly looking at him (the clause before the semicolon) and the camera
may take here a medium long shot; then he notices a couple in front (the first clause
in the part after the semicolon), so the camera shifts to take a medium close-up of
the couple; Treacher starts watching the couple and focuses on the woman – a close-
up of the woman solely; in the final clause Treacher observes the whole
congregation, so the camera should take a long shot of the people present in the
church from the place where Treacher is sitting.
Moreover, the semicolon performs here a semiotic function separating a
general statement from the arguments supporting it: in the clause before the
semicolon Treacher realises he is being watched in secret, while the part after the
stop focuses on certain people to prove his guess is correct. Last but not least, the
choice of the stop is justified in terms of punctuation as well, since the part after the
stop is extended and comprises several commas.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the passage; the sentence containing the
semicolon is marked off with a grey colour55:

55
See the results of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 12.
87
1) as it is recommended by the ‘rules’, the first stressed word in the part before the
semicolon (several) is pitched higher as compared to the one after the semicolon
(murmured): 260 Hz and 160 Hz respectively;
2) two-unit pause (about 900 ms) is produced here instead of the recommended one-
unit pause in order to attract the attention to the part after the semicolon and bring
out the fact that most of those present got immensely interested in Treacher but
preferred not to reveal their interest. This fact is important for the plot, because, as
it turns out, quite a few high-powered people have come to Clive’s funeral, but as it
is typical of Britain not all of them are widely known to the general public, so those
gathered in the church try to guess ‘who is who’ and to reveal some celebrities;
3) the parameters of tempo and loudness are violated by the author: while producing
the part after the semicolon tempo and loudness remain at the same level, due to
which none of the clauses in the sentence are brought out but rather attract an equal
amount of attention. There are two probable explanations why the author prefers to
create such a measured rhythm in his reading. Firstly, the sentence is given through
Treacher’s eyes, so the unhurried tempo and attention to minute details correspond
to his calm character, sharp mind and acumen. Secondly, since the sentence is highly
cinematic, tempo of the speaker reflects the pace of the screen life: none of the
88
characters in the passage seems agitated or in a hurry, thus there is no reason to
prompt the description by increased tempo or to create tension by increased
loudness.

Pic. 12.
As we can see in Table 1, the actor treats pauses rather freely. Thus, for
instance:
1) twice the actor produces a slight pause (4a and 6a), while they do not correspond
to any punctuation mark in the printed text;
2) different types of pauses correspond to the same stop; cf.: a slight pause (4a/b)
and a one-unit pause (3a/b and 5a/b) correspond to a comma;
3) the types of pauses produced by the actor do not correspond to those
recommended in the ‘rules’; e. g.: a two-unit pause corresponds to the semicolon
(2a/b) instead of the recommended one-unit pause.

1a Yet several times he caught women ∫ and it was women particularly ∫


1b Yet several times he caught women ( and it was women particularly )
2a bending forward in their seats to get a better view of him across the aisle ||
2b bending forward in their seats to get a better view of him across the aisle;
3a a murmured remark passed between a couple in front |
3b a murmured remark passed between a couple in front ,

4a the woman then turning round ∫ ostensibly to take in the architecture ∫


4b the woman then turning round , ostensibly to take in the architecture _

5a but actually to look at him | whereas others in the congregation


5b but actually to look at him , whereas others in the congregation

6a dispensed with such polite circumspection ∫ and just stared ||


6b dispensed with such polite circumspection _ and just stared .
Table 1. The rows carrying the letter ‘a’ stand for the tonetic transcription of the
audio variant; those carrying the letter ‘b’ stand for the printed version of the text.
The actor’s manner to go against the ‘rules’ in making pauses is the main
explanation for a large variability of the versions offered by three anglicists for some
89
of the stops. Here come the results of the experiment ‘Punctuating a sound blind
text’; the punctuation marks corresponding to the pauses produced by the actor in
reading are marked off with a grey colour56:
Punctuating a sound blind text
The Original
1 Yet several times he caught women (and it was women particularly) bending
2 forward in their seats to get a better view of him across the aisle; a murmured
3 remark passed between a couple in front, the woman then turning round,
4 ostensibly to take in the architecture_ but actually to look at him, whereas
5 others in the congregation dispensed with such polite circumspection_ and
6 just stared.
Anglicist 1
1 Yet several times he caught women (and it was women particularly) bending
2 forward in their seats to get a better view of him across the aisle. A murmured
3 remark passed between a couple in front; the woman then turning round,
4 ostensibly to take in the architecture, but actually to look at him, whereas
5 others in the congregation dispensed with such polite circumspection_ and
6 just stared.
Anglicist 2
1 Yet several times he caught women_ and it was women particularly, bending
2 forward in their seats to get a better view of him across the aisle, a murmured
3 remark passed between a couple in front_ the woman then turning round_
4 ostensibly to take in the architecture_ but actually to look at him, whereas
5 others in the congregation dispensed with such polite circumspection_ and
6 just stared.
Anglicist 3
1 Yet several times he caught women, and it was women particularly_ bending
2 forward in their seats to get a better view of him across the aisle; a murmured
3 remark passed between a couple in front, the woman then turning round -
4 ostensibly to take in the architecture_ but actually to look at him, whereas
5 others in the congregation dispensed with such polite circumspection_ and
6 just stared.

The variant produced by Anglicist 1 follows almost precisely the prosodic


pattern reproduced by the actor: instead of the original semicolon a full stop stands
for a two-unit pause (here and later see Table 1: Anglicist 1, line 2), while a one-unit
pause to follow corresponds to the semicolon instead of the original comma (The
Original, line 2); in addition, a slight pause produced by the author gets its graphic
56
The ‘deviations’ from the printed original may be roughly divided into two large groups: ‘minor’
differences and ‘major’ differences. The former includes the cases that allow for the variation of stops, such
as parenthetical insertions (brackets, double commas and double dashes are possible) and ‘oxford comma’
(the presence or the absence of a comma). The latter cases include the rest of the cases, such as the absence
of the original punctuation mark or replace it to some other stop.
90
counterpart in the variant presented by Anglicist 1 (Anglicist 1, line 4, the first
comma). Though this arrangement is more ‘philologically correct’, i. e. accurately
follows the ‘rules’, it fails to produce ‘the camera effect’ implemented by the author:
the division into ‘the assumption’ and ‘the arguments’ is not performed in this
variant and, consequently, the ‘camera effect’ cannot be produced, since the division
of the part after the semicolon in parts no longer strictly corresponds to the scenes
(or shots) that Treacher sees.
The division presented in the variant of Anglicist 2 is even less distinct: the
comma replacing the original semicolon (Anglicist 2, line 2) is ‘lost’ among the
commas to follow and thus cannot draw a clear-cut border between Treacher’s
thoughts and the supporting arguments.
Only Anglicist 3 managed to ‘detect’ the original semicolon; moreover, the
dash used in the part after the semicolon (Anglicist 3, line 3) seems to be more
effective than the original comma (The Original, line 3, the second comma): here
the ‘shots’ of those watching Treacher (and, at the same time, those watched by him)
are bordered more clearly by commas, while the dash clarifies the woman’s actions
within one scene.
Thus, the semicolon may not only produce a certain metasemiotic effect on its
own, but also take part in a ‘system’ of stops that creates a particular effect and adds
new emotional-expressive-evaluative connotations only working as a whole, i. e. if
all its elements function as a system.

91
2
The passages preceding the adduced one describe Farther Jolliffe’s thoughts
about the service he is going to hold. He is a bit worried about the event because he
will have to face the congregation which is comprised of very different people, most
of whom are far from being religious. Thus, the priest cannot find the right approach
to it at once and starts to compare it with his regular congregation including mainly
church-goers. The passage selected for the analysis presents Treacher’s point of
view and considerations on the ceremonies at which the expected congregation
includes few – if any - religious people and even fewer true believers. In addition,
Treacher is very curious to see the way the inspected priest will deal with this
difficulty.

Assignment 10
1. Place punctuation marks in the ‘blind text’.
2. How many ‘voices’ can you single out in the passage?
how Father Jolliffe was going to cope with this dilemma was interesting Treacher
indeed it was partly what had brought him to St Andrew’s on this particular morning
there were various ways round it the best of which in Treacher’s view was not to get
round it at all ignore it in fact a priest retaining more respect if he led the
congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology the assumption being
that they were all believers and if not since they were in the house of God it behoved
them to pretend to be so taking the uncompromising line though meant that it was
hard then for the clergyman to get on those friendly informal terms with the
congregation that such an occasion seemed to require Treacher did not see this as
a drawback a priest himself, although in mufti getting on friendly terms with the
congregation had never been high on his list

Commentary
How Father Jolliffe was going to cope with this dilemma was interesting
Treacher. Indeed it was partly what had brought him to St Andrew’s on this
particular morning. There were various ways round it, the best of which, in
Treacher’s view, was not to get round it at all; ignore it in fact, a priest retaining
more respect if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor
apology, the assumption being that they were all believers and if not, since they were
in the house of God, it behoved them to pretend to be so. Taking the uncompromising
line, though, meant that it was hard then for the clergyman to get on those friendly,
informal terms with the congregation that such an occasion seemed to require.
Treacher did not see this as a drawback. A priest himself, although in mufti, getting
on friendly terms with the congregation had never been high on his list.
(Alan Bennett. “The Laying On of Hands”)
92
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the author’s variant:

The author’s narration again mixes and mingles with the inner free indirect
speech (Rus. «изображенная речь» or «внутренняя несобственно-прямая речь»)
[Кухаренко, 1988: 175] of Treacher, which is manifested in the printed text lexically
through the phrase ‘in Treacher’s view’ and is expressed prosodically in the audio
version of the passage by means of shifting timbre in the middle of the sentence under
discussion. Let us then focus on the prosodic properties of the sentence57:
1) the parameter of pitch is violated by the actor: the first stressed word in the part
before the semicolon (there) is pitched lower than the one in the clause after the
stop (ignore): 170 Hz and 210 Hz respectively; it is only natural since in the part
after the semicolon the actor changes timbre to mark the shift to Treacher’s
thoughts, i. e. to draw a border line between the author’s speech and inner free
indirect speech of Treacher;
2) a short slight pause accompanies the semicolon; though it goes against the
recommendations, it helps to make the transition from the author’s narration to
Treacher’s thoughts uninterrupted and smooth;

57
See the results of the instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 12.
93
3) neither tempo nor loudness are changed in producing the part after the semicolon
which goes against the ‘rules’; though these modulations would be excessive
taking into account the change in timbre.

Pic. 12.
Thus, in this sentence the semicolon performs the metasemiotic function: it
marks off the change of narration [Кухаренко, 1988]. Hence the change of narration
is expressed prosodically by switching the timbre, graphically by means of the
semicolon and lexically: in the part before the semicolon there is a lexical marker
‘in Treacher’s view’ that signals the author’s narration, while such a marker is absent
in the part after the stop which may signify a shift of the point of view.
Before we turn to the results of the pragmalinguistic experiments, it should be
pointed out that like the previous case, here the actor does not establish one-to-one
correspondence between the punctuation marks used in the text and the produced
prosodic pattern, since he does not follow the recommendations on the length of the
pause to accompany each particular stop. Here comes the comparison of the printed
and sound versions of the sentence:
1a There were various ways round it | the best of which _ in Treacher’s view ∫
1b There were various ways round it , the best of which , in Treacher’s view ,
2a was not to get round it at all ∫ ignore it in fact |
2b was not to get round it at all ; ignore it in fact ,
3a ↕ a priest retaining more respect ∫
3b a priest retaining more respect _
4a if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology ∫
4b if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology ,
5a the assumption being that they were all believers | and if not ∫
5b the assumption being that they were all believers _ and if not ,
6a since they were in the house of God ∫ it behoved them to pretend to be so ||
6b since they were in the house of God , it behoved them to pretend to be so .
Table 2. The rows carrying the letter ‘a’ stand for the tonetic transcription of the
audio variant; those carrying the letter ‘b’ stand for the printed version of the text.
1) the punctuation mark is not read out at all (1a/b #2);
94
2) one-unit pause is produced while no punctuation marks are present in the printed
text (5a/b);
3) different types of pauses or the absence of a pause correspond to one punctuation
mark: namely, the absence of a pause, a slight pause and one-unit pause
correspond to the comma (1a/b #2 vs 1a/b #3, 4a/b, 5a/b, 6a/b vs 1a/b, 2a/b);
4) a slight pause corresponds to the semicolon (2a/b).
Let us now study the results of the experiment ‘Punctuating a sound blind text’
(see Table 3) to see whether the change in timbre can be perceived in reading and
whether its correspondence to the semicolon will be established.
Punctuating a sound blind text
The Original
1 There were various ways round it, the best of which, in Treacher’s view,_
2 was not to get round it at all; ignore it in fact, a priest retaining more respect
3 if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology, the
4 assumption being that they were all believers_ and if not, since they were in
5 the house of God, it behoved them to pretend to be so.
Anglicist 1
1 There were various ways round it, the best of which_ in Treacher’s view_
2 was not to get round it at all, ignore it in fact; a priest retaining more respect
3 if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology: the
4 assumption being that they were all believers, and if not, since they were in_
5 the house of God, it behoved them to pretend to be so.
Anglicist 2
1 There were various ways round it, the best of which (in Treacher’s view)_
2 was not to get round it at all, ignore it in fact - a priest retaining more respect
3 if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology - the
4 assumption being that they were all believers, and if not (since they were in
5 the house of God) it behoved them to pretend to be so.
Anglicist 3
1 There were various ways round it, the best of which_ in Treacher's view_
2 was not to get round it at all - ignore it in fact; a priest retaining more respect
3 if he led the congregation in prayer with neither explanation nor apology, the
4 assumption being that they were all believers, and if not, since they were in
5 the house of God, it behoved them to pretend to be so.
Table 3
As we can see from the table, the change of timbre was easily perceived by
the anglicists and in all the three cases it was associated with a ‘weighty’ stop: the
semicolon (in two cases) and the dash (in one case).

95
At the same time, in the pragmalinguistic experiment ‘Punctuating a blind
text’ Anglicist 4 (Table 4) failed to detect the change of narration; moreover, in this
variant a certain degree of misunderstanding the content takes place, which caused
a slightly different arrangement of stops in the passage. Thus, in the anglicist’s
variant ‘not to get round’ and ‘ignore’ become homogenous predicates. Such an
interpretation is possible taking into account that the anglicist had neither
punctuation nor sound version to rely upon with interpreting the sentence;
consequently, Anglicist 4 had much more freedom in it as compared to Anglicists 1,
2 and 3.
Punctuating a blind text
The Original Anglicist 4
There were various ways round it, the There were various ways round it, the
best of which, in Treacher’s view, was best of which_ in Treacher’s view, was
not to get round it at all; ignore it in not to get round it at all, ignore it; in
fact, a priest retaining more respect if fact, a priest retaining more respect if
he led the congregation in prayer with he led the congregation in prayer with
neither explanation nor apology, the neither explanation nor apology: the
assumption being that they were all assumption being that they were all
believers and if not, since they were in believers and if not, since they were in
the house of God, it behoved them to the house of God, it behoved them to
pretend to be so. pretend to be so.
Table 4.
Thus, two main conclusions can be drawn from the experiment ‘Punctuating
a blind text’. Firstly, such experiments appear to be less efficient for the purpose of
studying prosodic properties of texts, since this kind of experiment allows for
considerably much more room for interpreting the context. Secondly, since the
change of narration obviously was not detected by the anglicist, we should admit
that it is insufficient to rely on lexical markers solely to notice a shift to a different
point of view. Thus, it has been proved that signaling the border between different
points of view (or, in other words, between different types of narration) can be
regarded a typical case of using the semicolon on the metasemiotic level.
To sum up, in fiction the semicolon can mark off a change of narration and a
change of points of view. Prosodically this case is manifested through the
modulations in the recommended set of characteristics and especially the switch of
timbre.

96
3.
After Hopkins made a speech claiming that he had spent with Clive the last
days of his life and that the reason for his death was some South American local
disease, the atmosphere in the church lightens and the people see a hope to avoid the
death threat. However, the next person to take the floor is Carl, Clive’s client and a
close friend, who persuades the congregation that the story about ‘the Peruvian
caterpillar’ is nonsensical and even absurd. The rising hope is deashed. People are
desparate again, since they no longer foresee a possible danger – it is now accepted
as terrible truth.
Assignment 11
Find the instances of irony in the passage. On which levels is it manifested?
Unpleasant and arrogant though Carl had been, and with a manner seemingly
designed to put people’s backs up, there were many in the congregation who felt that
he was right. They longed passionately to believe in this Peruvian caterpillar and
its death-dealing bite. South America was a dangerous place, everyone knew that;
there were the pampas, gauchos and regular revolutions. The Maya had perished,
so why not Clive? But what Carl had said made sense. Of course it was Aids. No one
could screw as much as he had done and go unpunished. So the sentence that had
been all too briefly remitted was now reimposed and hopes momentarily raised were
dashed once more. But to have been given a vision of peace of mind and then to see
it snatched away made the burden even harder to bear.
(Alan Bennett. “The Laying On of Hands”)

Commentary
Despite the fact that the described atmosphere is quite tense, the passage
contains two instances of irony, which differ in timbre. To begin with, in the adduced
passage we can distinguish between two voices: the omniscient author and the
congregation (either several different people or a ‘collective’ voice summing up their
thoughts). Thus, here the author’s narration combines with free indirect speech
belonging to the congregation: “South America was a dangerous place, everyone
knew that; there were the pampas, gauchos and regular revolutions. The Maya had
perished, so why not Clive?”
The first ironic remarks belong to the author; they concern these thoughtless
and careless people risking their life for doubtful pleasures and now being surprised
to face reckoning. The author’s attitude is manifested lexically through the following
phrases:
- ‘Peruvian caterpillar’: this contextual synonym to the words virus, disease
deliberately sounds sneering;

97
- ‘death-dealing bite’: firstly, word combinability is violated here, since
caterpillars sting rather than bite; together with the adjective death-dealing the
violation presents the caterpillar as a dangerous monster, which reveals the
author’s mockery at the congregation.
The author’s remarks are followed by the ‘voice’ of the congregation
proceeding with the ironic tone initiated by the author. The purpose of this irony is
twofold: to relieve the stressed, tense atmosphere and to express the accumulated
emotional strength (at that, humour very much resembles fear and even terror
[Габриэль, 2018: 19-20]).
In both sentences the ironic effect is based on incongruity of the elements
[Baldick, 2001: 130]. In the first one (“South America was a dangerous place,
everyone knew that; there were the pampas, gauchos and regular revolutions.”) the
given associations with South America seem to be very primitive – just two
unfamiliar words (primitivism of the association is enhanced by the parallel
‘unknown – dangerous’) and a fact extracted from poor background knowledge of
the current situation in the world. In the second sentence (“The Maya had perished,
so why not Clive?”) the two compared elements – Clive and the Maya – are
incompatible from the point of view of common logic; the formal, literary verb
perish58 used to describe death of an ordinary person makes the whole phrase sounds
ironic. Both sentences could be uttered by someone with a naïve, primitive view of
life – this impression fully corresponds to the author’s idea of the society gathered
in the church.
Here comes the tonetic transcription of the author’s reading:

“Perish verb 1) formal or literary to die, especially in a terrible or sudden way; e. g.: Hundreds perished
58

when the ship went down.” [LDCE, 2009].


98
Taking into account the author’s attitude to the object of his irony we may
denote this instance of irony as ‘hidden mockery’ (Rus. «скрытая насмешка»)
[Давыдов, 1984: 45-46], which apart from a well-described lexical manifestation is
established prosodically through highlighting key phrases by means of rising-falling
tones, which is usually described as a mocking prosody [Давыдов, 1984: 47]:
↑dangerous \place; ↑why •not \Clive.
Thus, the semicolon in the extract is followed by a change of timbre. At the
same time, the main function of the stop is complemental and is performed at the
semiotic level, namely the part after the semicolon gives arguments to the statement
presented in the preceding part. Let us now focus on the prosodic characteristics of
the given sentence in order to see whether the ironic tone of the context influences
the prosodic expression of the stop59:
1) the whole extract presenting the audience’s voice is produced louder and in a
higher section of diapason as compared to the rest of the passage to signal the
change in the point of view;
2) the first stressed word in the part before the semicolon (South) is produced on a
higher pitch than the one in the part after the stop (there): 230 Hz and 175 Hz
respectively; thus the parameter of pitch is not violated by the actor;
3) one-unit pause (700 ms) accompanies the semicolon, which also coordinates with
the ‘rules’;
4) the whole sentence is produced quite fast; however, tempo remains unchanged
throughout the passage, which goes against the recommendations;
5) likewise, loudness remains the same in the part after the semicolon instead of
being diminished.
We may suggest that the parameters of tempo and loudness were not changed
in the sentence under consideration in order not to overload the sentence with
additional modulations: shifting timbre and highlighting a key phrase are enough to
convey the artistic design, i. e. to show the author’s ironic (even sarcastic) attitude
to the congregation.

59
See the results of instrumental analysis conducted using Speech Analyzer in Pic. 13.
99
Pic. 13.
As for the correspondence between the stops and the pauses, (Table 5), in this
sentence the actor follows the recommendations almost always but for one case of
omitting a pause between homogenous subjects in the part after the semicolon
(line 2a/b):
1a South America was a dangerous place ∫ everyone knew that |
1b South America was a dangerous place , everyone knew that ;
2a there were the pampas _ gauchos and regular revolutions ||
2b there were the pampas , gauchos and regular revolutions .
Table 5.
However, despite the absence of a pause, this comma was easily restored by
all the anglicists due to a basic grammar rule on punctuating homogenous elements.
In this case anglicists appeared to be almost unanimous in placing the stop after
pampas, as it was used in the original (see Table 6):
Punctuating a sound blind text
The Original
1 South America was a dangerous place, everyone knew that; there were the
2 pampas, gauchos _ and regular revolutions.
Anglicist 1
1 South America was a dangerous place, everyone knew that; there were the
2 pampas, gauchos _ and regular revolutions.
Anglicist 2
1 South America was a dangerous place - everyone knew that - there were the
2 pampas, gauchos, and regular revolutions.
Anglicist 3
1 South America was a dangerous place, everyone knew that: there were the
2 pampas, gauchos, and regular revolutions.
Table 6.
Anglicist 1 reproduced the original, while Anglicists 2 and 3 added the Oxford
comma to the sequence of homogenous subjects (though it may be regarded as a

100
minor difference, since this aspect of punctuation allows for variations). The most
specific variant was produced by Anglicist 2, who treated the phrase ‘everyone knew
that’ as a parenthetical insertion instead of a clause and, thus, the semicolon was
eliminated in this version.
In the experiment ‘Punctuating a blind text’ (Table 7) a case of
misunderstanding took place and the border between the clauses was shifted (the
presented interpretation is possible from the grammatic point of view, though the
content of the passage changes drastically). As a result, ironic attitude was
eliminated and the sentence acquired a matter-of-fact prosody and factive timbre.
Hence the conclusion: being devoid of punctuation marks, a text becomes either
illegible or open to an almost infinite number of interpretations, which cannot but
hamper the general understanding of the content and spoils the artistic design to be
conveyed.
Punctuating a blind text
The Original Anglicist 4
South America was a dangerous place, South America was a dangerous place:
everyone knew that; there were the everyone knew that_ there were the
pampas, gauchos and regular pampas_ gauchos and regular
revolutions. revolutions.
Table 7.
To sum up, the semicolon may become one of the means to express irony and,
though the stop performs the syntactic function, it acquires additional emotion-
evaluative-expressive meaning which is expressed prosodically by means of
modulating prosodic parameters, mainly timbre.

101
Conclusions
The present guide focuses on the pragmalinguistic aspect of the semicolon in
texts of verbal art. The research is based on the principles of philological phonetics
and proceeds from the ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’ and the classification
elaborated on the basis of the rules. It is aimed at studying semiotic and metasemiotic
functioning of the stop, as well as its prosodic potential and its capacity to convey
the author’s artistic/aesthetic purport.
The material selected for the analysis (Talking Heads and The Laying On of
Hands by Alan Bennett) has been studied pragmaphonostylistically by confronting
the written text of the original with its audio and video versions. The research is
based on the latest achievements of the scholars at the Department of English
Linguistics, MSU, in the field of phonetics, philological phonetics and
pragmaphonostylistics.
The results of the present research enabled us to arrive at the following
conclusions:
1. The most significant conclusion to be drawn is that although in artistic prose the
semiotic function is always performed to signal syntactic relationships within the
utterance, the choice of punctuation marks primarily depends on the initial
aesthetic-artistic intention of the author. Moreover, in fiction semiotic and
metasemiotic functions of the semicolon are indissolubly connected, which
makes it difficult to tell them apart. As a result, most instances of the use of the
semicolon become ‘polyphonic’, i. e. the semicolon performs syntactic and
stylistic functions simultaneously. Such cases require certain changes in the
recommended set of prosodic parameters to express additional emotional-
evaluative-expressive characteristics, such as expressing the character’s
emotions or showing the attitude of the author or the character to what has been
said.
2. Not necessarily modulations of prosodic characteristics bring some changes into
the content of the text: not infrequently their aim is to express the character’s
emotions or attitude to what has just been said. Likewise, considerable
modulations of tempo and loudness in the part after the semicolon can be used to
prioritise information and highlight information of major importance.
3. Even if in the written text the semicolon performs exclusively semiotic/syntactic
function, a change in the recommended prosody may result in acquiring by the
stop additional evaluative-expressive-emotional connotations, such as irony or
personal attitude of the author or the reader; in other words, in reading the
sentence aloud the stop starts to function polyphonically.
4. Not infrequently in the written text the semicolon marks off a change of narration,
for example, from the author’s narration to pronounced free indirect speech;
prosodically such a change is manifested through shifting the timbre, for example
to ‘tired and pathetic’, ‘mildly ironic’, ‘mocking’ ‘bitter self-ironic’ or the timbre
of ‘parody’. Such a shift is easily detected in speech, even if the transition is not
102
manifested lexically. The change of narration may perform one of the following
functions: 1) expressing his/her attitude to the content; or 2) changing the point
of view. The regularity of exploiting the semicolon to signal a change of narration
enables us to single out this use as a separate case of metasemiotic function.
Undoubtedly, prosodic peculiarities of the case require further investigation.
5. A series of semicolons may be used to signal the prosody of the ‘period’, where
each following clause is pitched higher than the preceding element of the
succession and sounds ‘more tense’. The purpose of this device is to create and
enhance suspense and produce a certain kind of effect on the reader/ the listener.
6. The semicolon may not only produce a certain stylistic effect on its own, but also
become part of a ‘system’ of stops that should be considered as a whole, since it
conveys additional emotional-expressive-evaluative shades of meaning only if
all its elements function simultaneously. In rare cases the separate uses of a stop
go against grammar rules; however, being viewed within a complex, such
violation acquires stylistic significance.
7. The prosody of the surrounding syntactic elements may affect prosodic
characteristics of the semicolon. Thus, for instance, being used as part of
parenthetical insertion the sentence containing the semicolon ‘adapts’ its set of
prosodic characteristics to the prosody of the surrounding syntactic structure.
8. In some cases the original punctuation provided in the printed original may not
correspond to its prosodic realisation, especially when the original arrangement
violates grammar rules for the sake of stylistic effect. More often than not, such
incongruency is aimed to improve (or at least not to hamper) the audience’s
understanding of the sentence.

The guide can be used in teaching budding anglicists both to cover theoretical
aspects of the functioning of the semicolon and to practice the obtained skills. The
presented results prompt the further investigations on the subject to proceed along
these lines.

103
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Appendix 1. Here comes the classification with a more detailed description of each case; the cases are provided with
comments on prosodic characteristics of the cases and with the examples borrowed from the novels The Tennis Party (1995) by
Madeleine Wickham and Persuasion (1818) by Jane Austen, and the short story The Limner (2011) by Julian Barnes.

Cases The main prosodic characteristics60 Illustration


Semiotic Level
Function of Complementation
developing the same idea in The last stressed word in the part “Whereas they shrugged off their children’s
a new clause before the semicolon is said with a achievements, he could not resist cataloguing
Mid-Falling tone. Georgina’s; could never resist breaking off in
The first stressed word in the part after conversation to point out that his daughter had just
the semicolon carries a level tone gone into the ring, yes, competing in the under
which is pitched lower than that of the fourteens, even though she was only just eleven.”
first stressed word of the preceding (Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
specifying the preceding part of the utterance. “‘You, stupid! It’s you, of course!’ Nicola started to
statement While producing the part after the smile, and instead broke into laughter; loud
semicolon tempo fastens and loudness laughter, that emptied her lungs of breath and filled
is diminished. her face with colour.”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
introducing a new fact “She had the local accent, but her voice was sharp
and strident; she and Caroline had obviously failed
to get a cosy employer-employee relationship
going.”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)

60
The parameters that go against the ‘rules of reading punctuation marks’ are pun in bold.
106
presenting several events or “The light in Cressida’s eyes dimmed; her eyes
actions in a sequence darted about distractedly.”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
adducing a sequence of “Guard the net; she’s got a nasty sliced forehand,
commands expressed by the might take you on the hop; don’t try to lob him
imperative verbal forms unless it’s over the backhand.”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
marking off the border “Now, running it more or less on his own, and
between the elements of an engrossed with Cressida and the twins, Charles
Each element of the enumeration set is
enumeration set found himself veering towards the safer, more
produced on a higher pitch than the
predictable end of the market. Old prints of
preceding one.
Silchester Cathedral; prints of watercolours by
Tempo fastens; loudness is increased. Sargent; even posters of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’.”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
establishing cause – effect The last stressed word in the part “He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior
relationship, i. e. the clause before the semicolon is said with a only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir
after the semicolon depends Mid-Falling tone. Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the
on the preceding part as a The first stressed word in the part after constant object of his warmest respect and
consequence upon its cause the semicolon carries a level tone devotion.”
which is pitched lower than that of the (Jane Austen. “Persuasion”)
first stressed word of the preceding
part of the utterance.
While producing the part after the
semicolon tempo slows down and
loudness is diminished.

107
separating a gerund “He was used, after four years of marriage, to
construction from the rest of The part after the semicolon is swiftly diverting his thoughts whenever they turned
the sentence produced on a lower pitch than the in the direction of Ella; remembering only the bad
preceding one. times; most of the time blocking her memory
Tempo fastens; loudness is increased. completely from his mind.”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
Function of Contrast
i. e. the parts of the sentence The part after the semicolon is “This was not something those who employed him
before and after the produced within a somewhat higher would admit; but his eyes told him that it was the
semicolon express opposite section of the diapason. case.”
ideas Tempo slows down; loudness is (Julian Barnes. “The Limner”)
increased.
Metasemiotic Level
‘the thinking process’ or The part after the semicolon is pitched “Stephen closed his eyes and briefly reviewed the
‘stream of thoughts’ lower than the preceding one. last twelve hours. An early train journey into
Tempo slows down; loudness is London; an hour’s wait at the department to see his
diminished. supervisor for fifteen minutes; a sandwich at the
British Library while waiting for the documents he’d
requested; a few hours’ good work; a late
appearance at a seminar he’d promised to attend;
back onto the train and home…”
(Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
‘the camera effect’ Each successive element of the “Last to appear was Cressida. Long legs,
sequence is produced on a higher immaculately clad in beige trousers; smooth,
pitch than the preceding one. bobbed, pale-blond hair; a calm, unlined face.”

108
Tempo is slowed down; loudness is (Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
increased.
‘the final touch’ The first stressed word of the ‘tag’ “He replaced the receiver and closed his eyes. By
begins on a higher pitch than last this time tomorrow it should all be in the bag;
stressed word before the semicolon. signed, sealed and stamped.”
Tempo slows down; loudness is (Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
increased
the ‘effective result’ The first word in the part after the “Would he make money, he asks! You want to know
semicolon carries a level tone which is if you’d make money? A client of mine put ten
pitched higher than that of the first thousand pounds into a plan just like this one five
stressed word of the preceding part of years ago; now he’s sitting on a hundred thousand.”
the sentence. (Madeleine Wickham. “The Tennis Party”)
Tempo fastens; loudness is increased.

109
Appendix 2 provides a detailed description of the markers and symbols used
in the tonetic transcription in the present guide.

Pauses

# or ||| - three-unit pause

|| - two-unit pause

| - one-unit pause

∫ - slight pause

Tones
ǀ
m – a high-level tone ∕
m – a high-rising tone \
m –a high-falling tone

‫׀‬m – a mid-level tone ∕m – a mid-rising tone \ m – a mid-falling tone

ǀ m – a low-level tone ̷ m – a low-rising tone \ m – a low-falling tone

The sequence of tones


ǀ
m •m – the first stressed syllable is produced on high level; the following stressed
syllable is produced on the same – high – level

‫׀‬m •m – the first stressed syllable is produced on mid level; the following stressed
syllable is produced on the same – mid – level

ǀ m •m – the first stressed syllable is produced on low level; the following stressed
syllable is produced on the same – low – level

Accents

\ m – a High Fall

↑ m – an Accidental Rise

˅ m – a Falling-Rising Tone

\ ̷ m – a Falling-Rising Tone

110
Tempo

m m m – tempo is slowed down


more slowly
mmm – tempo is fastened
faster

Loudness

mmm – loudness is diminished


softer

mmm – loudness is increased


more loudly

Loudness + Tempo

m m m m – to denote a combination of two parameters


faster softer

Timbre

>breathiness<

↕ – to denote the change of timbre to produce the following utterance or sentence

Other symbols

mmm – phonetically degraded syllable or word

Ɂ – glottal stop

– to denote the borders within which the modulations a certain parameter are
observed

111
Appendix 3 provides brief information about the actresses producing the audio
and video material used in the course of the study.

Julie Walters (the full name is Dame Julia Mary Walters) (born in 1950 in
Birmingham) first performed with Victoria Wood, a famous comedian, both on stage
and in television series, the most popular of which were Woods and Walters (1982)
and Victoria Wood As Seen on TV. The actress played her first prominent role in the
film Boys from the Blackstuff (1982); her acting was highly appreciated by critics
and received Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe ‘Best Actress’ awards.
In the 1980 - 2000-s the actress played quite a few significant roles in various films,
including The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (1985), Personal Services (1987), Billy
Elliot (2000). However, the work that brought her the greatest recognition was the
role of Molly Weasley in the series of films about Harry Potter. The success was
proceeded by other significant roles in the films such as Calendar Girls, (2003),
Driving Lessons (2006), the BBC Drama Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, The
Hollow Crown (2012), and Brooklyn (2015) for which she won BAFTA Award for
‘Best Actress’.

Patricia Routledge (the full name is Dame Katherine Patricia Routledge) (born
in 1929 in Birkenhead) is an English stage and television actress, a professional
singer. First and foremost, the actress is famous for her stage career: she has been a
long-standing member of several theatres, including the Royal Shakespeare
Company, theatres in West End and on Broadway. Among her most prominent
works are roles in Candide (1988), The Carnival of the Animals (2010), An Ideal
Husband (2014) and Facade (2002). Though she had had some minor roles in
television series (Coronation Street, 1974; Doctor at Large, 1971; Sense and
Sensibility, 1971), the was not widely known until she appeared in Alan Bennett’s
monologues (A Visit from Miss Protheroe, 1978; A Woman of No Importance, 1982;
A Lady of Letters, 1987 and 1998). Interestingly, the subject of exchanging letters
112
upon which A Lady of Letters centers was proceeded in the series Ladies of Letters
on BBC Radio 4, in which she co-starred with Prunella Scales. Due to her quite
distinctive the actress was often asked to record audio books (including Wuthering
Heights, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), take part in radio plays (such as Private
Lives, Presents Laughter, The Cherry Orchard, Romeo and Juliet) and also sang in
operas and operettas (Ruddigore, Princess Ida, Vakula the Smith).

Anna Raymond Massey (1937 in Sussex – 2011) first appeared on stage in The
Reluctant Debutante in 1955, aged 17. Though she had no formal actor training, the
role was a success and was repeated in the Cambridge Theatre and in New York.
Her next successful work was a dramatised reading of the letters by T.S. Eliot and
Virginia Woolf, in which she co-starred with Alan Bennett. The better part of her
roles were in mystery thrillers and detective stories, such as Gideon’s Day (1958),
Peeping Tom (1960), Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy (1972), the horror film The Vault
of Horror (1973), Rebecca (1978) – the role of Mrs Danvers, Agatha Christie’s
Poirot. Her best work, however, was the role Edith Hope in Hotel du Lac (1986),
the screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Anita Brookner. This role
was awarded the BAFTA Award for ‘Best Actress’. Another her famous work is
Mrs D’Urberville in BBC miniseries Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008).

Dame Margaret Natalie Smith (born in 1934) is one of the most popular and
most recognizable English actresses and a significant figure in contemporary British
culture. Among her credits both stage roles, many of which were awarded with
prestigious prizes ( The Private Ear and The Public Eye, both 1962; Hedda
Gabler, 1970; Virginia, 1981; The Way of the World, 1984; Three Tall
Women, 1994; Antony and Cleopatra, 1976; Macbeth, 1978; The Breath of
Life, 2002), and works in films and television series (Nowhere to Go , 1958; A
Private Function, 1984; The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, 1988; Tea With
Mussolini, 1999; etc. – BAFTA Awards; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1969;
113
California Suite, 1978 – Academy Awards; Othello, 1965; Travels with My Aunt,
1972; A Room with a View, 1986; Gosford Park, 2001 – Oscar nominations). Her
recent roles brought the actress even greater popularity, among them were Professor
McGonagall in the series about Harry Potter (2001-2010), the woman tramp in The
Lady in the Van (2015) and Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham,
in Downton Abbey (2010–2015).

Patricia Stephanie Cole (born in 1941 in Solihull, Warwickshire) is an English


television, film and stage actress. Her roles in TV series brought her huge popularity,
among which were Dr Beatrice Mason in Tenko (1981–1985), Mrs Delphine
Featherstone in Open All Hours (1982–1985) reprised in the sequel Still Open All
Hours (1982–1985), Muriel in Soldiering On (1988) and Sylvia Goodwin in
Coronation Street (2011–2013). The actress won several awards, among which were
‘Best TV Comedy Actress’ for the sitcom Waiting for God (1990–1994) and the
BAFTA Award for Housewife, 49 (2006). The actress has been performing on stage
for over fifty years, namely at theaters in West End and at the Comedy Theatre. In
addition, she starred on BBC Radio 4 (Ed Reardon’s Week, Cabin Pressure) and on
Radio 4 (in one of the episodes of John Finnemore’s Double Acts in 2017).

114