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“PARCELLING” AND "SEGMENTATION" IN ENGLISH SENTENCE-STRUCTURE


Flexibility in sentence-structure merits consideration in sentence-patterning with the so-called "parcelling" by which we mean placing a syntactically dependent sentence-element out of its usual sentence frame and setting it off by a full stop like an independent unit.
Parcelling is not infrequent in spoken English and literary prose.
In such isolated position we may find adverbial adjuncts, objective complements, attributes and epithet adjuncts. The expressive value of such sentence-patterns, marked by special intonation contours in actual speech, makes them most effective.
1. Adverbial adjuncts in isolated position:
Suddenly my mind leapt clear. "I should like to talk about that", I said. "Not tonight. Tomorrow or the next day". (Ch. Snow)
They ran close into wind. Slowly. Fantastically slowly. (Aldridge)
Now, on this course, they were running with the breakwater. Level with it. But out to sea and away from it. And fast. (Aldridge)
"I have been glancing into some of the rooms. Let's go to Coney Island, old sport. In my car. "It's too late". (Fitzgerald)
2. Isolated predicatives:
He was exhausted. Completely finished, and sick with the balt water in him. (Aldridge)
3. Isolated subject-groups in patterns with the introductory it:
It had been the most ironical thing of all. To arrive from Gadvos after releasing those from the Metaxists. To come back here and meet Metaxists from Egypt who want cooperation. (Aldridge)
4. Isolated parts of complex modal predicate:
If you have troubles let me share them. You are so much to me — my only trouble I can fix your life. Join it with mine. (Dreiser)
5. Isolated attributive adjuncts:
He had reached the centre of Parliament Square, when a figure coming towards him swerved suddenly to its left and made in the direction of Victoria. Tall, with a swing in its walk. (Galsworthy)
6. Prepositional and prepositionless objects in isolated position: Brian said to his cousin: "I'm signing on as well in a way, only for
life. I'm getting married". Both stopped walking. Bert took his arm and stared: "You're not".
"Гam. To Pauline. Don't you think we've been courting long enough?" (Sillitoe)
They have snakes in England; jungle and wild animals and mountains. Cities and swamps and big rivers. You look as if you don't believe me. (Sillitoe)
She was interrupted at that point. By me. (Salinger). - In such syntactic arrangements the hierarchy of the spoken chain breaks into segments.
The final intonation of the segments seems to convert them into independent syntactic units. The syntagmatic subordination of the sepa-
197rated element comes to be neutralised by its intonation independence.
And here are a few typical examples of sub-clauses placed for emphasis out of their usual sentence frame and set of by a full stop like independent units:
"I could be content", went on Hurstwood, "if I had you to love me. If I had you to go; for a companion". (Salinger)
I thought of the future, and spoke of the past. Because Holly wanted to know about my childhood. (Capote)
It sounds like it.
As though tigers were loose in Holly's apartment. (Capote)
Sentence disintegration of this type is not specifically English and will be found in other languages.
A few typical examples from French are:
Il commença à attendre. La nomination qui allait arriver, pour une ville inconnue. Les ressources de la province. La vie tranquille et l'hôtel. (Conchon)
Elle a ete deportee. Avec sa mère. (Langfus)
Il continue ici à vivre comme un lion. Il se but, Pour les autres. (Laffitte)
Violette riait. Atrocement faut. (Conchon) 1
Cf: Хотелось яркого света, толпы, шума улиц. Услышать изысканную речь. (Сейфулина)
Какие стволы у осин! Цвета кошачьих глаз. (Ю. Казаков)2
Выходит великий гонщик. Без шапки. И еще какие-то люди с ним. Тоже рыжие. (Олеша)
Нет, ему нужен был именно этот — чужой. Мечтанный. Невозможный. (Цветаева)
Closely related to "parcelling" is "segmentation".
Parcelling and segmentation are both intended to give emphatic prominence to the separated sentence-elements and as such have much in common. But the two syntactic devices are not absolutely identical.
Parcelling can split a sentence into two or more parts, whereas segmentation is, in fact, a twofold designation, a special kind of reduplication where the sentence is split into two interdependent sentence-elements related as "the theme" and "the rheme" respectively, the former being set off in a position of an independent unit.
Segmentation is also one of the universal features of syntactic arrangement. Structures of this kind are not specifically English and are known to be fairly common in other languages. A few typical examples for illustration:
And those geese — they don't seem, to mind your counting their features, do they? (Galsworthy)
1 See: А. А. Андриевская. Явления сепаратизации в стилистическом синтаксисе современной художественной прозы. М., «Филологические науки», 1969.
2 Парцелляция, ее коммуникативно-экспрессивные и синтаксические функции. В кн.: «Морфология и синтаксис современного русского литературного языка». М., 1968.
198"This is fantastic", murmured Jolyon. Well, the fellow couldn't force his wife to live with him. Those days were past away! And he looked round at Soames with the thought: "Is he real, this man?" (Galsworthy)
And what about twilight sleep? Why hadn't he been there? He might have — nature. Damn it! Nature — as if it couldn't leave even her alone! (Galsworthy)
There are important treatments of the subject in Ch. Bally's Linguistique generale et Linguistique française, where segmented sentences are referred to as consisting of two parts: "theme" and "propos". The "theme" is generally represented in "propos" by pronouns. If the "theme" (noun) precedes the "propos" (pronoun), the structure is called a reprise, if the "propos" (pronoun) precedes the "theme", the structure is referred to as anticipation. Segmented sentences have always a middle pause and special intonation.
Segmented structures make the long established order of words in French less rigid, the lexical unit functioning in a sentence becoming ever more independent. This new trend in the development of French syntax is gaining attention of many scholars as one of the most striking features of its progressive development.
The subject has been discussed in A. A. Andrievskaya's work-paper «Характерные черты современного французского синтаксиса»1, where we find the following tabulated survey:
1) the necessary repetition of the direct object expressed by a pronoun (the only case of the pre-position of the direct object in traditional word- order in French), e. g.:
Je la reprendrai, ma place. Je la bus, ma bouteille.
2) the necessary repetition of any object placed at the head of the sentence, e. g. :
Ces paroles, elle les prononça d'un ton tranquille.
3) the necessary repetition of the object expressed by a whole clause ("Proposition conjonctionnelle"), e. g.:
Que la position fut entièrement changee, je ne le pensais pas.
4) the repetition of the subject, with adverbs at the head of the sentence, e. g.:
Ainsi la vie sociale les reprenait-elle.
5) the necessary repetition of the noun-subject in the inverted structure of a question, e. g.:
Mon frère, est-il venu?

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Источник: N. M. RAYEVSKA. MODERN ENGLISH GRAMMAR. 1976 {original}

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