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The traditional communicative classification of the sentences

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Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

In accord with the purpose of communication three cardinal sentence-types have long been recognised in linguistic tradition: first, the declarative sentence; second, the imperative (inducive) sentence; third, the interrogative sentence. These communicative sentence-types stand in strict opposition to one another, and their inner properties of form and meaning are immediately correlated with the corresponding features of the listener's responses

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2013-11-25

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41.The traditional communicative classification of the sentences.

In accord with the purpose of communication three cardinal sentence-types have long been recognised in linguistic tradition: first, the declarative sentence; second, the imperative (inducive) sentence; third, the interrogative sentence. These communicative sentence-types stand in strict opposition to one another, and their inner properties of form and meaning are immediately correlated with the corresponding features of the listener's responses.

Thus, the declarative sentence expresses a statement, either affirmative or negative, and as such stands in systemic syntagmatic correlation with the listener's responding signals of attention, of appraisal (including agreement or disagreement), of fellow-feeling. Cf.:

"I think," he said, "that Mr. Desert should be asked to give us his reasons for publishing that poem." — "Hear, hear!" said the К. С. (J. Galsworthy). "We live very quietly here, indeed we do; my niece here will tell you the same." — "Oh, come, I'm not such a fool as that," answered the squire (D. du Maurier).

The imperative sentence expresses inducement, either affirmative or negative. That is, it urges the listener, in the form of request or command, to perform or not to perform a certain action. As such, the imperative sentence is situationally connected with the corresponding "action response" (Ch. Fries), and lingually is systemically correlated with a verbal response showing that the inducement is either complied with, or else rejected. Cf.:

"Let's go and sit down up there, Dinny." — "Very well" (J. Galsworthy). "Then marry me." — "Really, Alan, I never met anyone with so few ideas" (J. Galsworthy). "Send him back!" he said again. — "Nonsense, old chap" (J. Aldridge).

Since the communicative purpose of the imperative sentence is to make the listener act as requested, silence on the part of the latter (when the request is fulfilled), strictly speaking, is also linguistically relevant. This gap in speech, which situationally is filled in by the listener's action, is set off in literary narration by special comments and descriptions. Cf.:

"Knock on the wood." — Retan's man leaned forward and knocked three times on the barrera (E. Hemingway). "Shut the piano," whispered Dinny; "let's go up." — Diana closed the piano without noise and rose (J. Galsworthy).

The interrogative sentence expresses a question, i.e. a request for information wanted by the speaker from the listener. By virtue of this communicative purpose, the interrogative sentence is naturally connected with an answer, forming together with it a question-answer dialogue unity. Cf.:

"What do you suggest I should do, then?" said Mary helplessly. — "If I were you I should play a waiting game," he replied (D. du Maurier).

The sentence is a minimal unit of communication. From the viewpoint of their role in the process of communication sentences are divided into four types, grammatically marked: declarative, interrogative, imperative, exclamatory sentences. These types differ in the aim of communication and express statements, questions, commands and exclamations respectively.

Dickens was born in 1812. Come up and sit down.

When shall I see you again? What a quiet evening!

Do you know Italian?

These types are usually applied to simple sentences. In a complex sentence the communicative type depends upon that of the main clause as in:

I waited till the light turned to green, (statement)

Do you always wait till the light turns to green? (question)

Wait till the light turns to green. (command)

How thoughtless of you not to have waited till the light turned to green! (exclamation)

In a compound sentence, coordinate clauses may as well belong to different communicative types.

Look out, or you may meet with an accident. (command-statement)

I obeyed, for what else could I do? (statement-question)