The Category of Number of English Nouns — страница 9

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слышно было до рассвета, как ликовал француз. (Лермонтов) Other "universals" in expressing plurality will be found in what may be called "augmentative" plurals, i. e. when the plural forms of material nouns are used to denote large amounts of substance, or a high degree of something. This is often the case when we see the matter as it exists in nature. Such plural forms are often used for stylistic purposes in literary prose and poetry, e. g.: the blue waters of the Mediterranean, the sands of the Sahara Desert, the snows of Kilimanjaro. Similarly in Russian: синие воды Средиземного моря, пески Сахары, снега Арктики. Еще в полях белеет снег, А

воды уж весной шумят. (Тютчев) Люблю ее степей алмазные снега. (Фет) Ukrainian: Сині води Середземного моря, піски Сахари, сніги Арктики. Cf. French: les eaux, les sables; German: die Sände, die Wässer. Attention must also be drawn to the emotive use of plural forms of abstract verbal nouns in pictorial language: ...it was a thousand pities he had run off with that foreign girl — a governess too! (Galsworthy) The look on her face, such as he had never seen there before, such as she had always hidden from him was full of secret resentments, and longings, and fears. (Mitchell) The peculiar look came into Bosinney's face which marked all his enthusiasms. (Galsworthy) Her face was

white and strained but her eyes were steady and sweet and full of pity and unbelief. There was a luminous serenity in them and the innocence in the soft brown depths struck him like a blow in the face, clearing some of the alcohol out of his brain, halting his mad, careering words in mod-flight. (Mitchell) He stood for a moment looking down at the plain, heart-shaped face with its long window's peak and serious dark eyes. Such an unwordly face, a face with no defenses against life. (Mitchell) Oh! Wilfrid has emotions, hates, pities, wants; at least, sometimes; when he does, his stuff is jolly good. Otherwise, he just makes a song about nothing — like the rest. (Galsworthy) It should be noted, in passing, that the plural form is sometimes used not only for emphasis in pictorial

language but to intensify the aspective meaning of the verb, the iterative character of the action, in particular, e. g.: Oh, this was just the kind of trouble she had feared would come upon them. All the work of this last year would go for nothing. All her struggles and fears and labours in rain and cold had been wasted. (Mitchell) Relentless and stealthy, the butler pursued his labours taking things from the various compartments of the sideboard. (Galsworthy) The small moon had soon dropped down, and May night had failed soft and warm, enwrapping with its grape-bloom colour and its scents the billion caprices, intrigues, passions, longings, and regrets of men and women. (Galsworthy) The emotive use of proper nouns in plural is also an effective means of expressive connotation,

e. g.: Fleur, leaning out of her window, heard the hall clock's muffled chime of twelve, the tiny splash of a fish, the sudden shaking of an aspen's leaves in the puffs of breeze that rose along the river, the distant rumble of a night train, and time and again the sounds which none can put a name to in the darkness, soft obscure expressions of uncatalogued emotions from man and beast, bird and machine, or, may be, from departed Forsytes, Darties, Cardigans, taking night strolls back into a world which had once suited their embodied spirits. (Galsworthy) Expressive connotation is particularly strong in the metaphoric use of the plural of nouns denoting things to be considered unique, e. g.: Ahead of them was a tunnel of fire where buildings were blazing on either side of the

short, narrow street that led down to the railroad tracks. They plunged into it. A glare brighter than a dozen suns dazzled their eyes, scroching heat seared their skins and the roaring, crackling and crashing beat upon ears in painful waves. (Mitchell) Compare the following example in French: Leon: ...— Quelquefois... j'y reste... a regarder le soleil couchant. Emma: — Je ne trouve rien d'admirable commeles soleils couchants... mais аи bord de la mer, surtout. 1 Very often the plural form, besides its specific meaning may also retain the exact meaning of the singular, which results in homonymy. 1) custom = habit, customs = 1) plural of habit 2) duties 2) colour = tint, colours = 1) plural of tint 2) flag 3) effect = result, effects = 1) results 2) goods and chattels 4)