Linguistic Representation of the Category of Oppositeness in English Folk Tales

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Abstract


The purpose of the article is to study manifestations of the category of oppositeness at all language levels in order to establish a classification of textual oppositions found in folktales. Achieving this goal requires using integrated multi-disciplinary research methods such as hypothetical-deductive, inductive, descriptive, comparative and classification methods. The study also involves specifically linguistic research procedures: the method of phonological oppositions which served as the methodological basis for further research into morphological and grammatical oppositions, transformational and component analyses to describe the semantic content of the considered language units, the logical and semantic procedures in text analysis. English is used as the basis for the research, the theoretical principles are illustrated by the data included in The Oxford Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms, and The Collins Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms, the collection of folktales edited by J. Jacobs serves as the material for the empirical analysis. The category of oppositeness is seen as a phenomenon represented by phonological, semantic and grammatical oppositions and their subclasses. The textual oppositions under consideration are based on semantic and grammatical oppositions and represent the opposed spatial images, the opposed characters and the opposed beginning and ending of a folktale. The phenomenon of neutralization, which is the removal of the opposition in certain positions, is found at all levels of the language system, manifesting itself on the textual level in the ambivalent nature and the contradictory functional roles of certain folktale characters.

1. Introduction Cognitive and evaluative activities directly related to the human categorization serve to structure the reality into discrete entities and groups of entities, inevitably leading to the discovery of the opposite sides. The existence of opposing sides is reflected in binary oppositions that define the categories of the human mind. Bipolarity as a minimal structure of the semantic organization is found at all levels of thinking. According to the French social anthropologist C. Levi-Strauss, binary structures are manifested both in the conscious mental activity of a person and on the unconscious level, that is, they act as a fundamental element, on the basis of which the individual psyche is formed (Levi-Strauss, 1983). Opposite sides of things and events are recorded by means of the language on the phonological, morphological, semantic and syntagmatic levels. This study attempts to analyze the accumulated knowledge about the effects of opposition in language and speech in order to demonstrate that the category in question is a linguistic phenomenon, represented at all levels of the language, as well as the phenomenon of neutralization, i.e. absence of discrimination between elements which enter into a relationship of opposition. The undertaken analysis of English folktale texts helps us to prove that semantic and grammatical oppositions serve as the basis for creating textual oppositions manifested in the contrasted spatial images, the characters and the plot. 2. Defining opposition In addition to bipolarity as a universal principle of categorization, some researchers distinguish unipolar semantic constructs that are not characterized by the presence of the opposition. A person can perceive the meaning content as the only one existing, not opposed to anything (Stefanenko, 1999). The work of the British anthropologist and sociologist W. Turner “Symbol and Ritual” (1972) notes the role of three-term universals in which a dichotomous opposition is seen as a particular case of a broader three-term construct (ternary oppositions in primitive thinking can be illustrated with the help of colors: the white colour was associated with the good, the black colour was associated with the evil, and the red color was considered ambivalent and could mean both the good and the evil). Western science is largely logocentric, i. e. there is a tendency to point out the central element (of any text, philosophical analysis, etc.) and the peripheral elements which are formed around and depend on the centre. The French philosopher Jacques Derrida (Derrida, 1997) expresses disagreement with the parameters of organizing units in binary oppositions following the logocentric approach. According to this author, logocentric oppositions are unstable, ambiguous and have to be deconstructed. Deconstruction (a form of philosophical and literary analysis that questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions, or “oppositions”, through a close examination of the language and logic of philosophical and literary texts) involves creating hierarchical relationships which are reverse to the traditional ones: the central concept is treated as a variant or a subordinate to the peripheral (e.g. the literal meaning is a particular case of the figurative meaning). On the one hand, the theory of deconstruction seems attractive since it allows scientists to expand the scope of classical structuralism and synthesize it with other scientific approaches. On the other hand, it does not provide a set of rules for research due to its lack of clear methodology. 3. Linguistic oppositions The linguistic opposition can be defined as the linguistically significant difference between units on the level of expression corresponding to the difference between units on the level of content, and vice versa. In the given definition the concept of opposition is used to express the oppositional relations between different linguistic units (different invariants) and the non-oppositional relations between phonetically or semantically different variants of one and the same linguistic unit. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics, an opposition is “any paradigmatic relation between units that are distinct in a given language” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics, 2007:258). In some cases, the term “opposition” is used interchangeably with the term “binary opposition”. It implies that opposed features come naturally in pairs. A linguistic opposition is a type of relations typical of semiotic systems and within which a sign becomes meaningful owing to its relations with other signs. Thus, the word (as a linguistic sign) “friend” realizes its meaning through its relation to the word “enemy”. The Russian linguist O.S. Akhmanova treats opposition as equal to contrast, i.e. a figure of speech which consists in using antonymous phonetic, lexical, phraseological and grammatical units in order to express the author’s contrasting perception of reality (Akhmanova, 2015). This point of view is found disputable by R. Jakobson who states that the term “contrast” cannot be equated with the term “opposition” because the first is appropriate for “juxtaposition and comparison of the two perceptually related concurrent or successive elements”, while the second emphasizes the “situation of the binary choice” (Jakobson, 2002:442). The essential difference consists in the relations of presence / absence: the presence of one contrasting element does not imply the presence of the other while the members of the opposition necessarily imply one another. 3.1. Phonological oppositions Oppositions were first classified by N.S. Trubetzkoy, the author of the theory of phonological oppositions, on the basis of the relation of the opposition to the entire system of oppositions, the relation between the members of the opposition and also in terms of the distinctive force intensity within the opposition (Trubetzkoy, 1969). As regards the relation of the opposition to the entire system of oppositions there are two subdivisions: the first subdivision includes one-dimensional (bilateral) and multi-dimensional (multilateral) oppositions, the second subdivision concerns isolated and proportional oppositions. In terms of dimension, the opposition is recognized as one-dimensional if the set of attributes common to both of its members (the basis for comparison), is not inherent to any other member of the greater system. For example, the phonemes [t]: [d] are the only hard dental explosive consonants in the phonological inventory of the English language. The opposition is recognized as multi-dimensional if the basis for comparison of the two members of the opposition also applies to other members of the same system. For example, the concurrent combination of such features as sonority and explosiveness is inherent not only to the opposed pair of phonemes [b]: [d], but also to the phoneme [g]. In terms of incidence, the opposition is considered isolated if its members are in a relationship which is not found in any other opposition ([t] : [s]). If the relationship between the members of the opposition is identical to that between the members of another opposition([t]: [d] = [p]: [b] = [k]: [g]), it is assumed to be proportional. According to the types of relations between the members, there are privative, gradual and equipollent oppositions. One member of the privative opposition is characterized by the presence of a distinctive feature thus considered “marked” while the other member is characterized by the absence of the distinctive feature thus considered “unmarked”, e. g. voiced consonant phonemes opposed to voiceless consonant phonemes ([p] : [b], [t] : [d]). The members of gradual oppositions manifest varying degrees of the same distinctive feature, e. g. varying degree of openness of the phonemes [a] : [o] : [u]. The members of equipollent oppositions are logically equivalent, e.g. [p] : [t], [f] : [k]. In terms of the distinctive force intensity, oppositions are divided into stable and neutralized. The members of stable oppositions are different in every possible position, the distinctive feature is not restricted to particular cases. For example, the nasal oppositions [p] : [m], [t] : [n] are valid in any position. If the opposition is neutralized, it means that the distinctive feature is no longer actual and does not serve the purpose of differentiation between the members of the opposition, e.g. in Russian the distinctive feature of sonority loses its power when the typically opposed phonemes occur at the end of words. Within the framework of N.S. Trubetzkoy’s studies, neutralization is understood as a loss by a certain linguistic sign of its distinctive features in one position, whereas in other positions distinctive features are preserved. Members of the opposition can be neutralized if they possess not only the distinctive feature but also identical features which serve as the basis for comparison. 3.2. Semantic oppositions Applying the theory of phonological oppositions to the analysis of morphemes and lexemes, the French linguist Jean Cantineau concluded that it is possible to determine the relationship between meaningful language units on the basis of their similarity and differences as well as the functions of units as opposed to one another. The semantic (significative) opposition is understood by J. Cantineau (Cantineau, 1960) as the opposition of two linguistic signs which are distinguished by the signified and realized by any formal elements possessing either grammatical or lexical meanings (combinative and facultative morphemes, lexemes). Various classifications of lexemes with opposed meanings are based on their semantic and structural properties (Apresyan, 1974; Komissarov, 1957; L’vov, 1984; Novikov, 1973). According to J. Saeed, there are a few types of relations involving words which are at the same time related in meaning yet incompatible or contrasted. Here belong complementaries, gradable antonyms, reverses, converses and taxonomic sisters (Saeed, 2003). The relation of complementarity is a relation between words such that the negative of one implies the positive of the other, e.g. dead/alive. In addition to the mutual exclusivity, the idea of exhaustiveness has to be included among the vital attributes of this type of relation. Two mutually exclusive terms which might nevertheless not cover between them the whole of the relevant semantic field are not seen as opposites. For example, the complementaries animate/inanimate are seen as “dividing the range of possibilities of concrete items in the world into two, there being nothing known which is either half way between animate and inanimate nor anything that exists outside this particular division” (Jeffries, 2010:19). Gradable antonymy is a relationship between opposites where the positive of one term does not imply the negative of the other, e.g. good/bad, beautiful/ugly, etc. This relation is typically associated with adjectives and has three identifying characteristics: the presence of intermediate terms between the gradable antonyms (e.g. hot - warm - tepid - cool - cold), the relative character of gradable antonyms (e.g. a thick pencil is likely to be thinner than a thin girl), the more basic and common character of one of the terms (e.g. it is more natural to ask of something “How long is it?” than “How short is it?”), although for some pairs there is no such pattern. Reverse relations occur in pairs of opposite units, where one unit describes movement in one direction, and the other describes the same movement in the opposite direction (e.g. push - pull). By extension, the term is also applied to any process which can be reversed (e.g. inflate - deflate, expand - contract, fill - empty, etc.). Converses describe a relation between two entities from alternate viewpoints, as in the pairs own - belong to, above - below, employer - employee, etc. These relations are part of a speaker’s semantic knowledge and explain why such sentences as My office is above the library. and The library is below my office. are paraphrases and can be used to describe the same situation. The idea that words are related to each other through a frame in which they participate (Fillmore, 1982) is in sharp contrast to the structuralist approach in which semantic oppositeness is regarded as a type of lexical relationships based on the opposition between two lexical items (Lyons, 1977; Palmer, 1980, etc.). Two words are regarded as opposite when their conceptual contents are placed in a certain conceptual opposition within the frame in which they co-participate. There exist two types of conceptual opposition: directional opposition and polar opposition. The directional opposition can be found in spatial frames serving as the backgrounds for the opposed units (e.g. north - south, top - bottom, etc.), temporal frames (e.g. tomorrow - yesterday), state frames (e.g. harden - soften), activity frames (e.g. buy - sell), relational frames (e.g. husband - wife). The polar opposition implies the contrast between the positive and the negative, being rendered by the evaluative subtype (e.g. good - bad) and the logical subtype (e.g. true - false). Polar oppositions may be bilateral in that each of the two items possesses its own properties that the other tends to lack (e.g. man - woman). The frame semantic account of oppositeness is more flexible than the structuralist analysis as it takes into account the possibility of the double motivation in a conceptual opposition (e.g. honest - dishonest is positive/negative in terms of evaluation and directionally opposed in terms of increase). An item may have a different opposite depending on the frames involved (e.g. good morning - good night in a family life frame and good morning - good bye in a business life frame). An item may also have two different opposites within a frame due to two different conceptual oppositions (e.g. be born - die on the basis of direction change and live - die on the basis of state distinction) (Justeson, Katz, 1992:176-184). Semantic neutralization can be studied on the basis of the research into the semantic opposition types and the contexts in which these oppositions are either valid or non-valid. For example, the converses hide and hide oneself/disappear are opposed in the following contexts: “The clouds hid the sun” and “The sun hid itself/disappeared behind the clouds”. However, if both the hidden and the hiding objects are stationary and they are regarded by an observer on the move, the opposition is neutralized: “The trees hid the house” and “The house disappeared behind the trees” (Apresjan, 1974:160-161). Semantic neutralization is also manifested in the system of hyperonyms. Thus, the seme denoting the gender becomes neutralized in the semantic structure of the hyperonym horse, while the hyponyms stallion and mare possess the opposed male and female gender semes. 3.3. Grammatical oppositions The study of phonological oppositions, as well as the observations regarding the inequality of the members of a grammatical category, served as the basis for the study of grammatical oppositions. A grammatical category combines two or more grammatical forms which are opposed to or correlated with one another for the grammatical meaning. According to R. Jakobson, the opposition is seen as a form in which a grammatical category is represented. The relationship between the members of the grammatical opposition is based on the principle of being marked/unmarked: one member of the opposition expresses some positive feature and is marked, while the other member of the opposition is unmarked because it leaves the feature unexpressed (it is included in the meaning and negated) (Jakobson, 2002). Typology of grammatical oppositions is discussed in detail by N. Boeva (Boeva, 2001). Grammatical oppositions include oppositions of antonymous derivational morphemes in the structure of notional antonyms (contrariety oppositions), oppositions of functional words, oppositions of word-forms and oppositions of words of different parts of speech. Contrariety oppositions are exhibited by the opposed negative affix and the correlated zero affix in the structure of notional words. Depending on the shades of meaning of negative affixes, there can be a few types of oppositions. Contra-essence oppositions imply the exclusion of a phenomenon from the class of phenomena alike and are expressed with the help of the prefixes non- and un- opposed to the zero affix (e.g. fiction - non-fiction, political - unpolitical). The members of contra-omission oppositions differ from each other for the presence or absence of a feature expressed by the word base (e.g. respect - disrespect, justice - injustice, kind - kindless). Contra-direction oppositions are represented by pairs of antonyms one of which has the negative prefixes expressing anti-orientation (e.g. antimilitarism), anti-direction (e.g. contrarotation), counteraction (e.g. counterblow), anti-result (e.g. decode), negative evaluation (e.g. disapprove). The other antonym in the pair exhibits the semes of orientation (e.g. militarism), direction (e.g. rotation), action (e.g. blow), result (e.g. code), positive evaluation (e.g. approve). Contra-distinctive morphemic oppositions are based on the correlation of the opposed derivational morphemes. Contra-distinctive oppositions can express polar qualities (e.g. explicit - implicit), result (e.g. encrown - discrown), evaluation (e.g. disvalue - overvalue), position (e.g. exterior - interior), etc. Antonymous functional words have been studied on the basis of texts as their semantic function is realized in combination with notional words. Prepositional oppositions include spatial ones (e.g. down - up, above - under), temporal ones (e.g. after - before, from - till), and abstract ones (e.g. with - without). Conjunctional oppositions express the relations of precedence/consequence (e.g. till - since, before - since), inclusion/exclusion (e.g. both ... and - neither ... nor), positive / negative condition (e.g. if - unless), positive/negative aim (e.g. in order that - lest, so that - for fear), logical consequence/contradiction (e.g. and - but, so - yet), cause/concession (e.g. because - although, since - though). Word-forms become antonymous in the framework of categorical oppositions on the basis of their inherent common and differential semes. Oppositions between different parts of speech are possible due to their categorical features, e.g. a noun can be opposed to a verb because they both denominate states and qualities (e.g. tenseness - relaxed). The syntagmatic aspect of morphology studies the use of grammatical forms representing different categories in context. One form of a grammatical opposition may perform the function of the other: the form of the present simple tense can express future actions or actions in the past. The loss of differential features by members of categorical oppositions is known as the oppositional reduction or neutralization. There is also an opposite phenomenon when these different features become more distinct in speech than they are in the system of the language. In this case, both members of an opposition are used in one and the same sentence realizing the principle of contrast, i.e. grammatical contrast. They can also be treated as grammatical antonyms which are subdivided into a few types. Oppositions of primary time (past simple - present simple) express the contrast of the situation in the past to the present situation: He said, “My name is John” instead of “My name was John”. Oppositions of secondary time (future - non-future) which express the contrast of the hypothetical situation in the future to the real present or past situation: You will be happy. - I am happy. Oppositions of active and passive voice which express the contrast of different directions of the action expressed by the same verb, i.e. from the subject or on the subject: Destroy or be destroyed. Oppositions of direct and subjunctive moods which express either the contrast of imaginary and real actions or the contrast of a supposition and a real action: So he climbed the steps. - Had he climbed the steps ...he would have slipped closer to the steps (Boeva, 2001). 4. Textual oppositions In the present study semantic and grammatical oppositions serve as the basis for the suggested typology of textual oppositions. English folktale texts have been chosen as the research material. The analysis of the texts represented in the collection of English Fairy Tales edited by J. Jacobs allowed us to single out three main types of oppositions. The first type of oppositions concerns the contrast between the spatial images of the real and the magic worlds. The oppositions can be “vertical” (the oppositions between the earth and the sky or the earth and the underworld) or “horizontal” (the oppositions of the “friend-or-foe” type). A vertical opposition is found in the folktale “Jack and the Beanstalk” by contrasting the earth and the sky as the places where the action is set, while the beanstalk acts as a border line or a mediator connecting the members of the opposition: “...the beans his mother had thrown out ...into the garden, had sprung up into a big beanstalk which went up and up and up till it reached the sky” (Jacobs, 2015: 62). A horizontal opposition is realized by the spatial images of water bodies, mountains, forests as places inhabited by evil spirits and foes which are contrasted with the image of home as a friendly and familiar place. In this way, Burd Ellen, a character of the folktale “Childe Rowland”, disappears from home after she sets out in search of a ball: “Burd Ellen round about the aisle, To seek the ball is gone, But long they waited, and longer still, And she came not back again. They sought her east, they sought her west, They sought her up and down, And woe were the hearts of those brethren, For she was not to be found” [Ibidem, 2015:117-118). Burd Ellen’s brothers visit Warlock Merlin in his cave and head for Elfland in search of their sister and perish one by one except for the youngest Childe Rowland, who defeats the King of Elfland, disenchanted his sister and brought his brothers back to life. The Dark Tower of the King of Elfland, the place of Burd Ellen’s captivity, is contrasted with the image of home: “...and they all four passed out of the hall, through the long passage, and turned their back on the Dark Tower, never to return again. So they reached home, and the good queen their mother” (Ibidem, 2015:124). The second type of oppositions in folktales is represented by the characters contrasted on the basis of their individual, family, social, spatial and functional features. The individual status of a character is represented by the oppositions of natural/supernatural, male/female, kind/evil, live/dead, strong/weak, old/young, wise/stupid, beautiful/ ugly, etc. The family status is shown by means of the oppositions of blood relationship / not blood relationship, a spouse / not a spouse, elder/younger. The social status is demonstrated by opposing a master / s servant, rich/poor, noble/commoner. The spatial features help to localize the character as staying at home / travelling on a mission, in a friendly environment / in a hostile environment, isolated / not isolated. The functions of a character are defined by the oppositions of action/inaction, physical activity / mental activity, destruction / reconstruction. Each character of a folktale possesses a number of features and can be opposed on the basis of different parameters. Thus, the stepdaughter in the folktale “The Rose-Tree” is opposed to the stepmother on the basis of individual features (kind/evil; beautiful/ugly), family relations (blood relationship / not blood relationship), spatial features (a loving and friendly environment created by her deceased mother and good father / a hostile and unfriendly environment created by the wicked stepmother) and functional features (the wicked stepmother kills the stepdaughter - destruction / the resurrected stepdaughter avenges herself - reconstruction). The contrast between the characters is intensified by the description of the girl’s beauty as the main reason for her stepmother’s hatred: “Her hair was like golden silk, and it hung to the ground. Her brother loved her dearly, but her wicked stepmother hated her... Then the stepmother hated her more for the beauty of her hair” [Jacobs, 2015:15-16). The stepdaughter’s soul turns into a white bird which perches itself on a rose-tree and sings a beautiful song. The polar attitude of the girl’s family members towards her is expressed by antonyms: “My wicked mother slew me, My dear father ate me, My little brother whom I love Sits below, and I sing above Stick, stock, stone dead” (Ibidem, 2015:17). The bird presents the brother with a pair of red shoes, the father gets a gold watch and a chain, and the wicked stepmother steps outside hoping for a present and the bird drops a millstone on her head. It is necessary to note that one and the same character may perform different functional roles either doing good or doing harm to the other characters which proves its ambivalent nature and shows the contradiction within the character. The ogre’s wife in “Jack and the Beanstalk” helps Jack to escape her husband on two occasions by persuading the ogre that he smelt the little boy she had cooked earlier: “How forgetful I am, and how careless you are not to know the difference between live and dead after all these years” (Ibidem, 2015:66). Later on, she helps her husband to find Jack by showing him the hideaway. Such ambivalent characters can be included in three-term oppositional constructs because they occupy the neutral position of either an assistant or a saboteur while the protagonist and the antagonist are wide asunder as pole and pole. The contrast can be expressed by opposing the character’s external features. Cap o’Rushes gets her name after the pile of rushes she collects in a fen and uses to cover her fine clothes. She washes the pots, scrapes the saucepans and does all the dirty housework in the house where she serves. When nobody sees her, she gets changed, goes to a ball and wins the heart of her masters’ son who is impressed by her beauty and good nature: “And she offed with her cap o’rushes, and there she was in her beautiful clothes” (Jacobs, 2015:55). She puts on the cape o’rushes and hides “her fine clothes” which make her “the beautifullest lady you ever see” (Ibidem, 2015: 52-53). The third type of oppositions is represented by contrasting the beginning and the ending of a folktale. The plot of a folktale develops starting with an unfortunate situation and leading to a happy end. The father turns Cap o’Rushes from house and home because of her answer: “How much do you love me, my dear?” - “Why, I love you as fresh meat loves salt,” says she. ... “You don’t love me at all,” says he, “and in my house you stay no more” (Ibidem, 2015: 52). At the end of the tale the father is invited to his daughter’s wedding where all the served dishes are tasteless, he realizes his mistake and bursts out crying: “I had a daughter. And I asked her how much she loved me. And she said “As much as fresh meat loves salt.” And I turned her from my door, for I thought she didn’t love me. And now I see she loved me best of all” (Ibidem, 2015:56). The opposed affirmative and negative forms love / don’t love and didn’t love / loved are intensified by the additional contextual opposition of not at all / best of all. Cap o’Rushes unmasks herself, becomes reconciled with her father and they are all happy ever after. Thus, the unfortunate beginning is contrasted with the happy ending. Examples of quite the contrary can be mentioned too. For instance, the folktale “Binnorie” starts with a happy occasion of matchmaking: “Once upon a time there were two king’s daughters... near the bonny milldams of Binnorie. And Sir William came wooing the eldest and won her love, and plighted troth with glove and with ring” (Ibidem, 2015:44). But some time later the happy occasion turns into a family tragedy: “he looked upon the youngest, with her cherry cheeks and golden hair, and his love went out to her till he cared no longer for the eldest one” (Ibidem, 2015:44). The deserted elder sister drowns the younger one in the millstream of Binnorie and comes back to the castle to marry Sir William. The remains of the young princess are found by a harper and turned into a beautiful new harp. Once he arrives at the castle and the whole court gets together to listen to him, the truth comes to light: “And first the harper sang to his old harp, making them joy and be glad, or sorrow and weep just as he liked. But while he sang he put the harp he had made that day on a stone in the hall. And presently it began to sing by itself, low and clear...And this was what the harp sung: “O yonder sits my father, the king, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And yonder sits my mother, the queen... And yonder stands my brother Hugh... And by him, my William, false and true... And here sits my sister who drowned me...” (Jacobs, 2015:46-47). The contrast is created not only by means of both the stable and the occasional semantic oppositions of first / presently, old harp / the harp made that day, joy / sorrow, be glad / weep, false / true, but also by means of the opposition of the individual features of the character (a living princess / an anthropomorphous object). The song begins “low and clear” and finishes “loud and clear” as the harp “snapped and broke, and never sang more” (Ibidem, 2015:47). In this way, the happy beginning is contrasted with the unfortunate ending. 5. Conclusion Units of each tier of the language system are interconnected, and this interconnection is largely due to their identity or non-identity. The undertaken analysis proves the crucial role of the text in the manifestation of the essential features and meanings of semantic and grammatical opposites. Various types of oppositeness can be arranged in a hierarchical structure with the semantic and grammatical oppositions as the basis for three types of textual oppositions: the oppositions between the spatial images inherent to the real and the magic worlds, the oppositions between the characters depending on their individual, family, social, spatial and functional features, and the oppositions within the characters (the contrasted genuine and fake appearance or the contrasted appearance and moral virtues) and the oppositions between the beginning and the ending of a folktale. The phenomenon of the opposition should be seen in close connection with the phenomenon of neutralization which leads to the loss of differential features by the opposite members and can be found not only on the phonological and semantic levels, but also on the textual level in the form of tricksters - ambivalent characters performing contrary functions depending on the particular situation. © Natalya V. Solovyeva, 2016

Nataliya Vladimirovna Solovyeva

Moscow Region State University

Email: natavs@list.ru
Perevedenovsky Side-Street, 5/7, 105082, Moscow, Russia

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