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The Litotes in the Speech Genre of a Life-talk

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The article deals with the functioning of the litotes in the Russian life-talk. The author discusses the term “litotes”, adduces different points of view on this term are, and offers the conclusion that, firstly, the main feature of the litotes is the obvious diminishment of some property, action or force, and secondly, in everyday conversation the litotes is the ideal device opposed to the hyperbole. The article presents the classification of the litotes based the manner of its expression. Litotes are divided into lexical, phraseological, those “with double negation”, metaphorical and structural ones. The latter are subdivided into those with the suffix (with suffix -OVAT-) and those with the prefix, including verbs with prefix PRI- and verbs with prefix POD-. The material is illustrated by samples of colloquial speech. Verb litotes are compared with the litotes in literary styles, it is marked that verbs with prefix PRI- constitute the majority of the litotes. The author defines illocutionary functions of the litotes important for the everyday conversation: softening of demands, occasional words and comical effect. This viewpoint explains the frequent use of the verbal litotes with prefix POD- in colloquial discourse. The analysis of the litotes helps clear out the dynamic nature of the lifetalk genre within the colloquial discourse.

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