Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- Direct and figurative meanings of adjectives in Antonia Susan Bayette's novel «Possession»

Чешский научный и практический журнал
Filologické vědomosti. - 2020. - № 2

Direct and figurative meanings of adjectives in Antonia Susan Bayette's novel «Possession»

N. P. Tsikota, Assistant Lecturer,

e-mail: nadezhda.tsikoto@gmail.com,

Belarusian State Pedagogical University,

Minsk, Belarus


Any person gives an objective and subjective assessment of their feelings and sensations being in direct contact with the surrounding world. Perceptual images of objects’ signs are formed in the consciousness of a person based on the work of his or her senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. The process resulted in the understanding of both the environment and the human inner world can be called sensory perception. According to Y. Apresyan, the main amount of information comes through the visual perception channel, much less through other organs: hearing, smell, touch, taste, which means that the most important type of perception for a person is visual [1, p. 39]

Without any doubt, most of the information (at least 80 %) we get due to our ability to see the world around us, our hearing rate is 15 %, the remaining 5 % share tactile, olfactory and taste sensations.

The language has a broad vocabulary with the meaning of visual perception. Visual perception is the ability to interpret the information that a person receives through the eyes. It includes the names of all light and darkness phenomena (bright, gloomy...), color (black, white, olive...), shape (rectangular, round...), movement (fly, jump...) and other external characteristics of objects and phenomena. In order to describe, characterize, and evaluate an object or phenomenon, we use a large number of adjectives in speech, in particular adjectives of color.

The use of adjectives denoting colors in speech contributes to a deeper expression of various relationships, problems, and questions.

Color adjectives in their explicit nominative meaning express a static object characteristic, in this case they are directly perceptual characteristics of the object of reality. When color adjectives are used in their original meaning, they indicate the maximum presence of the attribute. For example, blacker than soot brooch/ брошь цветом чернее сажи; white teeth/белые зубы; torn green leaves/ сорванные зеленые листья; blue cornflowers/ ярко-синие блаватки [2; 3].

The amount of adjectives denoting colors is increasing due to the word-forming capabilities of the language and semantic transformations of relative adjectives. Additional colors are either associative or descriptive. For example,

pillows in emerald green cotton cases/ подушечки в хлопчатобумажных наволочках изумрудного цвета; milk-white feather /млечное белое перышко; on a cabbage-green ground/ на капустно-зеленом фоне; on an apple-green chair/ на яблочно-зеленом стуле; now she was wine-red / румянец Мод стал совсем пунцовым; One cheek moved in and out of a pool of grape-violet as she worked – Склоняясь над записями, она то и дело погружалась щекой в виноградную лиловость [2; 3].

Color adjectives can be used not only in the direct («color»), but also in a figurative meaning, when describing socio-political and cultural phenomena, various spheres of life. Writers show us the world filled with magnificent and ruthless events when they use imaginative and expressive vocabulary of sensory perception in their works of art. In this case, readers have the opportunity to look at these events in a different way, to experience special feelings.

Let's consider implicit meanings of the adjectives white, black, red, grey, green that we’ve found in Antonia Susan Bayette's novel "Possession".

the adjective «white», which denotes white color: «pale, light» − white face/ бледное лицо; «denoting or relating to a white person or white people» − my white lady/ моя белая госпожа; «a minor or unimportant, in the interests of tact or politeness» − a small white lie/невинная маленькая ложь.

the adjective «black», which denotes black color: «relating to a race of people with dark skins» − black wardress/черная охранница; «dark color» − black obsidian pool/черный, словно обсидиановый, водоем; «gloomy» − black trees/ мрачные деревья; «very bad indeed» − black day/ черный день; «burden» −the black weight /черная ноша; «cruel or wicked» − black magic/ злой волшебник.

the adjective «red», which denotes red color: «ruddy, rosy» − Jeanne was quite red with whirling and twirling/ невеста вся от танцев, от круженья раскраснелась-разрумянилась; «angry» − a great grey dog with red eyes/ пепельно-серый пес – глаза красные.

the adjective «grey» which denotes grey color: «dark and gloomy» − in wet autumn slate-grey sky lay like another box against its repeating panes/ сонными осенними вечерами за многочисленными окнами серело грифельное небо, точно стеклянный ящик поместили в другой ящик; «hair that has become grey or white, usually because of age» − grey hair/ седые волосы; «indifferent» − grey voice/ блеклый голос.

the adjective «green», which denotes green color: «inexperienced» − when I was very young and green/ я был тогда молод и зелен; «smell of grass and leaves» − a green smell, a smell of shredded leaves and oozing resin/ зеленый запах искромсанной листвы и растительных брызг; «unfading, everlasting» − green memory/ неувядаемая память [2; 3; 4].

The active use of color and color adjectives in various spheres of human activity is reflected in the constant development of the color category in the language, it expands its boundaries and areas of use. It is worth saying that we can express very deep and complex relationships and describe various aspects of our life through color words. All objects are colored with certain colors in the surrounding world, so there is a great need to use color vocabulary. It is obvious that color adjectives make our speech more emotional. Adjectives of color that are used in implicit and figurative meanings are characterized by evaluative component, and this evaluation may vary in different languages. In the process of communication, people express their own opinions about the subject, make all sorts of comments on phenomena. The vocabulary of color identification is irreplaceable in creating bright visual pictures that vividly illustrate human feelings and actions, the events of the world around them.


  1. Апресян Ю. Д. Избранные труды. – 2.изд., испр. и доп. – М. : Школа «Языки рус. Культуры», 1995. – (Язык). Т.1: Лексическая семантика: синонимические средства языка. – 472с.
  2. Байетт А. С. Обладать: романтический роман / пер. с англ. В. Ланчикова, Д. Псурцева. – СПб. : Азбука, Азбука-Аттикус, 2019. – 800 с.
  3. Byatt A. S. (Antonia Susan). Possession // Random House. – New York, 1990.
  4. Collins Dictionary [Электронный ресурс]. – Режим доступа:https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/. – Дата доступа: 25.03.2020.
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