Stylistics, sometimes called linguo-stylistics, is a branch of general linguistics.
Each functional style is subdivided into a number of substyles. These represent varieties of the abstract invariant. Each variety has basic features common to all the varieties of the given functional style and peculiar features typical of this variety alone. Still a substyle can, in some cases, deviate so far from the invariant that in its extreme it may even break away.
The Belles-Lettres Style has the following substyles:
the language style of poetry
The publicistic style:
feature articles in newspaper and journals
The newspaper style:
brief news items and communiqués
notices and advertisements
The scientific prose style:
popular scientific prose
The official documents style:
This classification is by no means arbitrary. Other schemes may possibly be elaborated and highlighted by different approaches to the functional style.
Some stylists consider that newspaper articles should be classed under the newspaper style, not under the language of publicistic literature.
Any classification should lead to some kind of simplification of the facts classified, because items are considered in isolation. When analyzing concrete texts, we discover that the boundaries between them sometimes become less and less discernible.
Types of stylistics.
We can distinguish three types depending on the angle of studies:
stylistics of the author (encoder)
stylistics of the reader (decoding stylistics)
stylistics of the text
Based on the concept of appropriateness
Functional Stylistics (Galperin) – choice of manner to meet the requirements of the matter
“A proper word in a proper place” (J.Swift)
Lingua-Stylistics (Ch.Bally) – focused on the synonymic potential of the language.
Internal stylistics study only the resources of the language
External (comparative) stylistics aims at establishing the adequacy of presenting the same content in a different language.
Galperin I.R. “The study of the nature, structure of stylistic devices, on the one hand, and on the other the study of each style of language”
LEVEL Stylistics (Benveniste, 1962): structural hierarchy of language levels – phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactical (expressive syntax) and the level of the text.
Literary stylistics – a branch of the theory of literature: studies linguistic features of literary trends, genres and individual style.
Difference: Linguostylics is a branch of linguistics
Literary stylistics is a branch of theory of literature
Applied stylistics studies contextually distinctive variations of the language, interdisciplinary, particular reference to style as a linguistic phenomenon of both literary and non-literary texts.
The text is the field of investigation
Practical stylistics is proceeding from the norms of language usage of a given period and teaching these norms to language speakers, especially he ones dealing with language professionally (editors, publishers, writers, journalists, teachers etc.)
Functional stylistics, which became and remains international, deals with sets of language units of all levels of language hierarchy serving to accommodate the needs of certain typified communicative situation.
Functional stylistics deals with all the subdivisions all the language and all its possible usages – it’s the most global trend in style study.
Sociolinguistics and Stylistics.
Sociolinguistics studies relation between language and society:
social structure can INFLUENCE language (rules of conversation, PC language, etc.)
no relation between Language and Society
Language fulfills regulatory function
L is a means of cultural and national identity
L consists of VARIETIES ("Social man” MAC Halliday)
! Study of Language in relation to Society – Sociolinguistics
! Study of Society in relation to Language – Sociology of the Language
Come close together: stylistics studies also varieties of the language but in the context of personal features
Language is a means of personal characterization
Rhetorics and Stylistics.
Rhetorics is the faculty of discovering the means of persuasion, the art of effective speech.
method of speech optimization
art of persuasion
art of fiction (the same object with stylistics – TEXT acc. To Jacobson)
Aristotle: the orator has to consider three things
The means of persuasion are classified in 3 categories:
Ethos – personal image, charisma, stance (position); speech, appearance, voice, grooming (neat), not what one believes in, but how it might be firm or indecisive, rigid or flexible
Pathos – through the arousal of emotions – reflects the persuader’s need to arouse emotions of appropriate intensity, clarity, sharpness or focus
Ethos became the foundation of the new technology of image making
How to manipulate crowds
e.g. Bush tried to convince that they establish the democracy in Iran
Logos – reasoning, argumentation and subsequent evaluation of the argument – cause and effect model
Corresponds to 3 structural principles
putting the listener into a certain frame of mind
the speech itself when we establish the true or apparently true
The Neo-Aristotelian method of speech based on these categories of logical, emotional, ethical appeals dominated the 20th century
Text has pathos and logos if not ethos
Rhetorics regards speech as a communication to a specific audience, deals with the oratorical method of imparting his/her ideas
The concept of norm in stylistics.
The norm is the invariant of the phonemic, morphological, lexical and syntactical patterns circulating in language-in-action at a given period of time.
Variants of these patterns may sometimes diverge from invariant, but they never exceed the limits set by the invariant lest it should become unrecognizable or misleading.
Norm is a set of rules and restraints. Norm is a psychological and social phenomenon (not only a system of signs)
A.E.Darbyshire: “The norm is a linguistic abstraction, an idea thought up by linguists and existing only in their minds”.
Norm can become less rigid. Basic to all rules are grammar rules.
The notion of norm always presupposes a recognized or received standard. There is no universally accepted norm of the standard literary language. There are different norms.
The norm is regarded by some linguists as “a regulator which controls a set of variants, the border of variations and also admissible and inadmissible variants” (E.A.Makayev)
One of the most essential characteristics of the norm is its flexibility. A too rigorous adherence to the norm brands the writer’s language as pedantic, no matter whether it is a question of speech or writing. To draw a line of demarcation between facts that illustrate the flexibility of the norm and those which show its violation is not so easy. Some people think that one has t possess what is called a “feeling for the language”. It is deeply rooted in the unconscious knowledge of the laws according to which a language functions.
Deviation of the norm.
Deviation is a stylistic means – it compels attention: for an element to be noticed it has either to be REPEATED or UNPREDICTABLE
Deviation is a symbol. In stylistics it is important to know how to create a certain effect
Function of stylistic means is to DRAW ATTENTION. The chain of predictability should be broken.
Some deviations, if they are motivated, may occur here and there in the text. Through constant repetitions such deviations may become legitimate variants of the norm and establish themselves as members of a language system.
One of the most characteristic and essential properties of the norm is its flexibility. The extremes are apparent, but border cases are blurred. Thus, “footsteps on the sand of war” (E.E.Cummings) or “below a time” are clearly violations of the accepted norms of word-building or word-combinations.
But “silent thunder”, “the ors and ifs” and the like may from one point of view be regarded as a practical application of the principle of flexibility of the norm and from another – as a violation of the semantic and morphological norms of the English language.
There is a constant process of gradual change taking place in the forms of language and their meaning at any given period of time.
Variation of the norm. Hierarchy.
The problem of norm has many solutions and aspects. The most important is the RELATIVE and PROBABILISTIC nature of the norm, as a deviation from one norm can correspond to a norm of secondary order: the presence of a deviation is identified on the basis of probabilistic prognosis
The linguistic competence can be defeated in a qualitative or quantitative way.
e.g. Those eyes the greenest of things blue
The bluest of things grey (Swingburn)
The superlative degree, the exclamatory sentences; the repetition
Hierarchy of norms:
Standard (national standard) English [literary written] is more strict; Genre-normes
Modified standard (pronunciation) – former British colonies where the British somehow modified the pronunciation
Regional varieties (Am., Australian, New Zealand, Indian Englishes), Estuary English is a bit simpler than BBC English – peculiarities at all language levels. National norm with specific features at all levels.
Local Dialects (Cockney) working class
Charles Dickens “Pickwick Club” – servant who speaks Cockney. A lot of grammar violations.
Functional (acc. to the subject matter, situation of communication)
written or oral
text norm – each text creates its variations acc. to USER or USE
Language fulfills different functions to meet various needs. There are different classifications according to the purpose of communication (function). No uniform classification
Main “apples of discord” are: The style of fiction (I.R.Galperin) and neutral style (I.V.Arnold). Neutral style is an abstraction, a kind of background.
The Prague School:
- bookish (poetic style, style of scientific prose, official style)
- Belles-Letres Style [corresponds to the style of fiction] (poetry, emotive prose, drama)
- Publicist style (oratory and public speeches, essays)
- Scientific prose
- Official documents
- Newspaper style
Thesis: function styles theory is a historical category. In the 18th century there were very few newspapers. The appearance of Newspaper style reflects the essays style. Some styles merge.
A functional style of a language is a system of interrelated language means which serves a definite aim in communication.
Stratification of vocabulary.
The English vocabulary could be classified from a stylistic point of view. Words that are preferably used in one functional style are said to have a stylistic reference (connotation). Words can be grouped together on the basis of their common stylistic reference:
suitable for literary and colloquial
on the border-line
Three main layers: - the literary
Neutral words, which form the bulk of the English vocabulary, are used both in literary and colloquial language. Neutral words are the main source of synonymy and polysemy. The most neutral words are of monosyllabic character. This phenomenon has led to the development of conversion as the most productive means of word-building.
Common literary words are chiefly used in writing and in polished speech. One can always tell a literary word from a colloquial
Coll. Neut. Lit.
Kid child infant
Daddy father parent
Chap fellow associate
Get out go away retire
Go on continue proceed
It goes without saying that these synonyms are not only stylistic but ideographic as well. The main distinction between synonyms remains stylistic. Colloquial words are always more emotionally coloured than literary ones.
Both literary and colloquial words have upper and lower level. The line of demarcation between common literary and neutral and between common colloquial and neutral on the other side are blurred. The process of interpenetration of the stylistic strata becomes HERE most apparent.
The neutral vocabulary may be viewed as the invariant of the Standard English vocabulary. Common colloquial vocabulary is a part of Standard English.
The stylistic function of the different strata of the E vocabulary depends not so much on the inner qualities of each of the groups, as on their interaction when they are opposed to one another. Certain set expressions have been coined within literary English and their use in ordinary speech will inevitably make the utterance sound bookish. In accordance with, with regard to, to speak at great length, to lend assistance, to draw a lesson
Special literary vocabulary:
poetic and high literary words (are called upon to sustain the special elevated atmosphere of poetry)
Archaic, Obsolescent and Obsolete words
Barbarisms (words of foreign origin which have not entirely been assimilated into the English Language) and Foreignisms
Special Colloquial vocabulary:
slang – the special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character; language of a low vulgar type
jargonisms (old words with entirely new meanings imposed on them)
Sound instrumenting will mostly apply to poetry, where RHYME and RHYTHM are very important.
Two major types of effect:
euphony (pleasing sounding)
Onomatopoeia – is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder), by things (machines or tools), by people (singing, laughter) and by animals. Combination of speech sounds of this type will inevitably be associated with whatever produces the natural sound. The relation between onomatopoeia and phenomenon it is supposed to represent is one of metonymy.
Direct onomatopoeia is contained in words that imitate natural sounds as ding-dong, buzz, bang, cuckoo, mew, roar, ping-pong and the like.
! These words have different degrees of imitative quality. Some of them immediately bring to mind whatever it is that produces the sound. Others require the exercise of a certain amount of imagination to decipher it.
Indirect onomatopoeia is a combination of sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of utterance an echo of its sense. Sometimes called “echo-writing”. I.O. unlike alliteration demands some mention of what makes the sound. Sometimes IO is very effectively used by repeating words which themselves are not onomatopoeic, as in Poe’s poem “The Bells”
Alliteration – a phonetic stylistic device which aims at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance. The essence of it lies in the repetition of similar sounds, in particular consonant sounds in close succession, particularly at the beginning of successive words. Certain sounds, if repeated, can produce an effect that can be specified. For example, [m] creates a somnolent effect. Alliteration is generally regarded as a musical accompaniment of the author’s idea, supporting it with some vague emotional atmosphere which each reader interprets for himself.
Sometimes a competent reader may grow irritated if it’s overdone.
Alliteration is deeply rooted in the traditions of English folklore.
Alliteration is sometimes called the initial rhyme. It is frequently used as a well-tested means not only in verse, but in emotive prose, in newspaper headlines, in the titles of books, in proverbs and sayings:
e.g. blind as a bat, betwixt and between; to rob Peter to pay Paul
“Sense and Sensibility”, “Pride and Prejudice” (Jane Austin), “The School for Scandal” (Sheridan)
Rhyme – the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words.
Assonance – the repetition of similar vowels, usually in stressed syllables.
Graphon – the intentional violation of the graphical shape of a word (or word combination) used to reflect its authentic pronunciation.
Graphon proved to be an extremely concise but effective means of supplying information about the speaker’s origin, social and educational background, physical and emotional condition etc.
Graphon, thus, individualizing the character’s speech, adds to his plausibility, vividness, memorability. At the same time graphon is very good at conveying the atmosphere of authentic live communication, of the informality of speech act. Some amalgamated forms, which are the result of strong assimilation, became clichés in contemporary prose dialogue: “gimme” (give me), “lemme” (let me), “gonna” (going to), “gotta” (got to), “coupla” (couple of), “mighta” (might have). The flavour of informality brought graphon popularity with admen. On the other hand, graphon shows the physical defects of the speaker – the stuttering, the lisping
The Expressive means of a language are those phonetic, morphological, word-building, lexical, phraseological and syntactical forms which exist in language-as-a-system for the purpose of logical and/or emotional intensification of the utterance.
In linguistics there are different terms to denote particular means by which utterances are foregrounded, i.e. made more conspicuous, more effective and therefore imparting some additional information. They are called expressive means, stylistic means, stylistic markers, stylistic devices, tropes, figures of speech and other names. All these terms are used indiscriminately and are set against those means which we call conventionally neutral.
Stylistic meanings are so to say de-automatized. The process of automatization (a speedy and subconscious use of language data) is one of the indispensable ways of making communication easy and quickly decodable.
But when a stylistic meaning is involved, the process of de-automatization checks the reader’s perception of the language. His attention is arrested by a peculiar use of language media and he begins to decipher it. In some case it is so marked that presents no difficulty, but sometimes hardly noticeable forms may be difficult to decode.
EM wrought by social usage and recognized by their semantic function, have been singled out in grammars, courses in phonetics and dictionaries as having special functions in making the utterances emphatic. Some of them are normalized and good dictionaries name them as “intensifiers”. In most cases they have corresponding neutral synonymous form.
The most powerful EM of any language are phonetic. The human voice can indicate subtle nuances of meaning that no other means can attain. Pitch, melody, stress, pausation, drawling out certain syllables, whispering, a sing-song manner and other ways of using the voice are much more effective than any other means in intensifying an utterance emotionally or logically. There has appeared a new science – “Para-linguistics” which studies these near-linguistic phenomena.
According to Galperin all vocal peculiarities should be recognized as legitimate members of the phonetic structure of language => the term ‘paralinguistic’ should be done away with
Morphological EMs are now rather impoverished set of media to which the quality of expressiveness can be attributed.
Among the word-building means: a great many forms which serve to make the utterance more expressive by intensifying some properties. The diminutive suffixes –y (-ie), -let.
Certain affixes have gained such a power of expressiveness that they begin functioning as separate words, as example ‘isms and ologies’
Lexical EMs – words which due to their inner expressiveness constitute a special layer. There are words with emotive meaning only (interjections), words which have both referential and emotive meaning (epithets), words which still retain a twofold meaning (love, hate, sympathy). The expressive power of these words cannot be doubled, especially when they are compared with the neutral vocabulary.
Syntactical level: there are many constructions which, when they set against synonymous neutral ones, will reveal a certain degree of logical or emotional emphasis.
In order to be able to distinguish between EM and stylistic devices it is necessary to bear in mind that EM are concrete facts of language. Stylistics studies the EM of language from a special angle. It takes into account the modifications of meanings which various expressive means undergo when they are used in different functional styles.
Stylistic device is a conscious and intentional intestification of some typical structural and/or semantic property of a language unit (neutral or expressive) promoted to a generalized status and thus becoming a generative model. Stylistic device is an abstract pattern, a mould into which any content can be poured.
The interrelation between EMs and SDs can be worded in terms of the theory of information. Expressive means have a greater degree of predictability than stylistic devices.
Individual style is a unique combination of language units, expressive means and stylistic devices peculiar to a given writer, which makes that writer’s works or even utterances easily recognizable.
The term individual style should be applied to that sphere of linguistics and literary science which deals with the peculiarities of a writer’s individual manner of using language means to achieve the effect he desires. Deliberate choice must be distinguished from a habitual idiosyncrasy in the use of language units; every individual has his own manner and habits of using them. The speech of an individual which is characterized by peculiarities typical of that particular individual is called an idiolect. The idiolect should be distinguished from what we call individual style, inasmuch as the word ‘style’ presupposes a deliberate choice.
“Style is a man himself” (Buffon)
When Buffon coined his famous saying which, due to its epigrammatical form, became a by-word all over the world, he had in mind an idiolect, i.e. those qualities of speech which are inherent and which reveal a man’s breeding, education, social standing etc. All these factors are, however, undoubtedly interwoven with individual style. A man’s breeding and education will always affect his turn of mind and therefore will naturally be revealed in his speech and writing. But a writer with genuine individual style will as much as possible avoid those language peculiarities which point to his breeding and education in order to leave room for that deliberate choice of language means which will secure the effect sought.
The individual style of writer is marked by its uniqueness. It can be recognized by specific and peculiar combination of language media and stylistic devices, which in their interaction present a certain system. This system derives its origin from the creative spirit, and though it may seem elusive, it can nevertheless be ascertained. The individual style of a writer will never be entirely independent of the literary norms and canons of the given period.
e.g. the novels by Swift and Fielding have common features to both writers, conditioned by the general literary canons of the period and cannot therefore be neglected. BUT the adaptations of these canons will ALWAYS be PECULIAR and therefore DISTINGUISHABLE.
A.Blok said that the style of a writer is so closely connected with the content of his soul, that the experienced eye can see the soul through his style, and by studying the form penetrate to the depth of the content. => the style of the writer can be ascertained only by analysis of the form, i.e. language media. To analyse the form in order to discover the idiosyncrasies of a writer’s style is not an easy, but a rewarding task.
The individual style of an author is frequently identified with the general, generic term ‘style’. But STYLE is a much broader notion. The individual style is only one of the applications of the general term ‘style’. The analysis of the language is the most important procedure in estimating the Individual style. It is obvious, because writers unwillingly contribute greatly to establish the norms of literary language at a given period.
The essential property of a truly genuine IS is its conformity to the established norms of the language system. This uniqueness is not easy to observe. This is an incomparable manner the elements are combined.
Nowhere can the linguist observe the hidden potentialities of language means more clearly than through a scrupulous analysis of the ways writers use these means. One of the essential properties of a truly individual style is its permanence. It is easily recognized and never loses its aesthetic value. The genuine character of the IS of an author is not necessarily manifest from the tricky or elaborate expression he uses.
IS allow certain justifiable deviations from the rigorous norms. This, needless to say, presupposes a perfect knowledge of the invariants of the norms.
IS requires to be studied in a course of stylistics in so far as it makes use of its potentialities of language means, whatever the character of these potentialities may be. But it goes without saying that each author’s style should be analysed separately, which is naturally impossible in a book on general stylistics.
Selection, or deliberate choice of language, and the ways the chosen elements are treated are the main distinctive features of individual style.
The theory of Foregrounding.
The idea 1st appeared in the Prague School – was called “deautomatization” of the linguistic code.
P.L.Garvin “a stimulus not culturally expected and hence, capable of provoking special attention”
MAC Halliday (US semasiologist): “motivated prominence”
G.Leech: emphasized the idea of deviation from the code. There is always some background. We emphasize some elements by putting them to the FORE
The process of decoding is stopped. In decoding stylistics: foregrounding comprises both additional regularities and irregularities.
Foregrounding is a special contextual organisation. It depends on high predictability in a uniform context, which creates a background for an unpredictable element.
Not only the dichotomy: predictable/unpredictable, there are several other recognizable principles of artistic expression:
Foregrounding establishes the hierarchy of meanings, themes, bringing some to the fore, and shifting others to the background: enables to steer between the twin rocks of intuition and objectivity.
provide structural cohesion between the whole and its elements
enhance emotional involvement, provide memorability
protect the message from “noise” – misunderstanding
Types of foregrounding:
Stylistic devices and tropes are the “building elements” of foregrounding => FG is more comprehensive than they.
One of the least studied ways of making the most important things stand out most effectively
The title, the prologue, the epigraph, the opening lines, the end – their great informative value is determined by psychological factors
Title: Function – starts a chain of expectations (reader’s prognosis)
points to message (directly or indirectly) “Vanity Fair” – false aspirations
focuses on the main character: “Martin Eden”, “David Copperfield” or in a more complicated way – in metonymic or metaphorical way: “Sense and Sensibility”
generalized description of several characters: “Sons and Lovers”, “Women in Love”
gives prominence to the scene of action: “The Hotel”, “The Airport”, “The Corridor of Power”
Coupling – semantically relevant appearance of equivalent elements in equivalent position S.Levin)
An element receives prominence due to an interruption in the pattern of predictability
Expectation can be built only on some predictability (NORM)
Mostly characteristic of humour and satire (grotesque)
Defeated expectancy results from a glaring discrepancy between the logical expectations
The preoccupation of gourmet with good food is psychological. Just as the preoccupation of White Russians with Dark Eyes is BALALAIKOLOGICAL (Ogden Nash)
Parallel constructions create predictability
Regional variety – written literary norm
Factors defining regional variety:
Geographical. North America appeared as British colony (New England). The development of Am Br English is more conservative as revolutionary and t preserves some of the original features
Political. The country is populated with various people – various mother tongues contributed and mixed in Am E. Am E bears so many traces of various ethnicities – borrowings. GB – insular mentality – preserving Englishness.
Social. Coz of the abovementioned reasons it has to be more democratic to assimilate various social layers it was more flexible and less rigid than Standard English.
Economical refugees came to Am. Those people can hardly mastered the literary norm – only survival English or broken
Ethnic. The continent was cut off from Britain
Am E is not homogeneous. There are three varieties:
the Northern – 1st populated (the former colony – New England)
the Southern (associated with slave owners and the division was very sharp)
the others (local dialects) Western, Eastern etc. with distinct pronunciation peculiarities
“r” is pronounced
Fast, Grass [æ]
Either, neither [ı:]
Tomato [eı] democratic tendencies
Vitamin, automobile [aı]
dinner jacket tuxedo
Am got – gotten
Wake – waked (vs. woke)
On the street through Friday
To fill IN (Br) – to fill OUT (Am)