Stylistics – Theoretical issues of stylistics

October 6th, 20107:00 am


Stylistics – Theoretical issues of stylistics

Stylistics – Theoretical issues of stylistics.

1. Stylistics as a linguistic science
2. Types of stylistics
3. Lingvo-stylistics its objects, subjects and relations to cognate disciplines
4. Basic notions of stylistics

The term style originated from the Greek “stylos” and Latin “stulys”, meaning a pointed stick sharp at one end and flat on the other, used for waxing plates.

Stylistics is a branch of linguistics. All linguistic disciplines study specific subsistence – that is the totality of units of different language levels and those relations that exist between these units or their classes (phonemes, morphemes. syntaxemes. lexemes).

Stylistics differs from other linguistic disciplines in several aspects:

1) it deals with the units on all language levels
2) it investigates these units from the functional point of view

The term stylistics is a broad notion. Most linguists define such major types of stylistics, such as: lingvo-stylistics, literary stylistics, applied stylistics, contrastive stylistics.

Lingvo-stylistics is a science of functional styles (f.s.) and the expressive potential of a language.

Literary stylistics investigates distinctive features of different literary trends and genres, individual styles of different authors and extra-linguistic factors, which help to shape them, literary norms of a given period, as well as stylistic and aesthetic evaluation of the works of men of letters (writers).

Literary stylistics is not homogeneous (it is heterogeneous). In accordance with ultimate analysis of three underlying factors of literary stylistics are distinguished:

1) If the aim of stylistic analysis is to bring out the writer’s intention, it is called stylistics by the author, or generic stylistics. Such stylistic analysis normally proceeds from the study of non-textual reality (extra-linguistic reality). That is the writer’s biographical, social, economical and political factors, which in direct or indirect way shaped the views of the author and the peculiarities of his creative work.

Generic analytics is represented by a number of schools and trends, such as:

logical analytics
– psychological analytics
– ect.

2) If the focal point of stylistic analysis is the reader’s comprehension of the words of imaginative literature it is called stylistics by the reader or stylistics of perception. This type is also represented by a number of trends – the linguistics by L.V Shcherba, M. Riffater and the stylistics of decoding elaborated by I.V. Arnold.

In terms of information theory the author’s style may be named the stylistics of encode – the language being viewed as the code to shape the information into the message and the supplier of information respectively, the author is the encoder (addresser). The audience in this case plays the part of the decoder of the information contained in the message and the problem connected with the adequate reception of the message without any information loses and deformation that is with adequate decoding other concern of decoding stylistics.

Applied stylistics focuses on the study of contextually different varieties of language especially with reference to the style of literary and non-literary texts.

Contrastive stylistics investigates stylistic systems of two or more languages in comparison. Stylistics proceeding from the norms of language usage at the given period of time and teaching these norms to language speakers especially to the ones dealing with the language professionally (editors, publishers, writers, journalists, teachers, ect.). is called practical stylistics. The origin of lingvo stylistics is associated with the French linguist Charles Bally. According to his views, he defines stylistics as a science, which aims at describing all devices which serve expensiveness.

According to Alex Morokowskiy (Ukrainian linguist) in the most general way the object of style may be defined.

The communicative and nominative resources of the language system, the principles of the selection and uses of language means for transmitting information, thoughts, felling and emotions with the aim of achieving definite pragmatic results in different spheres of human verbal communication.

Accordingly we may specify the subject of stylistics as two functional styles of language (f.s.), on the other is the expressive means and style devices.

It is common knowledge that the richness and the emotive dynamic force of any language is directly connected with the subjective skills of using the potential of linguistic units. English like any other language has its own stylistic traits and the stylistic devices widely current to serve different purposes in acts of communication.

The representatives of psychological Prague school of linguists (Матезіус, Бачек, Хавранек) and others focused their adequate functioning as the crucial linguistic factor. Thus, they laid the foundation of functional stylistics, which has become acknowledged scientific discipline.

In terms of functional stylistics the literary standard of the English language, like that of any other language is not a homogeneous phenomenon. In the course of its historical development the standards of English literary language has fallen into several sub-systems, which has its own peculiarities. Different kinds of actual human verbal communication find their immediate linguistic expression on the phonetic, morphological, syntactical and lexico-semantical levels. The above mentioned sub-sequence may be called functional levels of language.

We shall follow the understanding of functional style formulated by I.R. Galperin and acknowledged by Kucharenko.

Functional style may be perceived as a system of coordinated, inter-related and inter-conditioned language means intended to fulfill a specific function of communication aiming at a definite effect and characterized by common functional and communicative areas of usage.

Each functional style makes a deliberate choice and use of certain language means and stylistic devices, the proper combination of which shapes it as an independent hope, a system having its specific distinctive feature, by which it can be recognized, i.e. – the basic stylistic maker of the scientific pro-style is special terminology. Each function statement is a relatively stable system at the given period of time in the development of thought it is liable to historical changes as any other social phenomenon.

Within English literary language a number of functional styles may be distinguished. To them belong – the scientific prose style, the publicistic style, the newspaper style, the belles-lettres style (or belletristic style).

Each of the enumerated styles is exercised in two forms (written and oral): an article and a lecture are examples of the two forms of the scientific style.

News broadcast of the radio and TV or newspaper information, material of the newspaper and essays and publications – all the above mentioned styles are styled out within the literary type of language. Their functioning is characterized by the intentional approach of the speaker to the choice of language means, suitable for a particular communicative situations and the official, formal, preplanned nature of the latter.

The colloquial type of language on the contrary is characterized by unofficial and spontaneous characteristics of the communicative situation. Sometimes the colloquial type of speech is called the colloquial style, in particular this style is recognized by Arnold and Marakowskiy. Still we must bare in mind that a style of speech manifests a conscious mindful effort in choosing and giving preference to certain means of expression for the given communicative circumstances,
while colloquial speech is shaped by the immediacy of the communicative situation, there also exists a strong tendency to treat colloquial speech as an individual language system with its independent set of language units and rules of their connection.

Expressive means

The survey of different functional styles would be incomplete without regarding the notions of expressive means and stylistic.

According to Galperin, expressive means of the language are units of different language levels: phonetic, morphological, word-building, syntactic, lexical, phraseological, which serve the purpose of logical and emotional intensification of the utterances. For example:

1) Phonetic expressive means (pitch, melody, sentence and word stress, pausation, drawling of certain syllables, whispering, sing-song manner of speech.
2) Morphological expressive means include (__________________) of the use of auxiliary verbs with the modal shade of meaning
3) Syntactic expressive means for example – the emphatic word order (in came Mr. Pickwick)
4) Word building expressive means: diminutive suffixes: -y; -ie (granny, starly, girlie)
5) Lexical expressive means include interjections, words with stylistic connotation (ex. house (neutral) – abode (bookish) – cot (poetic) – den (colloquial)).
6) Phraseological units – proverbs, sayings, ect.

Stylistic device is a conscious and intentional literary use of the language in which the most essential feature of language forms (both structural and semantical) are raised to the generalized level and thereby present a generative model. In other words, a stylistic device is a generalized pattern, which activates a conscious and intentional intensification of a certain property of a language unit, designed to achieve a particular artistic effect.

Examples: 1) the girl (resembles) is like a fresh rose; 2) the boy is strong like an old oak.

Continue reading – Stylistics – Essential stylistic notions

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