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Principles of stylistic classification of vocabulary. Special literary vocabulary.

The notion of style and branches of stylistics.

First f all, there is confusion between the terms style and stylistics. Te first concept is so broad that it is hardly possible to regard it as a term. Style is the correspondence between thought and its expression, it is a concept which can be applied to any two objects or phenomena provided they are essentially the same while differing in some secondary, additional characteristics. Stylistics is a branch of linguistics which investigates the principles and the effect of the choice and use of lexical, grammatical, phonetic, linguistic means for conveying thoughts and feelings in various circumstances of communication.


· Sits comfortably between language and literature

· Deals with culture

· A bridge between cultural, literary and linguistic studies

Branches of stylistics:

· Style in language as a system

1. Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices

EM– phonetic, morphological, word-building, lexical, phraseological and syntactical forms of a language which may be used for intensification of meaning.

SD – certain linguistic patterns which allow an intentional intensification of an utterance. These patterns become generative models.

2. Phonetic EM and SD

3. Grammatical EM and SD

· Functional stylistics

1. Official & colloquial varieties

2. Publicistic varieties

3. Belles-lettres style

History of stylistics.

The first great contributor to the study of style was the Greek philosopher and philologist Aristotle, a student of Plato. In his works Poetics and Rhetoric he compared poetry and prose, written and oral speech; he discussed the nature of metaphor, simile, and metonymy. Another ancient writer who touched upon the problems of style was the Roman writer Quintilian. His work is a twelve-volume textbook on rhetoric Institutio Oratorio published around AD 95. Quintilian’ s approach to style was formalistic. During the middle ages and in the 18th century existed the theory of 3 styles:

· High style for heroic odes, poems, orations

· Middle style for theatrical productions, friendly letters in verse, satires, elegies, noble instructions

· Low style for comedies, humorous epigrams, songs, prose letters to friends and descriptions of ordinary events

The impulses to modern style study can be traced to 2 spheres: literary criticism and linguistics. Stylistics can be seen as a logical extention of moves within literary criticism early in the 20th century to concentrate on studying texts rather than authors.

19th century literary criticism concentrated on the author, his biography and in Britain the text-based criticism of the two critics I. A. Richards and William Empson , his pupil rejected that approach in order to concentrate on the literary texts themselves. This approach is often called after I. Richard’s book Practical Criticism (1929) and is matched by a similar critical movement in the USA associated with Cleanth Brooks, Rene Weilek.

In Moscow there was Formalist Linguistic Circle rejected undue concentration on the author in literary criticism in favor of an approach which focused on the analysis of the language of the text in relation to psychological effects. Russian formalism (Шкловский, Тыняев, Пропп, Якобсон). The view suggested that linguistically deviant or specially patterned they cause psychological foregrounding. Later appeared term «defeated expectancy». The Prague School built on the concept of foregrounding.

Leo Spitzer is known for his emphasis on stylistics, created the principle of the philological circle. Charles Bally, a French linguist, was a father of linguostylistics. The role of expressive elements in language is especially emphasized in his works.

Factors influencing stylistic variation.

· Situation (formal/informal)

· Participants (age, situation, social position)

· Emotions

· Attitude

· Key (tone: serious, ironic)

· Intentions (aims of communication)

· Norms

· Genre

Stylistic connotation.

Stylistics is interested in connotational meaning:

- Would you like a cup of tea?

- Wanna cup?

Components of connotation:

· Expressive charge (ex. It was raining. The weather was foul. It was raining cats and dogs.)

· Emotive charge (ex. To stare – to glare – to gaze)

· Evaluative charge (good or bad; ex. well-known – famous – notorious)

· Stylistic reference (to written or oral speech, formal or informal; ex. Girl – lass- girlie – maiden – bird

Connotation supplies additional information, it is found in all the words. The list and specifications of connotational meanings vary with different linguistic schools and individual scholars and include such entries as pragmatic (related to individual psychological or linguistic associations, connected with related and non-related notions), ideological or conceptual (revealing political, social, ideological preferences of the user), evaluative (stating the value of the indicated notion), emotive (revealing the emotional layer of cognition and perception), expressive (aiming at creating the image of the object in question), stylistic (indicating «the register» or the situation of the communication).

Principles of stylistic classification of vocabulary

Principles of stylistic classification of vocabulary. Special literary vocabulary
• Stylistic opposition (marked/unmarked)
• Stylistic reference (oral/written)

Principles of stylistic classification of vocabulary. Special literary vocabulary.

The literary and the colloquial layers contain a num­ber of subgroups each of which has a property it shares with all the sub­groups within the layer. The common property of the literary layer is its markedly bookish character. It is this that makes the layer more or less stable. The literary layer of words consists of groups excepted as legitimate members of the English vocabulary. They have no local or dialectal character.

Special literary vocabulary:

1. Terms – know no isolation, monosemantic, conventional (e.g. connotation pragmatics). Are used in academic discourse, colloquial speech. The main functions are exactness, brevity, humour.

2. Poetic and highly literary words – belong to a definite style of language. Has rhythmical arrangement. Don’t present a homogenious group. Include archaic words (ne, leman). Are often used in poetry. Create the atmosphere of poetry in true sense and help to evoke emotive meanings.

3. Archaic words – are divided into 3 groups:

-Obsolecent (in the stage of gradually passing out of general use)

-Obsolete (already gone out)

-Archaic proper (no longer recognizable in modern English) (e.g. goblet)

Are used in literature, official documents and legal language. They are necessary to understand old literature and also they have terminological function.

4. Barbarisms and foreign words (words of foreign origin which have not been entirely assimilated into English) (e.g. bon mot), they are used in publicistic and belles-letters styles. Have terminological function, retain their foreign appearance. They supply local colour. Background to the narrative. Build up the stylistic device of non-personal direct speech or represented speech.

5. Neologisms – new words actively used by speakers and they are fixed in a dictionary. Are used in order to designate new-born concepts, also create utterance.

Nonce words – created for a particular occasion which can stay in the language or die


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