Stylistics of language and speech — КиберПедия 

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Stylistics of language and speech



One of the fundamental concepts of linguistics is the dichotomy of "language and speech" (langue - parole) introduced by F. de Saussure. According to it language is a system of elementary and complex signs: phonemes, morphemes, words, word combinations, utterances and combinations of utterances. Language as such a system exists in human minds only and linguistic forms or units can be systematised into paradigms. So language is a mentally organised system of linguistic units. An individual speaker never uses it. When we use these units we mix them in acts of speech. As distinct from language speech is not a purely mental phenomenon, not a system but a process of combining these linguistic elements into linear linguistic units that are called syntagmatic. The result of this process is the linear or syntagmatic combination of vowels and consonants into words, words into word-combinations and sentences and combination of sentences into texts. The word "syntagmatic" is a purely linguistic term meaning a coherent sequence of words (written, uttered or just remembered).

Stylistics is a branch of linguistics that deals with texts, not with the system of signs or process of speech production as such. But within these texts elements stylistically relevant are studied both syntagmatically and paradigmatically (loosely classifying all stylistic means paradigmatically into tropes and syntagmatically into figures of speech).

Eventually this brings us to the notions of stylistics of language and stylistics of speech. Their difference lies in the material studied.

The stylistics of language analyses permanent or inherent stylistic properties of language elements while the stylistics of speech studies stylistic properties, which appear in a context, and they are called adherent.

Russian words like толмач, штудировать, соизволятьor English words prevaricate, comprehend, lassare bookish or archaic and these are their inherent properties. The unexpected use of any of these words in a modern context will be an adherent stylistic property.

So stylistics of language describes and classifies the inherent stylistic colouring of language units. Stylistics of speech studies the composition of the utterance - the arrangement, selection and distribution of different words, and their adherent qualities.

1.3. Types of stylistic research and branches of stylistics

Literary and linguistic stylistics

According to the type of stylistic research we can distinguish literary stylistics and lingua-stylistics. They have some meeting points or links in that they have common objects of research. Consequently they have certain areas of cross-reference. Both study the common ground of:

1) the literary language from the point of view of its variability;

2) the idiolect (individual speech) of a writer;

3) poetic speech that has its own specific laws.

• Functional styles (in their development and current state).

• The linguistic nature of the expressive means of the language, their systematic character and their functions.

Literary stylisticsis focused on

• The composition of a work of art.

• Various literary genres.

• The writer's outlook.

Comparative stylistics

Comparative stylistics is connected with the contrastive study of more than one language.

It analyses the stylistic resources not inherent in a separate language but at the crossroads of two languages, or two literatures and is obviously linked to the theory of translation.

Decoding stylistics

A comparatively new branch of stylistics is the decoding stylistics, which can be traced back to the works of L. V. Shcherba, B. A. Larin, M. Riffaterre, R. Jackobson and other scholars of the Prague linguistic circle. A serious contribution into this branch of stylistic study was also made by Prof. I.V. Arnold (3, 4). Each act of speech has the performer, or sender of speech and the recipient. The former does the act of encoding and the latter the act of decoding the information. If we analyse the text from the author's (encoding) point of view we should consider the epoch, the historical situation, the personal political, social and aesthetic views of the author. But if we try to treat the same text from the reader's angle of view we shall have to disregard this background knowledge and get the maximum information from the text itself (its vocabulary, compo­sition, sentence arrangement, etc.). The first approach manifests the prevalence of the literary analysis. The second is based almost exclusively on the linguistic analysis. Decoding stylistics is an attempt to harmoniously combine the two methods of stylistic research and enable the scholar to interpret a work of art with a minimum loss of its purport and message.



Functional stylistics

Special mention should be made of functional stylistics which is a branch of lingua-stylistics that investigates functional styles, that is special sublanguages or varieties of the national language such as scientific, colloquial, business, publicist and so on.

However many types of stylistics may exist or spring into existence they will all consider the same source material for stylistic analysis-sounds, words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and texts. That's why any kind of stylistic research will be based on the level-forming branches that include:

Stylistic lexicology

Stylistic Lexicology studies the semantic structure of the word and the interrelation (or interplay) of the connotative and denotative meanings of the word, as well as the interrelation of the stylistic connotations of the word and the context.

Stylistic Phonetics(or Phonostylistics)is engaged in the study of style-forming phonetic features of the text. It describes the prosodic features of prose and poetry and variants of pronunciation in different types of speech (colloquial or oratory or recital).

Stylistic grammar

Stylistic Morphologyis interested in the stylistic potentials of specific grammatical forms and categories, such as the number of the noun, or the peculiar use of tense forms of the verb, etc.

Stylistic Syntaxis one of the oldest branches of stylistic studies that grew out of classical rhetoric. The material in question lends itself readily to analysis and description. Stylistic syntax has to do with the expressive order of words, types of syntactic links (asyndeton, polysyndeton), figures of speech (antithesis, chiasmus, etc.). It also deals with bigger units from paragraph onwards.

1.4.Stylistics and other linguistic disciplines

As is obvious from the names of the branches or types of stylistic studies this science is very closely linked to the linguistic disciplines philology students are familiar with: phonetics, lexicology and grammar due to the common study source.

Stylistics interacts with such theoretical discipline as semasiology. This is a branch of linguistics whose area of study is a most complicated and enormous sphere - that of meaning. The term semantics is also widely used in linguistics in relation to verbal meanings. Semasiology in its turn is often related to the theory of signs in general and deals with visual as well as verbal meanings. Meaning is not attached to the level of the word only, or for that matter to one level at all but correlates with all of them - morphemes, words, phrases or texts. This is one of the most challenging areas of research since practically all stylistic effects are based on the interplay between different kinds of meaning on different levels. Suffice it to say that there are numerous types of linguistic meanings attached to linguistic units, such as grammatical, lexical, logical, denotative, connotative, emotive, evaluative, expressive and stylistic.



Onomasiology (or onomatology) is the theory of naming dealing with the choice of words when naming or assessing some object or phenomenon. In stylistic analysis we often have to do with a transfer of nominal meaning in a text (antonomasia, metaphor, metonymy, etc.)

The theory of functional styles investigates the structure of the national linguistic space - what constitutes the literary language, the sublanguages and dialects mentioned more than once already.

Literary stylistics will inevitably overlap with areas of literary studies such as the theory of imagery, literary genres, the art of composition, etc.

Decoding stylistics in many ways borders culture studies in the broad sense of that word including the history of art, aesthetic trends and even information theory.






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