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Lexical stylistics



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1. Arnold defines stylistics as a branch of linguistics, investigating the principles and effect of choice and usage of phonetic, lexical, grammatical and other language means with the purpose of transmitting thoughts and emotions in different circumstances of communication. Stylistics defined as a branch of general linguistics, which touches upon expressive means, stylistic devices of the language, their relations to the idea expressed; the classification of the existing styles of speech. They are independent and are studied by definite branches of stylistics. It has mainly with two tasks: Stylistics is regarded as a language science which deals with the results of the act of communication. There are 2 basic objects of stylistics: - stylistic devices and figures of speech; - functional styles. Branches of stylistics: - Lexical stylistics – studies functions of direct and figurative meanings, also the way contextual meaning of a word is realized in the text. LS deals with various types of connotations – expressive, evaluative, emotive; neologisms, dialectal words and their behavior in the text. - Grammatical stylistics – is subdivided into morphological and syntactical. MS views stylistic potential of grammatical categories of different parts of speech. SS studies syntactic, expressive means, word order and word combinations, different types of sentences and types of syntactic connections. Also deals with origin of the text, its division on the paragraphs, dialogs, direct and indirect speech, the connection of the sentences, types of sentences. Phonostylistics – phonetical organization of prose and poetic texts. Here are included rhythm, rhythmical structure, rhyme, alliteration, assonance and correlation of the sound form and meaning. Also studies deviation in normative pronunciation. Functional S (s. of decoding) – deals with all subdivisions of the language and its possible use (newspaper, colloquial style). - stylistics of encoding - The shape of the information (message) is coded and the addressee plays the part of decoder of the information contained in message.

2. Decoding stylistics (DS) – the most recent trend in stylistics that employs the knowledge of such sciences as information theory, psychology, linguistics, literary theory, history of art, etc. DS tries to regard the esthetic value of a text based on the interaction of specific textual elements, stylistic devices & compositional structure in delivering the authors message. This method does not consider the stylistic function of any stylistic feature separately but as a part of a whole text. DS helps the reader in understanding of a literary work by explaining (decoding) the info that may be hidden from immediate view. The term “DS” came from the application of the theory of information to linguistics (Jackobson, Arnold, Lotman). The process is presented in the following way: the writer receives different information from the outside world. He processes this info & recreates it in his own images. The process of internalizing of the outside info & translating it into his own imagery is called encoding. Encoder(writer) sends the information to recipient (addressee, reader) & the reader is supposed to decode the information. This process is not easy. A literary work on its way to the reader encounters many obstacles – social, historical, temporal, cultural… Readers & authors may be separated by historical epoch, social conventions, religious & political views, cultural & national traditions. The author & the reader may be different in emotional, intellectual plan. Many literary works are too sophisticated, they require of the reader a wide educational background, knowledge of history, mythology, philosophy.

3. Stylistics studies the special media of language which are called stylistic devices and expressive means. Expressive means and stylistic devices form three large groups of phonetic, lexical, syntactical means and devices. Each group is further subdivided according to the principle, purpose and function of a mean or a device in an utterance. Expressive means of a language are those phonetic, lexical, morphological and syntactic units and forms which make speech emphatic. Expressive means introduce connotational (stylistic, non-denotative) meanings into utterances. Phonetic expressive means include pitch, melody, stresses, pauses, whispering, singing, and other ways of using human voice. Morphological expressive means are emotionally coloured suffixes of diminutive nature: -y (-ie), -let (sonny auntie, girlies). To lexical expressive means belong words, possessing connotations, such as epithets, poetic and archaic words, slangy words, vulgarisms, and interjections. A chain of expressive synonymic words always contains at least one neutral synonym. A chain of expressive synonyms used in a single utterance creates the effect of climax (gradation). To syntactic expressive means belong emphatic syntactic constructions. Such constructions stand in opposition to their neutral equivalents. Stylistic devices (tropes, figures of speech) unlike expressive means are not language phenomena. They are formed in speech and most of them do not exist out of context. According to principles of their formation, stylistic devices are grouped into phonetic, lexico-semantic and syntactic types. Basically, all stylistic devices are the result of revaluation of neutral words, word-combinations and syntactic structures. Revaluation makes language units obtain connotations and stylistic value. A stylistic de­vice is the subject matter of stylistic semasiology.

4. A word is a number of language that represents a concept which can be expressively communicated with meaning. A word consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetic value. Typically a word will consist of a root or stem and zero or more affixes. Words can be combined to create other units of language such as phrases, clauses, and sentences. Lexical semantics is a subfield of linguistic semantics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote. The units of meaning in lexical semantics are lexical units. Lexical semantics covers theories of the classification and decomposition of word meaning, the differences and similarities in lexical semantic structure between different languages, and the relationship of word meaning to sentence meaning and syntax. 1) dictionary and contextual meanings – are fixed in dictionaries and in general linguistic meaning is regarded as smth stable at a given period of time. In stylistics meaning is a category which is able to acquire new meanings imposed on the words by a context - contextual meanings. 2) Words usually have denotational meaning (which informs of the subject of communication), and connotational (which informs about the participants and conditions of communication). Connotation supplies additional information, it is not found in all words. The list and specifications of connotational meanings vary with different linguistic schools and individual scholars and include such entries as pragmatic (associative) (related to individual psychological or linguistic associations, connected with related and nonrelated 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). 3) Denotational meaning is the precise naming of a feature phenomenon or object but one word can denote different concepts. So we should distinguish between primary or secondary derivative meaning. 4) Logical meaning is a denotative one, emotive deals with connotation. It has reference, not directly to things or phenomena but to the feelings and emotions of the speaker towards this. 5) Logical and nominative meaning.

5. Stylistics deals with styles. Style is a system of interrelated language means which serves a definite aim in communication (Galperin). Style is a selection of non-distinctive features of language (Bloomfield). According to Galperin the term ‘style’ refers to the following spheres: 1) the aesthetic function of language. 2) synonymous ways of rendering one and the same idea. 3) expressive means in language in the following spheres – poetry, fiction, colloquial speech, speeches but not in scientific articles, business letters and others. 4) emotional coloring in language. 5) a system of special devices called stylistic devices. It has hundreds of definitions and characterizations, such as ‘the dress of thought’ (S.Wesley), ‘proper words in proper places’ (J.Swift), etc. Linguistic definitions may be grouped in the following way: 1. style as a product of individual choices and patterns of choices among linguistic possibilities (S.Chatman, D.Crystal). This definition treats style as an individual style of an author. 2. style as embellishment of language (M.Murry). From this point of view language and style are separate bodies, style is like trimming on a dress, and users of language can easily do without it. 3. style as a deviation from the norm (E.Sapir, L.V.Scherba) The notion of the norm mainly refers to the literary language. It is treated as the invariant of the phonemic, morphological, lexical and syntactical patterns in circulation during a given period in the development of the given language. 4. style as the technique of expression (H.Spencer, F.L.Lucas) Style is understood as the ability to write and speak clearly, correctly which can be taught, as there are certain rules as to how to speak and write and all deviations from them are regarded as violations of the norm. 5. style as a literary genre (classical style, realistic style, style of romanticism, etc.) The arrangement of what are purely literary facts is under observation. But still all various definitions have something in common. All of them point to some integral significance, that a style is a set of characteristics by which it is possible to distinguish one author from another.

6. In accordance with the division of language into literary and colloquial, we may represent the whole of the word stock of the English language as being divided into 3 main layers: the literary layer, the neutral layer and the colloquial layer. The literary layer of words consists of groups which have no local or dialect character. The literary vocabulary consists of the following groups of words: 1. common literary (are chiefly used in writing and in polished speech); 2. terms and learned words (to indicate the technical peculiarities of the subject dealt with); 3. poetic words (aim at producing an elevated effect, to evoke emotive meanings); 4. archaic words (1 obsolescent- words becomes rarely used, gradually passing out of general use, 2 obsolete- have already gone completely out of use but are still recognized; 3 archaic proper- no longer recognizable in ModE; 5. barbarisms and foreign words (words of foreign origin which have not entirely been assimilated into English); 6. literary coinages including nonce-words (neologisms). The aspect of the neutral layer is its universal character. That means it is unrestricted in its use. It can be employed in all styles and in all spheres of human activity. Neutral words, which form the bulk of the English vocabulary, are used in both literary and colloquial language. Neutral words are the main source of synonymy and polysemy. The colloquial layer of words as qualified in most English or American dictionaries is not infrequently limited to a definite language community or confined to a special locality where it circulates. The colloquial vocabulary falls into the following groups: 1. common colloquial words; 2. slang (language of a highly colloquial type considered as below the level of standard educated speech;) 3. jargonisms (to preserve secrecy within some social group); 4. professional words (words used in a definite profession); 5. dialect words; 6. vulgar words (expressions of an abusive character to express strong emotions, mainly annoyance, anger); 7. colloquial coinages. The common literary, neutral and common colloquial words are grouped under the term standard English vocabulary. Other groups in the literary layer are regarded as special literary vocabulary and those in the colloquial layer are regarded as special colloquial (non-literary) vocabulary.

7. The sound of most words taken separately will have little aesthetic value. It is in combination with other words that a word acquire a desired phonetic effect. The theory of sound symbolism is based on the assumption that separate sounds due to their properties make awake certain ideas or perceptions. This theory is widely used in poetry.

Onomatopoeia is a combination of speech sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature: hiss, grumble, sizzle, murmur, bump., sea, thunder, by things like machines tools, by people (laughter, cough), by animal.

1) Direct onomatopoeia: in words that imitate natural sound (ding-dong, buzz, hiss, roar, ping-pong, mew, cock-a-doodle-doo) 2) Indirect: a combination of sounds, the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense (And the silken sat uncertain, rusting of each purple curtain).

Alliteration is the repetition of the same construction at the beginning of words. It’s often used in newspaper headlines, proverbs, set expressions. (As blind as bat; Pride and prejudice. Sense and sensibility. The school of scandal) Assonance is the repetition of similar vowels usually in stressed syllables. (Nor soul flesh now more than flesh helps soul).

They both produce the effect of euphony (афония) – a sense of ease and comfort, a pleasing effect of pronouncing and hearing. The opposite process is cacophony – a sense of strain and discomfort in pronouncing and hearing.

Rhyme is one of the properties of poetry, which is the repetition of the same sound, identical/similar, usually at the end of 2 or more lines. We normally distinguish between: full rhyme (I-sky, night-right), incomplete rhyme (fresh-press), compound rhymes, eye-rhymes (visible, but not pronounced):(love-prove), masculine rhymes (monosyllabic words): e.g. down-town – and are standing on the last line or , or bisyllabic words Functions: 1) to signalize the end of line and mark the arrangement of lines into stanzas 2) rhythm becomes evident because of rhyme 3) the ends receive greater prominent

Poetic rhythm is created by the regular recurrence of (un)stressed syllables of equal poetic lines.

8. In modern advertising, mass media & creative prose sound is fore grounded through the change of its accepted graphical representation. The intentional violation of the graphical shape of word or word combination used to reflect its authentic pronunciation is called a graphon. Introduced into English novels & journalisms in the 18 century graphon proved to be an extremely effective means of supplying info about speaker’s origin, social & educational background, physical & emotional condition, etc. Graphons are also good at conveying atmosphere of authentic life communication. We have such clichйs as in conversation as gotta, wonna, gimme, lemme, wille. It becomes popular with advertisers. E.g.: Pik-wik (pick quick). There also exist different forms of foregrounding: 1)capitalization, 2)italics, 3)spacing of graphemes: - hyphenation(ч/з дефис, с пробела); multiplication(one &the same letter written several times). A special trend- graphical imagism: for example the whole poem is written in form of a bird.


9. In our cognition or perception of the world there are three stages: 1) sensory perception, 2) intellectual perception, 3) imaginative, or artistic perception. Image is the main means of generalizing reality. An artistic image is specific as it not only gives a man new perception of the world but evokes certain attitude to what is depicted. The main functions of an artistic image are cognitive, communicative, aesthetic and educational. Image may be defined as an artistic presentation of the general through the individual, of the abstract through the concrete. There also exists verbal art where imagery is embodied in words — thus words are the material writers /speakers use when they want to create verbal images. The verbal image is a pen-picture of a thing, person or idea expressed in a figurative way by words used in their contextual meaning. As I.V.Arnold points out the verbal image is a complex phenomenon, it is a double picture generated by linguistic means, it is based on the co-presence of two thoughts of different things active together: the direct thought termed the tenor (T), the figurative thought — the vehicle (V).The tenor is the subject of thought, while the vehicle is the concept of a thing, person or an abstract notion with which the tenor is compared or identified. The structure of a verbal image also includes: the ground of comparison (G) — the similar feature of T and V; the relation (R) between T and V; the type of identification/comparison or, simply, the type of a trope (metaphor or simile). Trope is the figurative use of a word or a phrase that creates imagery. Tropes are used in verbal art to create general or individual images and to attain a higher artistic expressiveness. A trope is based on establishing connections between two notions, two things, being different on the whole, but understood to have some connection, some similarity in the given context. From the viewpoint of a linguist, all tropes are based on the interplay of lexical meaning. It should be remembered that imagery can be created by lexical SD's only. All other stylistic devices (such as phonetic, graphic, morphological and syntactical SD's) do introduce imagery, but can serve as intensifiers; any of them can add logical, emotive, expressive info to the utterance.

10. Metaphor is a stylistic device based on interaction between the logical & contextual meanings of the word which is based on likeness between objects & implies analogy & comparison between them. The basis of metaphor is the mental process of comparison, but, unlike in simile, in metaphor the ground of comparison is never stated openly. Metaphors can be embodied in all the basic parts of speech—nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The stylistic functions of the metaphor: 1) by evoking images & suggesting analogies it makes the author's thought more concrete definite & clear.2) it reveals the author's emotional attitude towards the described. Varieties of metaphors: 1) personification - a special kind of metaphor in which abstract ideas or inanimate objects r identified with person. 2) animalification - a special kind of M. in which abstract ideas or inanimate objects are identified with the beasts. Metaphors may be classified according to a number of principles. 1. According to the pragmatic effect produced upon the addressee met­aphors are subdivided into trite (or dead) and genuine (or original). Dead metaphors are fixed in dictionaries. They often sound banal and hackneyed, like cliches: to prick up one's ears; the apple of one's eye; to burn with desire. Original metaphors are not registered in dictionaries. They are created in speech by speakers' imagination. They sound fresh and expressive, unexpected and unpredictable: Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested 2. According to the degree of their stylistic potential metaphors are clas­sified into nominational, cognitive and imaginative (or figurative). Nominational metaphors do not render any stylistic information. They are in­tended to name new objects or phenomena of the objective world: the foot of the hill. When an object obtains a quality which is typical of another object, cognitive metaphor is formed: One more day has died. The most expressive kind of metaphor is imaginative metaphor: Time was bleeding away. If there is enough rain, the land will shout with grass. 3. Metaphors may be also classified according to their structure (or ac­cording to complexity of image created). There are such metaphors as sim­ple (or elementary) and prolonged (or sustained). A simple metaphor con­sists of a single word or word-combination expressing indiscrete notion: The leaves were falling sorrowfully. A sustained metaphor appears in cases when a word which has been used metaphorically makes other words of the sentence or paragraph also realize their metaphoric meanings: Metaphor is one of the most powerful means of creating images. Its natural sphere of usage is poetry and elevated prose.

11. Such lexical SD as metonymy and irony belong to the first group of LSD based on the interaction of lexical meanings. Metonymy (Gk. metonymia 'changing of name') is a trope in which the name of a thing is replaced by the name of an associated thing. One name is used instead of another. Unlike metaphor where the interaction b/w the meanings of different words is based on resemblance, metonymy reflects the actually existing relations. The following types of metonymy ore differentiated: 1) the abstract stands for the concrete : It was a representative gathering— science, politics, business. 2) the container is mentioned instead of the contents : He drank one more cup (of coffee). 3) the material instead of the thing made of it: He examined her bronzes and clays. 4) the maker for the thing made : He had several Picassos (paintings by P. Picasso.). He bought a Ford. 5) the instrument it put for the agent. His pen is rather sharp. The saxophone has the flu today. 6) a part is put for the whole (synecdoche): the crown(= king); a hand(= worker) Metonymy reflects the actually existing relations between two objects. Since the types of such relations are limited, they are observed again and again, and metonymy in many cases is trite, as to earn one's bread; to ton by the pen; to keep one's mouth shut; to read Shakespeare Irony is a stylistic device based on the simultaneous realisation of two meanings: the literal meaning is the opposite of the intended meaning; used in ridicule, contempt, or humour. Emphasis is placed on the opposition between the dictionary and the intended meaning of a statement: one thing is said and the opposite is implied. Nice weather isn't it. (On a rainy day) Intonation plays an important role in expressing irony. Irony is generally used to convey a negative meaning, but only positive concepts may be used in it (as above: great, nice). Her distaste is impeccable.

12. Epithet is a stylistic device based on the interplay of emotive and logical meaning of an attributive (or adverbial) word or phrase used to characterize an object so as to give an individual perception and evaluation of some features or properties. It differs from the logical attribute which is purely objective.

Compositionally epithets may be divided into several groups:

1) Sample or word-epithets (adjectives, nouns or participles): He looked at them in animal panic. 2) Compound epithets (compound adjectives): Apple-faced woman;3)' Two-step epithets (supplied with intensifiers): a marvellously radiant smile 4) Phrase epithets (hyphenated epithets): I-am-not-that-kind-of girl look. 5) Reversed epithets composed two nouns linked by an of-phrase: the devil of a sea

Taking into consideration their semantic properties, linguists suggest different classifications of epithets, According to I.R.Galperin, epithets may be divided into 2 groups: 1) associated with the noun following it, pointing to a feature which is essential to the objects they describe: dark forest 2) unassociated with the noun, epithets that add a feature which is unexpected and which strikes the reader by its novelty. voiceless sands. Kukharenko classification includes: 1) fixed epithets. Merry X-mas, a valiant youth. 2) figurative epithets are formed of metaphors, metonymies and similes. smiling sun, sleepless pillow. Oxymoron is a stylistic device where the tenor and the vehicle are diametrically opposite, antonymous. It is a combination of two words with opposite meanings, living death, cold fire, delicious torment, you are awfully nice, pretty bad.

Close to oxymoron is paradox, a statement that is contradictory or absurd on the surface: The worse — the better. War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

At first sight, oxymoronic collocations seem irrational but on closer examination we find that they disclose the complexity of things and the contradictions of life.

Oxymoron is often met within a simile (He was gentle as hell). The words have lost the primary logical meaning and are used only with emotive meaning as intensifiers; they have lost their stylistic value.
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