Functional stylistics is a branch of linguistics which studies functional varieties of the literary language determined by specific spheres and aims of communication. In modern society every person constantly finds himself in regularly recurring situations typical of the given culture, in which he has to play a definite social role, i.e. to behave according to norms accepted in the given society for such situations. One of the manifestations of a social role of a person is his speech behavior – specific ways of speech organization characteristic of definite spheres of communication. Whenever we use language, we choose language means in accordance with the social-linguistic situation which is constituted by many factors: sphere of human activity (administration, science, business, law, religion, every day life); situation of communication and social roles of the communicants; social and personal, psychological characteristics of the communicants: social standing, profession, educational and cultural level, age, sex, temperament, emotional state; relationships between communicants in terms of familiarity;
common stock of experience.
Under the influence of these factors the national language develops numerous forms of linguistic variation: different forms of speech (written or oral), different functional varieties of language (functional styles, sublanguages, registers). Opinion of linguists is divided as to the number and forms of linguistic variation. Halliday singles out 3 varieties (tenors): official, neutral, non-official. According to V.A.Maltsev, there are two varieties: formal and informal. Criteria for distinguishing between varieties of the language are also different. Thus, I.R.Galperin proposes a two-level classification of styles and substyles based on the functions of language in the given sphere of communication: 1. The belles-lettres functional style with the substyles of: 1) poetry, 2) emotive prose, 3) drama. The function of the style is cognitive-aesthetic.
2. The publicistic FS with the substyles of: 1) oratory, 2) radio and TV commentary, 3) essays (moral, philosophical, literary), 4) features (a feature article is a long article in a newspaper or magazine, e.g. a feature on personal computers; journalistic articles – political, social, economic). The aim is to persuade, to influence public opinion.
3. The newspaper FS with the substyles of: 1)brief news items; press reports (parliamentary, of court proceedings, etc.); articles purely informational in character. The function is to inform and instruct the reader.
4. The scientific FS with the substyles of: 1) humanitarian sciences, 2) “exact” sciences, 3) popular scientific prose. The aim is to create new concepts, to give objective data.
5. The style of official documents with the substyles of: 1) diplomatic documents, 2) business documents, 3) legal documents, 4) military documents. The purpose is to reach agreement between two parties, to state their rights and obligations. Galperin defines FS of language as a system of interrelated language means which serves a definite aim in communication . According to Galperin, styles of language can be singled out only in the written variety because any style is the result of careful selection of language means. Indeed, style is choice, but stylistic choice is not always deliberate and careful; much of the choice is made unconsciously, spontaneously. Besides, the aim of any FS is to facilitate communication: it gives the writer/speaker all sorts of ready-made expressions and models, formulas just for the sake of language economy. Rigid rules of business and official letters practically exclude the possibility of deliberate, careful choice. A great deal of newspaper information has to be written hastily. As a result, reporters often resort to stereotyped language. Moreover, there is a contradiction in Galperin’s classification of FS :...
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