Linguistic Features of Language

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4 Stylistic Features of Language Speech communication employs a host of expressive means ranging from linguistic to paralinguistic and extralinguistic features. It is the natural language, however, whose systematic variation on all levels of its structure (phonology, morphology, lexicology and syntax) offers the widest possibilities of suiting its use to fit communicative functions of discourses in various contexts. Thus linguistic expressive means, which are systematically identified and cetegorized by linguistic stylistics (stylolinguistics), lie at the core of stylistic variation. However, it should be noted that as stylistically relevant are considered those linguistic variations which perform similar or alternative communicative functions and which are, in fact, competitors within a particular paradigm or category. From this perspective, there are language units which occur in all types of texts due to their neutral stylistic value (hence stylistically neutral units, e.g., notional words, -s plural marker). On the other hand, other language units bear a stylistic marker already before they are actually used, and so they tend to occur only in some types of texts (hence stylistically marked units, e.g., terms, some foreign plural nouns, vulgarisms, participial constructions; these ´bearers´ of stylistic information which may come from any linguistic plane are also called stylemes, štylémy, cf. Mistrík 1993). Further, not all levels of language system offer equal possibilities of choice: the most differentiated level is the wordstock (synonymy and polysemy), and the fewest possibilities of selection are on the phonological plane (phonemic variations). The possibilities of stylistic variations are not unlimited and some authors maintain that the importance of style is often overestimated (cf. Čermák 2001). 4.1 Phonetics/Phonology The analysis of connected speech identifies the constructional units on the phonetic/phonological plane which are either segmental - phones (realizations of abstract phonemes) and syllables (basic rhythmical units), and suprasegmental (prosodic), which result from three types of sound variation (modulation): temporal (speed/rate, pause, rhythm), force (loudness, stress, emphasis) and tone (pitch, tune) modulation. Since the majority of the segmental phonological variation is offering no stylistically relevant options (it is primarily engaged in the differentiation of meaning, i.e., phonemes function as minimum functional units capable of distinguishing meaning), it is stylistically neutral. Certain phonemes and their combinations, however, may be subjectively perceived as cacophonic (disagreeable to the ear, dissonant, harsh, e.g., words having the /sl-/ cluster: sloppy, slime, or the nonsense word slithy by Lewis Caroll) or euphonic (pleasing to the ear, harmonious, e.g., lateral consonant /l/, as in lovely). The sound symbolism (i.e., a nonarbitrary connection between phonetic features of linguistic items and their meanings) is exploited also in non-poetic language (e.g., occurrence of close vowels in words denoting smallness: petite, teeny-weeny, open vowels in words denoting largeness: large, vast). Several poetic devices are based on the sound instrumentation of text and are, besides poetry, often utilized in discourse which is concerned with exploiting this language potential and connoting a certain atmosphere or mood, for example, public speeches, punning, jokes, children´s rhymes, commercials, product names, slogans, etc. (see Poetic f., 3.4): alliteration, assonance, consonance, (direct and indirect) onomatopoeia, (perfect, half, eye, masculine, feminine, triple, internal, end/terminal, etc.) rhyme, paronomasia, mimesis and synesthesia. These phonetic and phonological features used for expressive purposes are studied by phonostylistics.

Some suprasegmental phonemes, besides having a grammatical function (segmentation of syntactic units, signalling their pragmatic function), are open...
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