Publicistic Style

Topics: Public speaking, Oratory, Rhetoric Pages: 11 (4181 words) Published: May 23, 2013

The publicistic style of language became discernible as a separate style in the middle of the 18th century. It also falls into three varieties, each having its own distinctive features. Unlike other styles, the publicistic style has a spoken variety, namely, the oratorical substyle. The development of radio and television has brought into being another new spoken variety, namely, the radio and TV соmmentary. The other two substyles are the essay (moral, philosophical, literary) and journalistic articles (political, social, economic) in newspapers, journals and magazines. Book reviews in journals, newspapers and magazines and also pamphlets are generally included among essays. The general aim of publicistic style, which makes it stand out as a separate style, is to exert a constant and deep influence on public opinion, to convince the reader or the listener that the interpretation given by the writer or the speaker is the only correct one and to cause him to accept the point of view expressed in the speech, essay or article not merely through logical argumentation but through emotional appeal as well. This brain-washing function is most effective in oratory, for here the most powerful instrument of persuasion, the human voice, is brought into play. Due to its characteristic combination of logical argumentation and emotional appeal, publicistic style has features in common with the style of scientific prose, on the one hand, and that of emotive prose, on the other. Its coherent and logical syntactical structure, with an expanded system of connectives and its careful paragraphing, makes it similar to scientific prose. Its emotional appeal is generally achieved by the use of words with emotive meaning, the use of imagery and other stylistic devices as in emotive prose; but the stylistic devices used in publicistic style are not fresh, or genuine. The individual element essential to the belles-lettres style is, as a rule, little in evidence here. This is in keeping with the general character of the style. The manner of presenting ideas, however, brings this style closer to that of belles-lettres, in this case to emotive prose, as it is to a certain extent individual. Naturally, of course, essays and speeches have greater individuality than newspaper or magazine articles where the individual element is generally toned down and limited by the requirements of the style. 287

Further, publicistic style is characterized by brevity of expression. In some varieties of this style it becomes a leading feature, an important linguistic means. In essays brevity sometimes becomes epigrammatic.


The oratorical style of language is the oral subdivision of the publicistic style. It has already been pointed out that persuasion is the most obvious purpose of oratory. "Oratorical speech", writes A. Potebnya, "seeks not only to secure the understanding and. digesting of the idea, but also serves simultaneously as a spring setting off a mood (which is the aim) that may lead to action." 1 Direct contact with the listeners permits a combination of the syntactical, lexical and phonetic peculiarities of both the written and spoken varieties of language. In its leading features, however, oratorical style belongs to the written variety of language, though it is modified by the oral form of the utterance and the use of gestures. Certain typical features of the spoken variety of speech present in this style are: direct address to the audience (ladies and gentlemen, honourable member(s), the use of the 2nd person pronoun you, etc.), sometimes contractions (I'll, won't, haven't, isn't and others) and the use of colloquial words. This style is evident in speeches on political and social problems of the day, in orations and addresses on solemn occasions, as public weddings, funerals and jubilees, in sermons and debates and also in the speeches of counsel and judges in courts of law. Political speeches...
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