Stylistics: Linguistics and Language

Topics: Linguistics, Literature, Language Pages: 87 (31471 words) Published: December 4, 2008


Stylistics, sometimes called l i n g u o - s t y 1 i s t i c s, is a branch of general linguistics. It has now been more or less definitely outlined. It deals mainly with two interdependent tasks: a) the investi-gation of the inventory of special language media which by their ontol-ogical features secure the desirable effect of the utterance and b) certain types of texts (discourse) which due to the choice and arrangement of language means are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication. The two obiectives of stylistics are clearly discernible as two separate fields of investigation. The inventory of special language media can be analysed and their ontological features revealed if presented in a system in which the co-relation between the media becomes evident. The types of texts can be analysed if their linguistic components are presented in their interaction, thus revealing the unbreakable unity and transparency of constructions of a given type. The types of texts that are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication are called functional styles of language (FS); the special media of language which secure the desirable effect of the utterance are called stylistic devices (SD) and expressive means (EM). The first field of investigation, i.e. SDs and EMs, necessarily touches upon such general language problems as the aesthetic function of lan-guage, synonymous ways of rendering one and the same idea, emotional colouring in languge,_the interrelation between language and thought, the individual manner of an author in making use of language and a number of other issues. The second field, i.e. functional styles, cannot avoid discussion of such most general linguistic issues as oral and written varieties of lan-guage, the notion of the literary (standard) language, the constituents of texts larger than the sentence, the generative aspect of literary texts, and some others. In dealing with the objectives of stylistics, certain pronouncements of adjacent disciplines such as theory of information, literature, psy-chology, logic and to some extent statistics must be touched upon. This is indispensable; for nowadays no science is entirely isolated from other domains of human knowledge; and linguistics, particularly its branch stylistics, cannot avoid references to the above mentioned dis-ciplines because it is confronted with certain overlapping issues. The branching off of stylistics in language science was indirectly the result of a long-established tendency of grammarians to confine


their investigations to sentences, clauses and word-combinations which are "well-formed", to use a dubious term, neglecting anything that did not fall under the recognized and received standards. This tendency became particularly strong in what is called descriptive linguistics. The generative grammars, which appeared as a reaction against descriptive linguistics, have confirmed that the task of any grammar is to limit the scope of investigation of language data to sentences which are con-sidered well-formed. Everything that fails to meet this requirement should be excluded from linguistics. But language studies cannot avoid subjecting to observation any language data whatever, so where grammar refuses to tread stylistics steps in. Stylistics has acquired its own status with its own inventory of tools (SDs and EMs), with its_own object of investigation and with its own methods of research. The stylistics of a highly developed language like English or Rus-sian has brought into the science of language a separate body of media, thus widening the range of observation of phenomena in language. The significance of this branch of linguistics can hardly be over-estimated. A number of events in the development of stylistics must be mentioned here as landmarks. The first is the discussion of the problem of style...
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