Lecture One Style and Stylistics
Outline of Content ? Introduction ? 1.1. Factors Deciding Style ? 1.2. Definitions of Style ? 1.3. Stylistics ? 1.4. The Needs for Stylistics ? 1.5. Procedure & Principles of Stylistic Analysis Two versions of self-introduction ? Version 1 ? My name is xxx. You can call me Ms. x. I got my B.A. degree from xxxxxx. After graduation from college, I worked nearly ten years in a number of fields including tourism, international trade, stock market. My jobs enabled me to have business trips to major English-speaking countries such as USA, Canada, Australia, etc. Later on, I went back to my old school and got my M.A. degree, with the orientation in Translation. Due to my rich working experiences and my study, I am able to get access to a wide varieties of English in daily use, as well as in specialized fields. Hope to share this knowledge with you in this course. Version 2 ? Hi, guys. So cute to be with you. In this semester, we shall spend a bit of time together and chat a bit about sort of stylistics. You can just call me xx and let’ s have fun together. Consider the following questions ? How do you feel about the above three versions of self-introduction? ? In what way do they differ? ? What decides a style? 1.1. Factors Deciding Style ? Who, what, whom, how, when, where, why ? -- Who said what to whom; ? -- How, when and why something is said 1) Style Related to Topics/Fields (what is said) ? Stylistic differences are most apparent when texts /discourses deal with different topics or fields of study. For example, language used in science and technology differ drastically from those dealing with literature or commerce in many ways. (Our course will focus on this aspect of language varieties later on.) ? E.g. ? --- military drilling commands (P3[1.4]) ? Attention! On Fours, fall in!
Eyes right! Forward march! Shoulder arms! --- limerick (P3 [1.3]) --- ad. We know eggzactly (exactly) how to sell eggs. (novel, fresh, memorable, effective, purposeful; repetition, coined term, simple) ? See also [1.5]—[1.7] on P4 2) Style Related to Participants (who talked to whom) ? Different styles can be created as the result of what the participants are in terms of social status, social class, age, race, sex, education, etc. ? -- who is the speaker ? See [1.8] & [1.9] on P5, ? [1.10] & [1.11] on P6 Exercise ? Read the following example and analyze the differences: ? E.g. a young college girl explains how to suck an egg in the following way: ? “Take an egg, and make a perforation in the base and a corresponding one in the ‘apex. And then, apply the lips to the ‘aperture, and by forcibly inhaling the breath, the shell is entirely discharged of its contents”. ? In contrast, her grandmother would say: “Make a hole in each end and suck.” ? ? -- whom the speaker talks to ? The same person would usually talk differently to different people (e.g. to his boss, his family members, the elderly people or a kid). ? E.g. ? -- Hi, joe. How is everything? (to a friend) ? -- Morning, Ma. Is breakfast ready? ? -- Good morning, Sir. How are you? 3) Style Related to Medium (How is sth conveyed) ? Medium / Channel: means by which a message is conveyed from one person to another, such as in spoken or written form, in books or in newspapers, via TV or radio or computer or mobile phone, etc. ? Differences in medium/channel can result in stylistic differences among texts in terms of choice of words, sentence pattern, sentence length, sound effect, visual effect, etc. ? E.g. 1 Some common signs used in e-mails or cell phone short messages: ? Smiley meaning ? :-) happy ? :-D big smile ? :-O surprised ? :-( sad ? :-/ confused ? :”> embarrassed
? ? ? ? ? ?
? X-( angry ? ? E.g. 2 A face-to-face conversation: (Inexplicit information) ? A: Going to buy one? ? B: Don’t know. Perhaps. ? A: Better hurry, they’re packing up. ? B: Oh, all right. 4) Style Related to Occasion (when and where is sth expressed) ? The same meaning can be expressed in different wordings depending on the specific occasions/contexts given. Hence, different styles are created. ? See [1.1], [1.2] on P2 ? a). My beloved father has joined the heavenly choir. (a solemn funeral with strong religious atmosphere) ? B) My dear father has passed a way. (a formal occasion) ? C) My father has died. (informal occasion) ? D) My old man has kicked the bucket. (very casual occasion, also show non-respect to the dead) 5) Style Related to Functions of Texts (why is sth expressed) ? Different texts have different functions, e.g. to transfer information, to call upon people’s action, to express writer’s feeling, etc. To achieve these functions may require different forms/styles in writing. ? e.g. [1.16] on P9 Exercise ? Read following sentences and try to identify what functions they perform and what stylistic differences there are: ? no smoking (to give order) ? I’m lovin’ it (to appeal and call upon action) ? This lunar beauty / Has no history / Is complete and early… (to express feeling) ? In this contract, the terms hereinafter are understood as follows： make clear (to terms to be observed) ? Graves’ ophthalmopathy usually occurs in association with hyper-thyroidism. (to give academic information) ? 1.2. Definitions of Style ? In plain language, style is different ways of expressing the same or different things by different people for different purposes in different times. ? These factors often function jointly to decide a specific style. ? The major concern of style is “to use proper words in proper places” Definitions given by dictionaries: ? Style is “the manner of expression in writing or speaking which changes at all times according to the actual situational elements, e.g., the participants, time, place, topic, etc. of the communicative events, from very formal to very
informal.” ? -----Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics 1.3. Stylistics 1.3.1. The Definition ? Stylistics is a branch of linguistics which studies style in a scientific and systematic way concerning the linguistic features of different varieties of language at different levels. 1.3.2 The Scope of Study 1) General Stylistics: the study of different varieties of language. ? --- according to fields of discourse, with the related functions of language: news reports, advertisements, public speeches, novels, poetry, legal documents, scientific thesis, etc. ? --- according to attitude: formal language, informal language, etc. ? --- according to medium: spoken language, written language, etc. ? Our focus of study is on general stylistics in relation to mode and different fields. 2) Literary Stylistics ? Broadly speaking, literary stylistics studies variations characteristic of different literary genres—poetry, prose, novels, drama, etc. Literary stylistics concentrate on literary significance as well as linguistic choices in literary texts. It also studies the different styles of individual authors and their works, as well as period styles. We will touch upon this field as a variety of language but it is not our major concern in this course. 3) Theoretical Stylistics ? Theoretical stylistics studies the theories, the origin, the trend, and the historical development of stylistics as well as characteristics of different branches of stylistics. It also studies the relationships between stylistics and other branches of learning. This discipline is usually major concern of post graduate course and thus is not our focus. 1.4. The Needs for Stylistics ? Why do we study stylistics? 1) Style is an integral part of meaning. It gives us additional information of a text/ utterance (e.g. the speaker ’ s regional and social origin, education background, his/her relationship with the hearer, his/her feelings, emotions or attitudes, the occasion and purpose of the discourse, etc.) ? With a sense of style, we can arrive at a better understanding of a text/utterance. ? Let us look at the following example. ? [1.17] ? Policeman: What’s your name, boy? ? Black physician: Dr. Poussaint. I’m a physician. ? Policeman: What’s your first name, boy? ? Black physician: Alvin.
When the term “boy” is used to address a kid, it shows the friendliness of the speaker. But when this form is used insistently to address a physician, who is usually addressed respectfully in the United States as “Dr. So-and-so, it shows the policeman’s racist contempt and prejudice against black people. ? As EFL learners, we often fail to notice those stylistic subtleties which contribute significantly to meaning. Stylistics—the study of style—may help us develop a consistent method of language analysis and solve problems of interpretation by bringing into focus the stylistically significant features that we might otherwise overlook. 2) Stylistics may help us to acquire a keener language sense. ? A sense of style is an important part of one’s language sense, i.e. the intuitive knowledge about linguistic appropriateness. A native speaker of English knows how to adjust his style of language to different types of situation: at home or in court; with friends or with strangers; writing a love letter or a scholarly paper. ? If we wish to communicate in English successfully, we too need to develop a “semi-instinctive sense of style” Stylistics may help us speed up this process . of acquisition by giving us access to different language varieties and by encouraging us to participate the problem-solving activity and to do practical analysis by ourselves so as to facilitate our sensitivity to language variation. 1.5. Procedure & Principles of Stylistic Analysis ? How do we do stylistic analysis? ? 1. Levels of Linguistic Description ? In a stylistic analysis, features of a text are analyzed and described at different linguistic levels, which include: ? -- the phonological/graphological level: the system of speech sound and the writing system ? -- the lexical level: vocabulary ? -- the syntactical level: sentence structure ? -- the semantic level: overall text pattern, cohesion and coherence in meaning realization, etc. ? 2. Principles of Analysis ? --- the principle of frequency ? Generally, we recognize a style only when certain language features occur frequently or prevail in a text to become the salient / important features. In our analysis, we often need to calculate /compute frequencies of certain language features in order to substantiate our observation. ? For instance, in order to verify the observation that the style of a certain text is formal/informal, we need to know the percentage of content words, the percentage of Latinate/Anglo-Saxon words, the ratio of dependent to independent sentences, and other linguistic data. ? --- the principle of comparison ? The distinction of style cannot be perceived without comparison.
A regional style is defined by matching it against Standard English; an individual’s style against that of a group of people; the style of literary language against that of non-literary language. --- the principle of placing a text Similarly, the linguistic features of a given text should be compared with a set of relative norms of language in use (e.g. relative norms for spoken/written varieties, for formal/informal style, for literary or technical style, etc. ) This is called the placing of a text. By doing so, we can judge whether the given text conforms with or deviates from the convention/norms. When analyzing non-literary language varieties, we focus more on conformity with the relative norms.