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Stylistics 2.doc
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Устинова Елена Сергеевна, 8 лекций


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Гальперин И.Р. Stylistics

Арнольд И.В Стилистика английского языка

Лебедева Л.Б. 10 lectures in stylistics

Комисарова Р.Е. Seminars in stylistics

Introduction to S

The notion of style in broad and narrow perspectives. Definitions of style.

The objects of S

Linguo-stylistics vs. literary S. Stylistics of encoding and decoding the author’s message.

Foregrounding vs. automatisation. Convergence.

Connotation and denotation. Kinds of connotation.

Sources of language connotation.

Style in a broad perspective is a manner of doing something, a manner of performing a specific kind of activity. Etymologically style goes to the Greek stylos (Latin - stylus). Style is the manner of writing, but it also extends to speaking. Style is the product of the individual choices and patterns of choices among linguistic possibilities (S. Chatman). By patterns he means vocabulary and syntax typical of an oral or written text (discourse) produced with a special purpose in this or that typical communicative situation. S studies the following objects:

It may study various trends in literature and its peculiar characteristics.

To teach students of the language to write effective essays, etc.

Can study a set of expressive means that a language possesses.

To examine various functional styles that is types of discourse which require typical patterns of choices which are of different functions and specific target audience.

S can also study the peculiarities of a writer that make him or her unique and recognizable.

The peculiarities of a specific work of fiction, because sometimes the writer's vision may remain practically the same or it may alter, the system of expressive means can be almost unrecognizable.

Two last points belong to textual S.

Branches of S:

From the view point of the objects


Linguo-S (system of expressive means) Textual S (including literary, уникальное авторское слово)

Functional S (речи)

Approaches to analysis

S of encoding

The author’s message, when we read the text bit by bit

S of decoding

the author’s message

Every act of reading or listening is a dialog between the sender of the information and the recipient. That is as we read the title of a book, what does the author means. (reading of the whole text)

Aspects of S






4. The longer a piece of fiction is, the more textual elements are likely to be used merely to convey factual information. A very short text (haiku or an epigram) nearly every word or perhaps every functional detail carries. They have meaning beyond the language meaning.

When a textual element conveys nothing but facts we perceive it automatically that is we take it for granted.

Sometimes a textual element leaps to the eye. This happens when it violates predictability. And such elements are for-grounded (выдвижение \ актуализация).

A textual element can become for-grounded when the author invents a new word or a double meaning of the same word (pun) or repetition or metaphor.

As to factual details, they may also become for-grounded, but very often it happens in retrospect.

Convergence – схождение. – coming together at one point. It means that two or more expressive means help each other within a rather limited context to produce the desired effect.

5. Connotation. Kinds and sources.

Denotation is the factual meaning of a word. Connotation comes from con (together) and notare (to mean). It suggests an additional shade of meaning of rendering an emotion, attitude, a general tone. Not every word possesses connotation. If a word is neutral and has no synonyms, then it is usually free of any connotation. But practically any word can acquire C either in a set expression or in the text. Most words are polysemantic and their primary meaning may be devoid of C whereas other meanings may be heavy with C. This often happens with the names of animals (pig, hen, cat). Some words may sound poetic or at least high flown in one meaning and quite neutral in another (expire). Sometimes a neutral word may acquire a poetic meaning in a unique text.

Synonyms may sometimes emerge as textual antonyms due to their textual C.

God made the woman beautiful. And the Devil makes her pretty=tempting. (В. Гюго)


emotive – rendering a feeling (darling, honey, беленький, волчище)

evaluative – matter of reasoning (judgment) obstinate vs. stubborn, miserly vs. thrifty (скупой\бережливый)

expressive – suggests intensity of quality – huge vs. big, grab vs. take, up he jumped

stylistic – adding devices showing style (лик, лицо, рожа), scientific terms

(pragmatic) which are acquired by certain words or set expressions due to certain cultural believes, values, or due to certain events that make an imprint on national consciousness. The Kremlin for rulers.

Esthetic – it depends on the way we perceive the word (телятина, друг)

Lecture 2 14.09.2010

The main sources of connotation

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