Nadia Morarasu - An Introduction to English Stylistics

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UNIVERSITATEA VASILE ALECSANDRI DIN BACU FACULTATEA DE LITERE

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An Introduction to English Stylistics

AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH STYLISTICS

Lect. Dr. NADIA MORRAU

2011 AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH STYLISTICS

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An Introduction to English Stylistics

1. STYLES OF DEFINING VS. DEFINING STYLES 1.1. STYLES OF DEFINING In philosophy, a definition is the specification of the meaning of an expression relative to a language. Defining is a process of classifying and distinguishing by: by explanation as in a dictionary entry (A woman is a an adult female) by giving examples (A liberal is a man like Jefferson; That is a snowfall). by negating (A voyage is a kind of journey but not on land). by comparing and contrasting (A magazine is sometimes as big as a book but it differs in binding and layout). by foregrounding some constitutive parts (A novel may be regarded as exposition, plot, development of actions, climax and denouement). by trying to find a cause of the thing in question or an effect produced by that thing (Scurvy is the result of a dietary deficiency and often leads to anemia); by seeing a thing as a way of fulfilling a purpose, as the end of something (Representation is the end of the electoral system and the means to good government). TASKS 1. Define a word giving at least three definitions: dictionary entry; comparing and contrasting; suggesting something metaphorically. by suggesting something metaphorically (An interpreter is a road knower)

2. From denotation to connotation (from neutral to expressive words) What is a writer? Denotative definition: a writer is a person who writes. Metaphorical definition: a weaver of words/of linguistic threads. Give similar metaphorical definitions for specialists in different fields (professionals).

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An Introduction to English Stylistics

3. Observe the means of defining money in the following examples and comment upon the type of definition with each of them: CONVENTIONAL/DENOTATIVE DEFINITIONSo o Money is an accounting device (economic models, Ingham 1996). Money is a measure of value (or unit of account); a medium of exchange; a standard of deferred payment; and a store of value. (Ingham 1996)

METAPHORICAL DEFINITIONS "The metaphor is probably the most fertile power possessed by man." (Jose Ortega y Gasset, The Dehumanization of Art, 1948)o Money is power (for businesses, politicians, and marketers) 'Money talks' because money is a metaphor, a transfer, and a bridge. Like words and language, money is a storehouse of communally achieved work, skill, and experience." (Marshall McLuhan in Understanding Media (1964), p. 136) Money is a liquid. My money is all dried up. Hes solvent/insolvent. Don't pour your money down the drain. Money is both a drug, a strong incentive and an efficient tool (psychologists: Webley and Lea, 2005) Think how terrible the fascination of money is! I see this, and hate this, and dread this, and don't know but that money might make a much worse change in me. And yet I have money always in my thoughts and my desires; and the whole life I place before myself is money, money, money, and what money can make of life!' (Dickens, Little Dorrit, Book 3, Ch. 4, p. 521) Money is an object of desire (the key element in the discourse of the fortune-hunter). 'I have made up my mind that I must have money, Pa. I feel that I can't beg it, borrow it, or steal it; and so I have resolved that I must marry it.' () 'Have resolved, I say, Pa, that to get money I must marry money. In consequence of which, I am always looking out for money to captivate.' (Dickens, Little Dorrit, Book 2, p. 375) Money is the real brain of all things. (The Power of Money, Marx, 1844) Money is the root of all evil. Money, then, appears as this distorting power both against the individual and against the bonds of society, etc., which claim to be entities in themselves. It transforms fidelity into infidelity, love into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant, idiocy into intelligence, and intelligence into idiocy. (The Power of Money, Marx, 1844) every day he changes for the worse, and for the worse. Not to me he is always much the same to me but to others about him. Before my eyes he grows suspicious, capricious, hard, tyrannical, unjust. If ever a good man were ruined by good fortune, it is my benefactor. (Dickens, Little Dorrit, Book 3, Ch. 4, p. 521)

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An Introduction to English Stylistics

1.2. DEFINING STYLES The word style is derived from the Latin word stilus which meant a short, stick, sharp at one end and flat at the other, used by the Romans for writing on wax tablets. WHAT IS STYLE? Style is a means of communicating ones ideas, thoughts and emotions in an expressive way; Style is a way of showing the function of language/ implies registering language and requires statistics, analysis of grammar, stylistic devices; A way of individualizing an act of speaking or writing; A way of involvement (how to express something in a neutral or expressive way); A way of catching attention; A cultural mark/sign; An individual choice and arrangement of linguistic units according to the context (specific WHERE/WHEN), in order to convey a message; An application of words with certain intentionality; Embellishment of language; The correspondence between thought and expression Style is ticks (Cmeciu, 2007); Style is a shell surrounding a pre-existing core of thought or expression (Enkvist, 1965). Le style est lhomme mme" (Style is the man himself) (Buffon, 1753). Arthur Schopenhauer: "Style is the physiognomy of the mind. It is more infallible than that of the body. To imitate the style of another is said to be wearing a mask. However beautiful it may be, it is through its lifelessness insipid and intolerable, so that even the most ugly living face is more engaging.1" "Essentially style resembles good manners. It comes of endeavoring to understand others, of thinking for them rather than yourselfor thinking, that is, with the heart as well as the head." (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch) Style is a going back to the root of the words (Cmeciu, 2007).

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Excerpted from Essays of Shopenhauer, On Authorship http://www.fullbooks.com/Essays-of-Schopenhauerx13261.html.

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An Introduction to English Stylistics

The concept of style is so broad that it is hardly possible to regard it as a term. We speak of style in architecture, literature, behaviour, linguistics, dress and other fields of human activity. On the basis of the definitions of style and of most familiar collocations with style, we can identify an impressive number of style labels:

latest, modern, new vs. classical, old, old-fashioned, traditional style of management; characteristic, distinctive, individual, inimitable, original, personal style of humour; authoritarian or autocratic, participative or democratic, delegative, benevolent, coaching, consultative, manipulative, bureaucratic style of leadership; impulsive, irrational, aggressive vs. passive, assertive vs. non-assertive behaviour style ; elegant, lively, flamboyant, glossy, glitzy, ostentatious vs. plain, simple, unaffected style of dress; formal vs. informal, simple vs. complex, intricate; plain vs. ornate, sarcastic, sardonic, ironic, mocking, caustic, derisive, humorous, ambiguous literary/ narrative/ prose style;

frozen, formal, consultative, casual, and intimate conversational style/ style of speech (Joos, 1959); clear, concise, objective, effective, appropriate vs. inappropriate, ineffective; direct and lean vs. inflated and static writing style etc.

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An Introduction to English Stylistics

2. STYLISTICS: THEORETICAL CONCERNS

The science that has style as its object of study, i.e. stylistics, raises many problems when trying to define it and set its field of investigation. One of the possible solutions could be that of constantly considering it against a background of related domains. There are mainly three perspectives that influence the possible definitions of Stylistics2. 1. There are some theorists who believe that Stylistics should be included either in the field of literature, or in that of linguistics, with any possible compromise: The direction based upon the ambiguity of style itself is adopted by Wales (1991) who states that: Stylistics is the study of style; yet, there are several different stylistic approaches. This variety in Stylistics is due to main influences of linguistics and literary criticism. [...] The goal of most stylistic studies is not simply to describe the formal features of texts for their own sake, but in order to show their functional significance for the interpretation of the text; or in order to relate literary facts to linguistic 'causes' where these are felt to be relevant.3 Taking the debate to one of its extremes, I. R. Galperin assigns stylistics to the area of linguistics exclusively, and gives it two main directions of research as a science. Stylistics, also called linguo-stylistics, is a branch of general linguistics. It deals mainly with two interdependent tasks: a) the investigation of the inventory of special language media which by their ontological 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.4 2. From a different perspective, H. G. Widdowson (1997) suggests a definition of stylistics that sends to its interdisciplinary character, somewhere at the border between literary criticism and linguistics: By 'stylistics' I mean the study of literary discourse from a linguistic orientation and I shall