A study of English stylistics: Theoretical Background of language and levels of language

Theoretical Background of language: English stylistics

In order to understand what practical English stylistics is, study a text and ask yourself questions like why particular features of language have been used and not others.

Stylistics are used to determines the form of language as being used and the effects of that particular variety used

Stylistics also helps us to understand that language has several varieties which are distinctive to each other

Stylistics also makes us appreciate that when using language one must learn to respond with the appropriate variety according to the circumstances.

Through stylistics we learn to analyze speaking and writing habits.

Through stylistics we learn to explain why people use language the way they do in different situations e.g news reporting.

Meaning of style

  1. Style is the manner of expression in speaking and writing

Style can also be know as the various ways of saying something

  1. Variation in Language Use

Language variation varies depending on the status and social situation

Variation can also be brought about by degree of formality

Style can vary depending on the oral written. Style also varies from one period to another.

  1. Style is a set of linguistic features characterized by the language aspect of a person
  2. Style is comparing a set of gestures with another in terms of deviation from the norm for instance, semantic rule and phonological rule
  3. Style can also refer to literally language for instance satire, irony and sarcasm

Requirements before stylistics analysis

  1. Beware of the structure that a language has
  2. Be aware of the kind of social variation that language features have
  3. Must have techniques that can used to put down stylistic features in a systematic manner

Two categories o stylistics

  1. Literary stylistics

It is done on the purpose of commenting on the quality of a text. It also assists in understanding the meaning of a text.

In literary stylistics one goes ahead to give additional information that will assist in understanding the text

  1. Linguistic stylistics

Linguistic stylistics deals with identification of language patterns in written text and spoken. Here the question of why particular elements of language have been used arises.

Importance of stylistics devices

It is assists in cultivating a sense of appropriate language use

Helps establish discourse peculiarity

Sharpens our understanding and appreciation of literary works

Helps us achieve adaptation during translation

Helps one in giving a fair judgment in a piece of work

Terminologies used in language stylistic

  1. Features

Any bit of speech or writing that you can single out from a particular piece of writing

Common core features-

Levels of stylistic features

  1. Phonetic/Graphetic level of
  2. Phonological/Graphological level
  3. Grammatical Level
  4. Lexical Level
  5. Semantic level
  6. Phonetic/graphitic features

Graphetic contains features that help to foreground a text eg (italics, underlining, bolding, irregular spelling, capitalization, font size)

Phonetic features comprises of spoken languages e.g voice quality

  1. Phonological/Graphological level Language

In graphologial level of you consider features like punctuations, spellings, spacing of words

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In phonological you consider repetition of sounds, intonation, stress, rhythm and rhyme

  1. Grammatical level

Divided into different components

  1. Intersentential relationships

Look at the various devices used to link sentences in grammar for instance logical word (firstly), contrast words (however), result words (therefore) and comparison words (likewise, similarly) among other.

Sentence psychology

Look at the sentence in terms of length (short and long sentences)

Sentence structure

Simples sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, and complex compound sentences

Sentence functions

For instance, those that uses interrogative sentences

  1. Clauses

Look at the different types of English clause I.e phrases

  1. Word typology

The internal structure of a word. i.e word fixation-compounded words (carbohydrate), suffixes and prefixes

  1. Lexical level

Look at individual words and their pattern of combination
-nature of vocabulary (use of simple or difficult words, vocabulary is archaic or modern, words used are concrete or abstract)

-lexical relations that exists between words (use of synonyms, antonyms, use of unique words, use of borrowed words e.g Kikuyu word in an English text)

  1. Semantic level

The meaning of the entire text

Dimensions of Linguistic features

They are divided into two.

  1. Dimension according to user
  2. Dimensions according to use

Dimensions According To User

They include factors that arise from a person

  1. Factors of individuality-handwriting, lexical levels-words that one is fond of using.
  2. Dialect-include word pronunciation
  3. Time factor-The choice of vocabulary is highly dictated and effected by the period in which the particular text us produced
  4. Similarity features-similarity features are normally temporary.

Conditions/dimensions with use

  1. Medium-medium of communication affects the way language is used. Spoken and written language use different language features compared to written language.
  2. Nature of participation-different language is used in a monologue and dialogue,

Language Varieties

Complex medium-

News Broadcast-

Features of province-identify user to a particular profession, occupational,

Status- corresponds with the social standing of an individual. Status affects lexical and grammatical level.

Modality-comprise of specific features that are chosen deliberately to produce an overall conversionalised format of language (a report, letter, speech….)

 Questions that can help one analyze a text

  1. What does the text tell us about the person using it? (Individuality)
  2. Does it tell you about where the person is from? (Regional dialect)
  3. Which social class does the person belong to? (status/social dialect)
  4. Which period of English was the text written (Time)
  5. Does the text involve speaking or writing? (Discourse medium)
  6. How many participants are there in text participation (monologue or dialogue)
  7. Which specific act are the users engaged in? (Province)
  8. What social relationship exists between the users (status)
  9. Is there a specific format that is being used (Modality)
  10. Was the user deliberately manipulating certain features in the language use (Similarity)

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