The problem of colloquial style

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STYLE
Lecture 2
1 The notion of style
The main notions

Style – variation in language use, whether
literary or non-literary.

Register – those systemic variations in
linguistic features common to particular nonliterary situation e.g., advertising, legal
language, sports commentary.

Style-shifting – variation of style according to
medium and degree of formality.
Definition

Style –
 a distinctive set or sum of
linguistic features
 that seem to be characteristic
 of register, genre or period, etc.

Author’s style –
 the set of
features,
 peculiar to, or characteristic of an author,
 his or her language habits or idiolect.
Each – the same stock, but – choice!
Choice in style

Style – in terms of choice:
 the selection of
features
 partly determined by the demands of
 genre,
 form,
 themes, etc.

All utterances have a style,
even if they might seem relatively “plain” of
unmarked: a plain style is itself a style.
2. Classification of functional styles
Definition of functional style

Prof. V. Vinogradov’s and I. Halperin’s view:
a functional style is
 a system of
 coordinated
and interrelated, interconditioned
language means
 intended to fulfill a specific function
 and aiming at a definite effect.
Functional styles
are products of a certain concrete task set
by the sender of the message.
 appear mainly in the literary standard of a
language.
 Taken together all the FSs make up the
entire system of language:

 each
FS = neutral language means + specific
elements.
Prof. Skrebnev’s view:


language contains an indefinite number of
sublanguages,
each subL. contains all the signs of language,


Each subL. consists of units of 3 classes:
1.
2.
3.

but it serves a specific sphere of communication.
absolutely specific units
semi-specific units
common (neutral) units (enter into all sublanguages).
FS is the sublanguage specificity – all that is
specific in a sublanguage belongs to style.
The problem of classification

Is the colloquial style a FS or does it belong
to oral speech?

Is there a specific poetic style?

How many FSs are there in a language?

Any classification -> simplification and is
conventional and arbitrary.
Changes in FSs
Each FS is a relatively stable system at a
given stage of the development of the
language.
 But it changes from one period to another,
influenced by

 changing
social conditions,
 the progress of science and culture,
 the development of language.
Classifications

Prof. Budagov:
1.
2.

the language of science +
the language of emotive literature.
Prof. Naer - 3 mega styles catering for:
1.
2.
3.
the sphere of professional and business
communication;
the sphere of mass communication;
the sphere of aesthetic communication.
The major universally accepted FSs:
1.
The language of belle-lettres



2.
the language of poetry
the language of emotive prose
the language of drama


the language of oratory
the language of essays
feature articles in newspapers


5.


brief news items
newspaper headings
notices and advertisements


6.
the language of the humanities;
the language of the exact
sciences;
popular science prose.
The
style
documents:

The newspaper style

The style of scientific prose:

The publicistic style

3.
4.
of
official
the language of diplomatic
documents
the language of legal documents
the language of
military
documents
The colloquial style - ?
The style of scientific prose
Scientific prose proper
Popular science prose
General characteristics
The purpose – to prove a hypothesis, to
create new concepts, to disclose laws, to
describe different phenomena
 => the language means of the style are
objective, precise, unemotional and devoid
of individuality.
 Generalized forms of expression,
 new words are often coined.

Lexical features
the excessive use of terms;
 literary and neutral words mainly in their
direct meanings;
 complete absence of standard
colloquialisms, dialect, slang or vulgar
words;
 comparatively limited vocabulary;
 smaller range of word-building patterns,
 selective use of pronouns (I – we).

Terms

- a word used in a branch of science in its
direct referential meaning to name a
certain scientific concept.
 Greek and Latin words and forms
 (datum

– data, formula – formulae),
abbreviations
 (TB),

polysemantic words – avoided.
Syntactic features

Structures prompted strictly by logical
thinking:
 On
the one hand, … on the other hand…
 Firstly …, secondly …
 The former …, the latter …
Participial constructions – before the
modified word.
 Complex sentences prevail over compound
sentences.

Trends within scientific prose

science prose proper
 all

of the above
popular scientific prose
 the author
has to bring his idea home,
 he uses comparisons with things known to the
reader,
 metaphors which would illustrate his point,
 but: their function – purely communicative.
Summary
The use of terms.
2. The absence of any contextual meanings.
3. The logical sequence of utterances.
4. A developed and varied system of connectives –
to indicate the interrelation between sentences.
5. The use of quotations and references.
6. The frequent use of footnotes.
7. The impersonality of writing – mainly revealed in the
frequent use of passive constructions.
8. The frequent use of the following words:
1.
suppose, assume, presume, conclude, infer, point out, etc.
The belle-lettres style
•
the language of poetry
•
the language of emotive prose
•
the language of drama
Function

Halperin:
the main function – aesthetic-cognitive.

The reader is made
 to see
the writer’s vision of the world,
 to participate
in the act of creation,
 to experience
the pleasure derived from the form.
Linguistic features
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Genuine imagery achieved by linguistic
stylistic devices.
The use of words in contextual meanings.
The individual choice of vocabulary – reflects
the author’s personal evaluation of things.
A peculiar individual selection of syntax –
reflects the author’s frame of mind.
The inclusion of elements from other styles,
especially from the colloquial style.
The language of emotive prose
changes from author to author;
 the imagery is not so rich as it is in poetry;
 combination of the literary variant of the
language (both in words and syntax) with
the colloquial variant;
 two forms of communication:

 monologue
(the writer’s speech)
 and dialogue (the speech of the characters).
The language of drama




almost entirely dialogue, but – stylized;
the author’s speech – the playwright’s remarks
and stage directions.
16th century plays – iambic pentameter,
rhymed or unrhymed (dramatic poetry);
late 18th century – revival of drama:

individualization of each character’s speech ,
 language
– a stylistic type of the spoken variety.
Characteristic features of drama
1)
redundancy of information:
the necessity to amplify the utterance for the sake of the
audience;
2)
the spoken language tends to curtail utterances,
but – not so extensive as it is in actual dialogues;
3)
4)
the monologue in plays is never interrupted;
a succession of questions
(never in ordinary conversation);
5)
the language of plays is already purposeful
(the sequence of sentences reflects the sequence of thought
and is directed by the playwright).
The language of poetry

Classical poetry – normative, it was
regulated by rigid rules:
 common words were
banished,
 special lofty, elevated vocabulary was prescribed;
 the pronouns of the 2nd person singular
 (thou, thine, thyself).
The language of poetry
Modern poetry – nearer to colloquial
speech,
 but – traditions in the rhythmic and
phonetic arrangement of the utterance:

 syntax and
semantics comply with the restrictions
imposed by the rhythmic pattern
 semantics: brevity of expression, epigram-like
utterances and fresh unexpected imagery;
 syntax: elliptical, fragmentary sentences, detached
constructions, inversion, asyndeton, etc.
Component patterns of rhythm
1)
2)
alternation of stressed and unstressed
syllables;
equilinearity
(equal number of syllables in each line);
3)
a natural pause at the end of the line
(the line – a more or less complete semantic unit);
4)
5)
identity of stanza pattern;
established pattern of rhyming.
The language of poetry

Modern versification sometimes deviates
from these rules, free verse borders on
prose.
The most important feature of the poetic
substyle – its volume of emotional
colouring.
 Emotiveness is compressed and substantial.


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