Stylistics as a branch of linguistic


Stylistics, sometimes 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.

The two objectives of stylistics are clearly discernible as two separate fields of investigation. The inventory of special language media can be analysed and their ontological features revealed if presented in a system in which the co-relation between the media becomes evident.

The types of texts can be analysed if their linguistic components are presented in their interaction, thus revealing the unbreakable unity and transparency of constructions of a given type. The types of texts that are distinguished by the pragmatic aspect of the communication are called functional styles of language (FS); the special media of language, which secure the desirable effect of the utterance, are called stylistic devices (SD) and expressive means (EM).

SDs and EMs necessarily touches upon such general language problems as the aesthetic function of language, synonymous ways of rendering one and the same idea, emotional colouring in language, the interrelations between language and thought, the individual manner of the author in making use of language and a number of other issues.

FSs cannot avoid discussion of such most general linguistic issues as oral and written varieties of language, the notion of the literary (standard) language, the constituents of texts larger than the sentence, the generative aspect of literary texts, and some others.

The branching off of stylistics in language science was indirectly the result of a long-established tendency of grammarians to confine their investigations to sentences, clauses and word-combinations which are “well-formed”, to use a dubious term, neglecting anything that did not fall under the recognized and received standards. This tendency became particularly strong in what is called descriptive linguistics. The generative grammars, which appeared as a reaction against descriptive linguistics, have confirmed that the task of any grammar is to limit the scope of investigation of language data to sentences which are considered well-formed. Everything that fails to meet this requirement should be excluded from linguistics.

But language studies cannot avoid subjecting to observation any language data wherever, so where grammar refuses to tread stylistics steps in. Stylistics has acquired its own status with its own inventory of tools (SDs and EMs), with its own object of investigation and with its own methods of research.



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