Stylistics means – saying the right thing in the most effective way!
Stylistics refers to the manner of expressions in writing and speaking. There is different style in different situation. Style can be seen as variation in language use, whether literary or non-literary. What makes style distinctive is the choice of words and their distribution and patterning. General rules of good writing are the following: be plain, be direct, use no more words than necessary, use active voice rather than passive voice where there is a choice. A message is clear and simple if it is well adapted to the reading audience and if it is understood when first read. We should use short simple sentences where every word counts. Stylistic analysis in linguistics refers to the identification of patterns of usage in speech and writing. Stylistic analysis in literary studies is usually made for the purpose of commenting on quality and meaning in a text. Stylistic analysis is a normal part of literary studies. It is practiced as a part of understanding the possible meanings in a text. It is also generally assumed that the process of analysis will reveal the good qualities of the writing. Stylistic analysis can be applied to a variety of subjects as follows:
I. Characteristics of Styles
Forms and Functions: legal documents (court records, pledging, adjudication), business/commercial documents (order, invoice, application, memorandum, business letter), military documents (directives, instructions), language of diplomacy (pacts, treaties).
Characteristic features: conventionality of language – clichés, terms, abbreviations, symbols, set expressions and words of foreign origin, passive voice; clarity – clarity of thought and simplicity of expression, logical, primary dictionary meaning of words; objectivity – avoid expressive and emotionally marked words, personal attitudes and evaluations, the speaker is presented in first p.sg. /almost anonymous/ and the addressee is impersonal, addressed in the second p.pl.; form – set compositional design – layout, formal letters, forms
Style in business correspondence, like language itself, is not a static entity. It has changed over the years to meet the varying needs of its users, and it continues to do so.
In many cases, this process of change had led to the situation in which writers have a range of alternatives available to them regarding aspects of letter-writing style. Forms and Functions: mainly written material, especially commercial correspondence – offers, orders, invoices, claims and complaints, dunning letters, business agenda – functions of business style is to inform, to persuade and to cooperate.
Characteristic features: traditional, sometimes bookish, syntactically and lexically stereotypical, unambiguous, lack of emotionality
LANGUAGE OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS:
Forms and Functions: legal texts having performative character and serving as everlasting commands, language of legal documents must avoid opportunities for misinterpretations – functions are specific graphic layout, emphasis of visual aspects – capitalization, interpunction, etc.
Characteristic Features: frequent repetitions, omission of personal pronouns him/her/it, sentence pattern, post modification is preferred to pre modification, pre determiner “such” used without an indefinite article; frequent use of pair synonyms one of domestic and one of latin origin (terms and conditions, use and exercise), words with abstract meaning (request, proposal), modal verbs (may, shall), archaisms (herein, before, aforesaid), less readable, complicated; syntactical features – long, complex, yet clearly built up sentences, due to the legal practice of earlier times we also find so extremely long punctuated sentence structures; use of capital letters at the crucial points of the document – the text then becomes more easily survivable; officialese is sometimes found in various legal contracts
POPULAR SCIENTIFIC STYLE:
Forms and Functions: Written form, textbooks, manuals, descriptive form, frequent usage of graphics – illustrations, graphs, sketches, etc.
– functions of PSS are to spread knowledge about the latest development of science and technology among the lay public – becomes affected by colloquial and publicists style, belletry style
Characteristic features: additional information, very remarkable didactic elements, shorter sentences, expressive language, synonyms, paraphrases, more emotionally colored language; terminology – the number of terms in the text is minimized, rather words of general meanings, used terms are explained or followed by an example; instead of abbreviations, use the whole word or expressions; scientific style becomes popularized by means of media; in style closer to description
SCIENTIFIC STYLE OR TECHNICAL STYLE:
Forms and Functions: to communicate scientifically determined knowledge effectively, clearly in words of certain meanings; functions is mainly written, monological utterance, textbooks, scientific studies, research, case studies, lack of extra linguistic context (gesture, intonation), formal unity and wholeness of the utterance, less complex syntax (lack of expressive constructions), condensed utterance
Characteristic features: lack of extra linguistic context (intonation, gestures), formal unity and wholeness of the utterance, less complex syntax (lack of expressive constructions) condensed utterance; usage of passive construction, objective views, focus on particular data and phenomena e.g. passive constructions frequently used with suppose, assume, presume, conclude, infer, point out, emphasize, inferred, impersonal point of view; usage of modal verbs – statements are presented carefully, sometimes lose their modal character, should preferred to must, modals used primarily in hypotheses and drawing conclusions; characteristic constructions; usage of participles, gerunds and infinitives, e.g. friction losses, steam consumption, steam corrosion inhibition – hard to translate; usage of terms – elimination of emotionality and expressiveness, terms specific to each branch of science, some terms can circulate among the branches of science and gain new meanings, new terms become established quite fast – coining, terms should be followed or proceeded by explanation, usage of Latin terms, abbreviations, usage of quotations and reverences – definite compositional pattern; defining – simple, active, affirmative, declarative sentences, relative clauses, definitions are a kind of clincher sentences; logical sequence of utterance – clear indication of interrelations and interdependence, e.g.
thus, however, therefore, moreover, then, in fact, in general, don’t omit that, which, don’t use ellipses, progress from the theme to the rhyme, most sentences don’t start with the subject, avoid ambiguity, precisely formulated statements
Forms and functions: to inform, to persuade, reflects the state of society, form people’s attitudes; functions of PS is newspapers, magazines, TV, editorials, columns, articles, mixed forms – reviews, essays, report, feature story
Characteristic features: clarity and accuracy of utterance, professional language not necessary, only generally known terms, use of periphrastic expressions, journalistic clichés; emphasis on situational/cultural context; positive/negative evaluative adjectives – persuasive function; impersonal expressions – 1st person singular for both the author as well as the addressee (“we say”); emotionally marked language, familiar expressions, euphemisms, metaphors; terminology – military, administration, politics, diplomacy, economy
Related Styles – Sub styles: publicists – analytical; informative, journalistic, newspaper style; literary – belletristic
Forms and Functions: short news, communiqué/statement, announcement, advertisement, set lay-out, limited space; functions of NS is to inform, instruct the reader, provide facts and information without commentaries, to deliver news to a wide readership
Characteristic features: neutral and clear language, special concepts, neologisms, semantic condensate, in titles, headlines slang, familiar, colloquial expressions, cliché (bitter end, calm before the storm); short sentences max 20 words, simple sentences esp. at the beginning, well structured, logical sequence; frequent use of adjectives, providing details, quotations, references; special form of titles, headlines
Characteristic features: the most condensed piece of information, maximum of information on minimum of space – use of special headline vocabulary (ban, bid, crack, cut, dash, hit, move – monosyllabic words, short, universal character); abbreviated words, nominal constructions, omission of articles and auxiliaries, use of hyphens, abbreviations, numbers; nominal/condensed constructions – Fishermen sailing today, Rail Safety Call; finite verb forms are frequently omitted (Our delegation back from USA); replacements of periphrastic verbal forms, such as those of the continuous tenses or of the present, etc., by the historical present tense (NATO ministers meet in Brussels) or by some nominal form derived from the verbal basis (Labor examining the situation), frequent use of gerunds and infinitives (The Government to meet next Monday); alliteration, puns – Trade Union Unity, Conspirator-in-Chief; long words replaced by the short ones in newspaper captions; much shorter paragraphs (6-8 lines)
COLLOQUIAL STYLE/SIMPLE COMMUNICATIVE STYLE:
Characteristic features: contracted verbal forms of the type I’ll, didn’t, couldn’t, etc.
– not considered a stylistic error, it is one of the norms characteristic for colloquial style; syntactical features – dropping of the pronominal subject, especially in the first person singular, but also in the third person – must be supported by particular context, occurrence of a complex sentence of the copulative type regarded useful in colloquial style; colloquial or slangy phrases or lexical items;
STYLE OF ARTS
BELLES-LETTERS STYLE = LANGUAGE OF LITERATURE
Forms and functions: fiction, epics, lyrics, drama, not factually oriented literature pieces, also an essay, which is a transitory literary work on the borderline between fiction and non-fiction literature; functions – to arouse emotions, to stimulate people’s thinking, imagination to entertain, etc.; very frequently can mix elements characteristic of all the other styles or use at least parts of them; functions - communication and aesthetic effect, which is achieved by poeticisation contributed by the artist’s creative talent as well as his mastery of certain stylistic processes
Characteristic features: highly emotional, subjective, expressive or onomatopoetic; focus on structure which helps to create a tone, a particular effect, to evoke emotions, to support the theme, etc.; some literary pieces have strictly defined form and characteristic lay-out, especially in poetry; kinds of meaning writers use: literal meaning, figurative meaning, symbolic meaning, ironic meaning, compromises different sub styles
One very important feature of good style is that it must be entirely appropriate for the task it is performing. This means that the author must take into account audience, form, and function. Style might be good, yet hardly noticeable - because it is concentrated on effective communication. This is sometimes known as 'transparent' good style. In most writing however, 'good style' is normally associated with verbal inventiveness and clever manipulation of the elements of literary language. Style, in any kind of speech or writing, is extremely important to the overall function of communication. The style is appropriate to the context in which it occurs. A discordant style is produced by the inclusion of a feature, which does not fit the stylistic context of the piece.