The Norm of Language. Standard English. 

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The Norm of Language. Standard English.

The Style of Official Documents. Its Criteria and Linguistic Peculiarities.

There is one more style of language within the field of standard literary English. FS is not homogeneous and is represented by the following substyles or variants:

1) The language of business documents,

2) The language of legal documents,

3) That of diplomacy,

4) That of military documents.

This style has a definite communicative aim and, accordingly, has its own system of interrelated language and stylistic means. The main aim of this type of communication is to state the conditions binding two parties in an undertaking. These parties may be: the state and the citizen, or citizen and citizen; a society and its members (statute or ordinance); two or more enterprises or bodies (business correspondence or contracts); two or more governments (pacts, treaties); a person in authority and a subordinate (orders, regulations, instructions, authoritative directives); a board or presidium and an assembly or general meeting (procedures acts, minutes), etc. The aim of communication in this style of language is to reach agreement between two contracting parties. This most general function of the style of official documents predetermines the peculiarities of the style.

The most striking, though not the most essential feature, is a special system of clichés, terms and set expressions by which each substyle can easily be recognized, for example: beg to inform you, I beg to move, I second the motion, provisional agenda, the above-mentioned, hereinafter named, on behalf of, private advisory, Dear Sir, We remain, your obedient servants. In fact, each of the subdivisions of this style has its own peculiar terms, phrases and expressions which differ from the corresponding terms, phrases and expressions of other variants of this style. Thus in finance we find terms like extra revenue, taxable capacities, liability to profit tax. Terms and phrases like “high contracting parties, to ratify an agreement, memorandum, pact, Charge d'affaires, protectorate, extra-territorial status, plenipotentiary” will immediately brand the utterance as diplomatic. In legal language, examples are: to deal with a case; summary procedure; a body of judges; as laid down in.

Likewise, other varieties of official language have their special nomenclature, which is conspicuous in the text and therefore easily discernible as belonging to the official language style.

Besides the special nomenclature characteristic of each, variety of the style, there is a feature common to all these varietiesthe use of abbreviations, conventional symbols and contractions, for example: M. P. (Member of Parliament), Gvt (government), H.M.S. (His Majesty's Steamship), $ (dollar), Ј (pound), Ltd (Limited).

Another feature of the style is the use of words in their logical dictionary meaning. Just as in the other matter-of-fact styles, and in contrast intrinsically to the belles-lettres style, there is no room for contextual meanings or for any kind of simultaneous realization of two meanings. In military documents sometimes metaphorical names are given to mountains, rivers, hills or villages, but these metaphors are perceived as code signs and have no aesthetic value.

Words with emotive meaning are not to be found in the style of official documents either. Even in the style of scientific prose some words may be found which reveal the attitude of the writer, his individual evaluation of the facts and events of the issue. But no such words are to be found in official style, except those which are used in business letters as conventional phrases of greeting or close, as Dear Sir, yours faithfully.

As in all other functional styles, the distinctive properties appear as a system. We cannot single out a style by its vocabulary only, recognizable though it always is. The syntactical pattern of the style is as significant as the vocabulary, though not perhaps so immediately apparent.

Perhaps the most noticeable of all syntactical features are the compositional patterns of the variants of this style. Thus, business letters have a definite compositional pattern, namely, the heading giving the address of the writer, the date, the name of the addressee and his address. Almost every official document has its own compositional design. Pacts and statutes, orders and minutes, notes and memoranda—all have more or less definite forms, and it will not be an exaggeration to state that the form of the document is itself informative, inasmuch as it tells something about the matter dealt with (a letter, an agreement, an order, etc). In no other style of language will such an arrangement of utterance be found. In fact, the whole document is one sentence from the point of view of its formal syntactical structure. The subject of the sentence 'The Technical Assistance Committee7 is followed by a number of participial constructions— 'Recalling'—, 'Considering'—, 'Considering—, is cut off by a comma from them and from the homogeneous predicates—• 'Asks', 'Decides', 'Requests'. Every predicate structure is numbered and begins with a capital letter just as the participial constructions. This structurally illogical way of combining different ideas has its sense. the reason for such a structural pattern probably lies in the intention to show the equality of the items and similar dependence of the participial constructions on the predicate constructions. "In legal English," writes H. Whitehall, "...a significant judgment may depend on the exact relations between words....The language of the law is written not so much to be understood as not to be misunderstood.».

The overall code of the official style falls into a system of subcodes, each characterized by its own terminological nomenclature, its own compositional form, its own variety of syntactical arrangements.

But the integrating features of all these subcodes, emanating from the general aim of agreement between- parties, remain the following:

1) Conventionality of expression;

2) Absence of any emotiveness;

3) The encoded character of language symbols (including abbreviations) and

4) A general syntactical mode of combining several pronouncements into one sentence.



Newspaper Style. Its Criteria and Linguistic Peculiarities.

(Arnold) Scientists have different approaches to the newspaper style. Some of them consider the language of the newspapers as a separate FS, others – refer it to the publicistic FS. Arnold states that newspaper style has the right to exist as a separate FS, because the system of extralinguistic style-creating elements (which the choice of the linguistic units depend on) is common for many newspapers, what gives us the right to speak about separate newspaper style. Thus FS bears all the l-ge functions. Esthetic and phatic functions are expressed with the help of graphical means: headlines, print, which must attract attention, division of the text, etc.

A newspaper is a source of information, a means of influencing public opinion. It is created for masses of different people. A newspaper tends to present the information in a brief way, presenting only the main ideas, so that even if the person hasn’t read the article up to the end he could understand the main issue and get certain impression. The information presented in the newspapers mustn’t demand some preparatory knowledge from the reader. Dependence on the context must be minimal. Themes may be absolutely different, they only must be actual, acute.


1) Proper names: toponyms, antroponyms, names of organizations, etc.

2) Many numerals. Dates. Many words belonging to the Lexical – grammatical field of plurality, quantity.

3) Etymology. On the one hand - tendency to innovations, on the other – clichés.

4) Denotation. Hugh percent of abstract words, although the information is concrete.

5) Connotation. Abundant use of expressive, evaluative words, high-flown words; high-flown archaic military words for emotional recruitment of the readers.

Headline. Gives the most general orientation about what an article is about. It Sub – headline extends the information, it is also graphically emphasized.

1) Omission of finite verbs, auxiliary verbs.

2) Has predicative character.

3) Use of the p]Present Simple instead of the other tense forms.

4) Use of nominal groups and constructions with left or right attributes. Right attribute is usually expressed with the help of prepositions (preposition “of” is not used).

5) Tendency to the omission of the articles.

6) The finite form of the verb “to be” is usually omissed. So when it appears it is regarded as an emphatic stylistic device.

7) Abbreviations.

8) Words with rich connotation.

9) Epithets.

10) Rhymes. Rhythm.

11) Pun.

12) Evaluation.

13) Attitude to the described facts.

14) Homonyms.

15) Satire.

16) Mystery. It is written in such a form, that it becomes clear only after reading the article.

17) Long attributive chains. It is written in such a form, that it becomes clear only after reading the article.


1) Cut, not word-for-word quoting without inverted commas with the journalist’s comments in commas. – Free direct speech.

2) Quotations in inverted commas with the journalist’s comments and evaluation.


1) Many non-finite verbs.

2) Abundance of complex attributive constructions

3) Special forms of direct and indirect speech.

4) Special word order. Adverbial modifier of time in between the subject and the predicate (because definite time is not so important as to place it in the beginning or in the end of the sentence.)

(Galperin) Newspaper style was the last of all the styles of written literary English to be recognized as a specific form of writing standing apart from other forms. Not all the printed matter found in newspapers comes under newspaper style. The modern newspaper carries material of an extremely diverse character. On the pages of a newspaper one finds not only news and comment on it, press reports and articles, advertisements and announcements, but also stories and poems, crossword puzzles, chess problems and the like. Since the latter serve the purpose of entertaining the reader, they cannot be considered specimens of newspaper style.

It is newspaper printed matter that performs the function of informing the reader and providing him with an evaluation of the information published that can be regarded as belonging to newspaper style. English newspaper style may be defined as a system of interrelated lexical, phraseological and grammatical means which is perceived by the community as a separate linguistic unity that serves the purpose of informing and instructing the reader.

Information and evaluation co-exist in the modern English newspaper, and it is only in teftns of diachrony that the function of information can claim priority. In fact, all kinds of newspaper writing are to a greater or lesser degree both informative and evaluative. But, of course, it is obvious that in most of the basic newspaper "genres" one of the two functions prevails; thus, for example, news of all kinds is essentially informative, whereas the editorial is basically evaluative. I

Information in the English newspaper is conveyed, in the first place, through the-medium of:

1) brief-news items,

2) Press reports (parliamentary, of court proceedings, etc.),

3) Articles purely informational in character,

4) Advertisements and announcements.

To understand the language peculiarities of English newspaper style it will be sufficient to analyze the following basic newspaper features:

1) brief news items,

2) advertisements and announcements,

3) the headline,

4) the editorial.

The principal function of a brief news items is to inform the reader. It states facts without giving explicit comments, and whatever evaluation there is in news paragraphs is for the most part implicit and as a rule unemotional. News items are essentially matter-of-fact, and stereotyped forms of expression prevail. As an invariant, the language of brief news items is stylistically neutral, which seems to be in keeping with the allegedly neutral and unbiased nature of newspaper reporting; in practice, however, departures from this principle of stylistic neutrality (especially in the so-called "mass papers") are quite common.

The principal function of advertisements and announcements, like that of brief news, is to inform the reader. There are two basic types of advertisements and announcements in the modern English newspaper: classified and non-classified. In classified advertisements and announcements various kinds of information are arranged according to subject-matter into sections, each bearing an appropriate name. As for the non-classified advertisements and announcements, the variety of language form and subject-matter is so great that hardly any essential features common to all may be pointed out. The reader's attention is attracted by every possible means: typographical, graphical and stylistic, both lexical and syntactical.

The headline (the title given to a news item or an article) is a dependent form of newspaper writing. It is in fact a part of a larger whole. The specific functional and linguistic traits of the headline provide sufficient ground for isolating and analyzing it as a specific "genre" of journalism. The main function of the headline is to inform the reader briefly what the text that follows is about. But apart from this, headlines often contain elements of appraisal, i.e. they show the reporter's or the paper's attitude to the facts reported or commented on, thus also performing the function of instructing the reader. English headlines are short and catching, they "compact the gist of news stories into a few eye-snaring words. A skillfully turned out headline tells a story, or enough of it, to arouse or satisfy the reader's curiosity. " l In some English and American newspapers sensational headlines are quite common.

The function of the editorial is to influence the reader by giving an interpretation of certain facts. Editorials comment on the political and other events of the day. Their purpose is to give the editor's opinion and interpretation of the news published and suggest to the reader that it is the correct one. Like any evaluative writing, editorials appeal not only to the reader's mind but to his feelings as well. Hence the use of emotionally coloured language elements, both lexical and structural. Whatever stylistic "gems" one may encounter in the newspaper, they cannot obscure the essentially traditional mode of expression characteristic of newspaper English.



1) Proper names: toponyms, antroponyms, names of organizations, etc.

2) Many numerals. Dates. Many words belonging to the Lexical – grammatical field of plurality, quantity.

3) Etymology. On the one hand - tendency to innovations, on the other – clichés.

4) Denotation. Hugh percent of abstract words, although the information is concrete.

5) Connotation. Abundant use of expressive, evaluative words, high-flown words; high-flown archaic military words for emotional recruitment of the readers.



Kuznetz and Skrebnev give the definitions of bookish and colloquial styles. The bookish style is a style of a highly polished nature that reflects the norm of the national literary language. The bookish style may be used not only in the written speech but in oral, official talk. Colloquial style is the type of speech which is used in situation that allows certain deviations from the rigid pattern of literary speech used not only in a private conversation, but also in private correspondence. So the style is applicable both to the written and oral varieties of the terms "colloquial" and "bookish" don't exactly correspond to the oral and written forms of speech. Maltzev suggests terms "formal" and "informal" and states that colloquial style is the part of informal variety of English which is used orally in conversation. Some authors call colloquial functional style a "free style" for it contains some deviations from the strict regularity of the literary speech norm.

Colloquial functional style is a speech style and consequently mostly found in dialogue. It is a style of everyday use. The vocabulary is more free, the syntax more simple, the pronunciation in oral speech more careless.

There are three types of colloquial functional style and the use of them depends on the circumstances, the relations of the speakers:

1. Particular colloquial style

2. Literary colloquial, or

3. Familiar colloquial (low colloquial being illiterate popular speech).

The boundaries between colloquial styles are not very sharply defined, especially concerning their grammatical peculiarities.

Literary colloquial is the speech of educated persons. It is employed in dialogue when the speakers conform to social conventions, when they know each other very little, or their conversation deals with some serious or business topic. Voc used by educated people in the course of ordinary conv or when writing letters to intimate friends. The utterances abound in imaginative phraseology, ready-made formulas of politeness, tags, standard expression of assent, dissent, surprise, pleasure, gratitude,apology.

Compression (phonetic, morphology., syntactic.). Semantically redundant elements are compressed (omission of auxiliary verbs, it’s can’t), simplicity, economy. (The mother kissed the child tears away is more complicated than The mother kissed the child and he stopped crying)

Emotive, phatic functions play a great role in literary-c. st. They are realized in conversational formulas and polite formulas and clichés, which can be expressed syntactically, lexically, morphologically.

The verb “to do” / What’s happened to your strange neighbor? I did hear he’d gone to Australia. /-expresses lack of confidence in these words/// You can’t blame anyone it’s the war. The war does spoil evr, does it? - The speaker is interested in the reaction of interlocutor. “Do” is used in order to express indignation, or admiration, intensification together with the phrases actually, in fact, indeed, really, undoubtedly.

The emotive funct and emphatic impact are achieved in the ex (I do want to go on a donkey. I do want a donkey ride. Ladie’s maid Mansfield.)

Literary colloqual is used in the nlit for children.

1. Whole formulas (There you are, You see, I’m most grateful),

2. set expressions, (for all that, to keep s. on the run.),

3 cases of semi-convert or typical w-groups (to give a scare, to have drink),

4. particles (just, well)

5 understatement (a bit of a scare, I could just do with you)

6. substantivised adj.(greens, woolies)(woolen clothes)

7. New formations (composition /conversion) carry-on, let-down-an unexpected disappointment, make-up

.8. compounds coined by back-formation.(to baby-sit,.).

Colloq E. is very emotional, emotions are expressed with a help of intensifiers, emphatic adverbs, understatement (Gazing down with an expression that was loving, gratified, knowledgeable, she said, " Now I call it a bit of all right. Ex. of heated discussion between the well-bred /educated personages of Snow’s " The Conscience of the rich

8,. Oaths, swear words their euphemistic variants that function as emotional colloq. independent of the context (by God, Goodness gracious) Emotionally charged w. occur in hackneyed comparisons (to work like a devil, like hell, like mad, like anything.

9. Lexical expressions of modality Affirmative/ negative answers (definitely, up to the point, in a way, exactly. I expect so.


1. Elliptical sentences: When do you begin? Tomorrow.

2. Dialogue with catch-up, interruption: So you would naturally say? And mean.

3. Dialogue with repetition: There is some talk of suicide. Suicide? What did he do that for?

4. Syntactically parallel utterances: Will, Dr. Desert, do you find reality in politics now? Do you find reality in anything? Repetition only evaluates the utterance of the interlocutor, while the catch-up contains emotional reaction and new inf. Repetitions exclamations show indignation, mockery. What do you call it? Call it? A big field.



Every period in the development of a lang produces an enormous number of new words or new meanings of established words. Most of them do not live long, they possess a peculiar property —that of temporariness. They are meant only to "serve the occasion. New coin­ages may replace old words and become established in the language as synonyms and later as substitutes for the old words.

The coining of new words generally arises first of all with the need to designate new concepts resulting from the development of science or as a search for a more economical, brief and compact form of utterance.

The first type of newly coined words, i. e. those which designate new­born concepts, may be named terminological coinages. The second type, f. e. words coined because their creators seek expressive utte­rance may be named stylistic coinages.

New words are mainly coined by means of: affixation, compounding, conversion, semantic word-building, blends.

Colloquial coinages - unlike literary ones – spontaneous and elusive. Not all of them are fixed in dictionaries or in writing so most of them disappear.

New literary coinages always bear the brand of individual creation, their mening can be easily grasped because of word-building. The meaning of col.coinages creeps into well-known words imperceptibly. They are not new words, but new meanings.


26. Non-standard (Special colloquial) vocabulary and its stylistic functions

N-st English is the English used by people with little or no education, it is nearly always spoken, seldom written, except in fiction which reproduces this type of speech. It is characterized by the misuse of words, the use of non-standard words, and the corruption of what is now considered a correct or conventional grammatical form. Another characteristic of non-standard English is its limited vo;-falls into the following groups: slang, jargonisms, professional words, dialectal words, vulgar words and colloquial coinages. Function: - to mark inf conversational style; create verisimilitude; may indicate some features of the speaker’s character, his state of mind, his attitude to others, educational level(bookish words, slang), define speaker to its origin, nationality, social standing(dialectal, foreign words), mark character’s occupation(terms, jargonisms), his idiolect (individual speech peculiarities, a means of individualization) Slang seems to mean everything that is below the standard of usage of present-day English. S. is nothing but a deviation from the established norm at the level of the voc of the lan. Slang words, used by most speakers in very infl com, are highly emotive and expressive and as such, lose their originality rather fast and are replaced by newer formations. This tendency to synonymic expansion results in long chains of synonyms of various degrees of expressiveness, denoting one and the same concept.

to do a flit— 'to quit one's flat or lodgings at night without paying the rent or board'


The substandard status of slang words and phrases, through universal usage, can be raised to the standard colloquial: “pal”, “chum,” “crony” for “friend” Jargon is a recognized term for a group of words that exists in almost every lan and whose aim is to preserve secrecy within one or another social group. J-s are generally old words with entirely new meanings imposed on them. Slang (general slang) and jargonisms (special slang) have much in common: are emotive, expressive, unstable, fluctuating, tending to expanded synonymity within certain lexico-semantic groups and limited to a highly informal, substandard communication.

a lark = fun or sport of any kind

a blowing = a girl

Professionalisms, as the term itself signifies, are the words used in a definite trade, profession or calling by people connect­ed by common interests both at work and at home.

block-buster (= a bomb especially designed to destroy blocks of big buildings); piper (=a specialist who decorates pastry with the use of a cream-pipe); a midder case (=a midwifery case); outer (=& knockout blow).

Dialectal words are those which in the process of integration of the English national lan­guage remained beyond its literary boundaries, and their use is gener­ally confined to a definite locality.. In Great Britain 4 major dialects: Lowland Scotch, Northern, Midland (Central) and Southern. In the USA three major dialectal varieties are distinguished: New England, Southern and Midwestern (Central, Midland) ;lass, meaning 'a girl or a beloved girl; hinny from honey Vulgarisms are: expletives and swear words which are of an abusive character, coarse words with a strong emotive meaning, mostly derogatory, normally avoided in polite conversation; 'damn', 'bloody', hell', 'goddam' and, as some dictionaries state, used now as general exclamations; obscene words.

Colloquial coinages (nonce-words) are newly invented words, phrases, usages, which are spontaneous and elusive - You are the limit=unbearable

27. Terms and their stylistic functions. Neologisms.

One of the essential characteristics of a term is highly conventional character. A t. is generally easily coined and easily accepted; and new coinages as easily replace out-dated ones.

One of the most characte­ristic features of a term is its direct relevance to the system or set of terms used in a particular science, discipline or art, i.e. to its nomenclature.

A t. is directly connected with the concept it de­notes; unlike other words, directs the mind to the essential quality of the thing as seen by the scientist in the light of his own conceptualization.

T-s are mostly used in special works dealing with the notions of some branch of science; in other styles— in newspa­per style, in publicistic and practically in all other existing styles of lan. But their f. in this case changes. They do not always fulfill their basic f., that of bearing exact reference to a given con­cept. (the belles-lettres style)- a stylistic f. and consequently become a (sporadical) SD. This happens when a t. is used in such a way that two meanings are materialized simultaneously.

The f. of t-s, if encountered in other styles, is either to indi­cate the technical peculiarities of the subject dealt with, or to make some reference to the occupation of a character whose language would naturally contain special words and expressions.

Many words that were once t-s have gradually lost their quality as t-s and have passed into the common literary or even neutral voc - "de-terminization". ('radio', 'television'). But such de-terminized words may by the force of a SD become re-established in their terminological f. thus assuming a twofold application, which is the feature required of a SD.

Terms may serve the purpose of characterizing the spirit of the hero or the novel; creating special atmosphere.

Neologisms( New words and expressions) are created for new things irrespective of their scale of importance. They may be all-important and concern some social relationships, such as a new form of state, e. g. People’s Republic, or sth threatening the very existence of humanity, like nuclear war or quite insignificant and short-lived, like fashions in dancing, clothing, hairdo or footwear (e. g. roll-neck).

A n. is a newly coined word or phrase or a new meaning for an existing word, or a word borrowed from another lan.(black hole, computer, isotope, feedback, penicillin)

Lexical system is not only adding new units but readjusts the ways and means of word-formation and the word-building means.

3 main ways:

1. a lexical unit existing in the language may change its meaning to denote a new object or phenomenon (semantic neologisms)

2. a new l.u. can develop in the language to denote a an object or phenomenon which already has some lexical unit to denote it (transnomination)

3. a new lexical unit can be introduced to denote a new object(a proper neologism)

N-s may be coined by: affixation- workaholic, blending- bionics < bio+(electr)onics; compounding by mere juxtaposition- to brain-drain; the change of meaning, or rather the introduction of a new, additional meaning - net-work

The lexical system may adapt itself to new f-s by combining several word-building processes - fall-out is coined by composition and conversion simultaneously.

In the course of time the new word is accepted into the word-stock of the lan and being often used ceases to be considered new, or else it may not be accepted for some reason or other and vanish from the lan. The fate of n-s is hardly predictable: some of them are short-lived, others, on the contrary, become durable as they are liked and accepted. Once accepted, they may serve as a basis for further word-formation: gimmick, gimmickry, gimmicky



28 Barbarism and foreign words, their functions

Barbarisms - are words of foreign origin which have not entirely been assimilated into the English lan­; bear the appearance of a borrowing and are felt as sth alien to the native tongue. Most of them have corresponding English synonyms; e. g. chic (=stylish); It is very important for purely stylistic purposes to distinguish between barbarisms and foreign words proper.

Barbarisms are words which have already become facts of the English lan. They are, as it were, part and parcel of the English word-stock, though they remain on the outskirts of the literary voc.; are generally given in the body of the dictionary. Foreign words, though used for certain stylistic purposes, do not belong to the English voc; are not usually registered by English dictionaries. In printed works are generally italicized to indicate their alien nature or their stylistic value. Barbarisms, on the contrary, are not made conspicuous in the text unless they bear a special bad of stylistic information.

There are foreign words in the English voc which fulfill a terminological function. s ukase, udarnik, soviet, kolkhoz and the like solo, tenor, blitzkrieg (the blitz), luftwaffe.

It is evident that b-s are a historical category. Many foreign words and phrases entered the class of words named b-s and many of these b-s have gradually lost their foreign peculiarities, become more or less naturalized and have merged with the native English stock of words: Conscious, retrograde, spurious and strenuous. Both foreign words and b-s are widely used in various styles of lan with various aims, which predetermine their typical functions: to supply local colour. In order to depict local conditions of life,- concrete facts and events, customs and habits, special carets taken to introduce into the passage such language elements as will reflect the environment

The function of the foreign words used in the context may be con­sidered to provide local colour as a background to the narrative- the author does not wish them to convey any clear-cut idea — but to serve in making the main idea stand out more conspicuously.

to build up the stylistic device of non-personal direct speech or represented speech. The use of a word, or a phrase, or a sentence in the reported speech of a local inhabitant helps to reproduce his actual words, manner of speech and the environment as well.

to exalt the expression of the idea, to elevate the lan. Words which we do not quite understand sometimes have a peculiar charm. This magic quality in words, a quality not easily grasped, has long been observed and made use of in various kinds of utteran­ces, particularly in poetry and folklore.

(in the belles-lettres style) " exactifying" function. Words of foreign origin do not tend to develop new meanings. The English So long, for example, due to its conventional usage has lost its primary meaning. It has become a formal phrase of parting.

(In publicistic style) the colouring the passage on the problem in question with & touch of authority. A person who uses so many foreign words is obviously a very educated person, the reader thinks, and therefore a "man who knows”

B-s assume the significance of a SD if they display a kind of interaction between different meanings, or f-s, or aspects. When a word which we consider a b-m is used so as to evoke a twofold application we are confronted with an SD.


Neutral words

Neutral words, which form the bulk of the English vocabulary, are used in both literary and colloquial language. Neutral words are the main source of synonymy and polysemy.

Common literary words are chiefly used in writing and in polished speech. Colloquial words are always more emotionally coloured than literary ones. The neutral stratum of words has no degree of emotiveness, nor they have any distinctions in the sphere of usage.

Both literary and colloquial words have their upper and lower ranges. The lower range of literary words approaches the neutral layer. The upper range of the colloquial layer can very easily pass into the neutral layer.

The neutral vocabulary may be viewed as the invariant of the standard English vocabulary. The stock of words forming the neutral stratum should in this case be regarded as an abstraction. The words of this stratum are generally deprived of any concrete associations and refer to the concept more or less directly. Synonyms of neutral words assume a far greater degree of concreteness.

Common colloquial vocabulary borders both on the neutral vocabulary and special colloquial vocabulary. (The same with common literary vocabulary).

The stylistic function of the different strata of the English vocabulary depends not so much on the inner qualities of each of the groups, as on their interaction when they are opposed to one another.

Stylistic colouring

Vinogradov: Lexical meaning is determined by the notion it expresses, the quality of the part of speech or grammatical category to which the word belongs, by the socially stable contexts of its usage, by the less of compatibility typical of the language, by semantic correlation of the words with its synonyms and other words close to it in their meanings, by expressive and stylistic colouring.

Stylistic reference is the evocative part of lexical meaning that evokes or points out at the sphere of usage of the word, it calls up the environment, style or register in which the word belongs. That calls up types of texts and speech situations proper to the place of the word I language system. It communicates of the social circumstances of the language use, correlates with their phonetic, morphemic, structural, semantic and etymological features of the word, their frequency. So that words having the same phonetical or other distinctive features may be defined as having the same stylistic value. Neutral words are consisted to be good, positive. Literary words sound dignified, elevated. Lofty; colloquial – familiar, friendly; non-standard – law, vulgar.

The criteria of the stylistic reference:

the number of the meanings, morphemes, syllables;

the frequence value(?)


St. neutral: polysemantic, native, structurally simple, highest frequency.

Stylistically coloured w-s (bookish(literary)--special terms, poetic, foreign; colloquial—common colloq./literary colloq.-special coloq./slang, jargon

Stylistic and emotional colouring may be indicated by the following dictionary marks: colloquial, poetical, popular, derogatory, contemptuous, facetious, ironical, etc. Stylistic colouring belongs to the stylistics of the language.


Context is a linguistic surrounding of an element of a language, in other words it is words and phrases which precede and follow it, also relationships and linking with this words and phrases which influence the meaning of the element and its understanding.

Context shows which of the lexical semantic variants of a word is used in this particular case.

The influence of context parameters on language use or discourse is usually studied in terms of language variation, style or register. The basic assumption here is that language users adapt the properties of their language use (such as intonation, lexical choice, syntax, and other aspects of formulation) to the current communicative situation. In this sense, language use or discourse may be called more or less 'appropriate' in a given context.

Stylistic context is a background in which the expressiveness of a stylistic device occurs by contrast or similarity.

Micro context is limited by the borders of one stylistic function.

Extra linguistic context is an environment where the act of speech takes place.

Context 1)language (words)

2)speech (environment)

Stylistic context

M/ Raffaterre defines stylistic context as a pattern broken by an unpredictable element. He thinks that contrast is a basic feature of stylistic context.

I.V. Arnold looks upon stylistic context as a unity of stylistic element and its surroundings, a systematic structure of interrelated elements. Every stylistically relevant element is not isolated but is coordinated with the other elements of the context.

Micropoetic context is limited by a complete sentence. Macropoetic context may spread on 2 any stylistically relevant part of the text (a paragraph, a complex syntactical unit or a whole text).

Stylistic context may be based on the similarity of equivalent words or their contrast.

Stylistic context very often is based on the convergence. Convergence denotes an accumulation at a given point of the text or several stylistic devices, each device adds its expressivity to that of others, and thus the total effect may be a striking emphasis. (e.g. and heaved, and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the black sea, as if its vast tides were a conscience. – simile, repetition, inversion and polysyndation).



Stylistic function

Stylistic function deals with expressive potential of elements of the language within the context. Dealing with the stylistic function of elements of the language we take into consideration emotions, relations, attitudes the author transcends to the readers. Stylistic function has a contextual nature. It belongs to the stylistic of speech. Stylistic function provides the correctness of the decoding, prevents from erroneous understanding. Stylistic means within the stylistic function helps readers to single out the main things and to put accents correctly. All in all their aim is to protect from distortion.

Stylistic function has some peculiarities:

Accumulation: the same motive, mood or feelings are usually expressed by several parallel means, if it is significant for the whole. Such abundance intensifies and concentrates the impression and is called convergence.

As stylistic function backs on connotative meanings of words, forms and constructions, it may be expressed implicitly, not directly.

Ability to irradiation: long utterance may have one/two high-flown words, which are surrounded by neutral words, but all in all the utterance will sound lofty, and vice versa – one vulgar word may make the whole utterance sound vulgar and rude.

36. Principles of foregrounding.

Foregrounding is the practice of making something stand out from the surrounding words or images. There are two main types of foregrounding: parallelism (grammar) and deviation. Parallelism can be described as unexpected regularity, while deviation can be seen as unexpected irregularity

Deviation corresponds to the traditional idea of poetic license: the writer of literature is allowed - in contrast to the everyday speaker - to deviate from rules, maxims, or conventions. These may involve the language, as well as literary traditions or expectations set up by the text itself. The result is some degree of surprise in the reader, and his / her attention is thereby drawn to the form of the text itself (rather than to its content). Cases of neologism, live metaphor, or ungrammatical sentences, as well as archaisms, paradox, and oxymoron (the traditional tropes) are clear examples of deviation.

Devices of parallelism are characterized by repetitive structures: (part of) a verbal configuration is repeated (or contrasted), thereby being promoted into the foreground of the reader's perception. Traditional handbooks of poetics and rhetoric have surveyed and described (under the category of figures of speech) a wide variety of such forms of parallelism, e.g., rhyme, assonance, alliteration, meter, semantic symmetry, or antistrophe.

Foregrounding can occur on all levels of language (phonology, graphology, morphology, lexis, syntax, semantics and pragmatics). It is generally used to highlight important parts of a text, to aid memorability and/or to invite interpretation.

Proverbs and Sayings

Proverbs and sayings are facts of language. They are collected in special dictionaries. It is impossible to arrange proverbs and sayings in a form that would present a pattern even though they have some typical features by which it is possible to determine whether or not we are dealing with one. These typical features are: rhythm, sometimes rhyme and/or alliteration. But the most characteristic feature of a proverb or a saying lies in the content-form of the utterance. As is known, a proverb or a saying is a peculiar mode of utterance which is mainly characterized by its brevity. The peculiarity of the use of a proverb lies in the fact that the actual wording becomes a pattern which needs no new wording to suggest extensions of meaning which are contextual. In other words, a proverb presupposes a simultaneous application of two meanings: the face-value or primary meaning, and an extended meaning drawn from the context.

Linguistic features: Proverbs are brief statements showing in condensed form the accumulated life experience of the community and serving as conventional practical symbols for abstract ideas. They are usually didactic and image bearing. Many of them through frequency of repeti­tion have become polished and wrought into verse-like shape, as in the following:

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

Brevity in proverbs manifests itself also in the omission of connectives, as in:

"First come, first served." "Out of sight, out of mind."

But the main feature distinguishing proverbs and sayings from or­dinary utterances remains their semantic aspect. Their literal meaning is suppressed by what may be termed their transferred meaning. In other words, one meaning (literal) is the form for another meaning (transferred) which contains the idea. Proverbs and sayings, if used appropriately, will never lose their freshness and vigor. The most no­ticeable thing about the functioning of sayings, proverbs and catch-phrases is that they may be handled not in their fixed form (the tradi­tional model) but with modifications. When a prov­erb is used in its unaltered form it can be qualified as an expressive means (EM) of the language; when used in a modified variant it assumes the one of the features of an SD, it acquires a stylistic meaning, though not becoming an SD.


An epigram is a stylistic device akin to a proverb, the only difference being that epigrams are coined by individuals whose names we know, while proverbs are the coinage of the people. Epigrams are terse, witty, pointed statements, showing the ingenious turn of mind of the originator. They always have a literary-bookish air about them that distinguishes them from proverbs. Epigrams possess a great degree of independence and therefore, if taken out of the context, will retain the wholeness of the idea they express. They have a generaliz­ing function and are self-sufficient. The most characteristic feature of an epigram is that the sentence gets accepted as a word-combination and often becomes part of the language as a whole.

"A God that can be understood is no God."

This sentence seems to meet all the necessary requirements of the epigram: it is brief, generalizing, witty and can be expanded in its appli­cation. The same applies to Byron's

" the days of old men made manners; Manners now make men" ("Don Juan")


A quotation is a repetition of a phrase or statement from a book, speech and the like used by way of authority, illustration, proof or as a basis for further speculation on the matter in hand. By repeating a passage in a new environment, we attach to the ut­terance an importance it might not have had in the context whence it was taken. Moreover, we give it the status, temporary though it may be, of a stable language unit. What is quoted must be worth quoting, since a quotation will inevitably acquire some degree of generalization. If repeated frequently, it may be recognized as an epigram, if, of course, it has at least some of the linguistic properties of the latter. Quotations are usually marked off in the text by inverted commas (" "), dashes (—), italics or other graphical means. They are mostly used accompanied by a reference to the author of the quotation, unless he is well known to the reader or audience. The reference is made either in the text or in a foot-note and assumes va­rious forms, as, for instance: "as (so and so) has it"; "(So and so) once said that"...; "Here we quote (so and so)" The stylistic value of a quotation lies mainly in the fact that it com­prises two meanings: the primary meaning, the one which it has in its original surroundings, and the applicative meaning, i.e. the one which it acquires in the new context.


An allusion is an indirect reference, by word or phrase, to a historical, literary, mythological, biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life made in the course of speaking or writing. The use of allusion presup­poses knowledge of the fact, thing or person alluded to on the part of the reader or listener. As a rule no indication of the source is given. This is one of the notable differences between quotation and allusion. Another difference is of a structural nature: a quotation must repeat the exact wording of the original even though the meaning may be modified by the new context; an allusion is only a mention of a word or phrase which may be regarded as the key-word of the utterance. An allusion has cer­tain important semantic peculiarities, in that the meaning of the word (the allusion) should be regarded as a form for the new meaning. In other words, the primary meaning of the word or phrase which is assumed to be known (i.e. the allusion) serves as a vessel into which new meaning is poured. So here there is also a kind of interplay between two meanings.

Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and the knowledge of the writer who presupposes a similar experience and knowledge in the reader. But the knowledge stored in our minds is called forth by an allusion in a peculiar manner. All kinds of associations we may not yet have realized cluster round the facts alluded to. Illustrative in this re­spect is the quotation-allusion made in Somerset Maugham's novel "The Painted Veil". The last words uttered by the dying man are "The dog it was that died." These are the concluding lines of Goldsmith's "Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog." Unless the reader knows the Elegy, he will not understand the implication embodied in this quotation. Consequently, the quotation here becomes an allusion which runs through the whole plot of the novel. The main character is dying, having failed to revenge himself upon his unfaithful wife. He was punished by death for having plotted evil. This is the inference to be drawn from the allusion. Allusions and quotations may be termed nonce-set-expres­sions because they are used only for the occasion.Allusions are used in different styles, but their function is every­where the same. The deciphering of an allusion, however, is not always easy. In newspaper headlines allusions may be decoded at first glance.

39). Phonetic Expressive Means & Stylistic Devices.

The stylistic approach to the utterance is not confined to its structure and sense. There is another thing to be taken into account. This is the way a word, a phrase or a sentence sounds. The sound of most words taken separately will have little or no aesthetic value. It is in combination with other words, that a word may acquire a desired phonetic effect.

The theory of sound symbolism is based on the assumption that separate sounds due to their articulator and acoustic properties may awake certain ideas, perceptions, feelings, images, vague though they might be. In poetry we cannot help feeling that the arrangement of sounds carries a definite aesthetic function.

Stylistic Devices which secure musical function:

Onomatopoeia – is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature(wind, sea. thunder, etc.), by things (machines or tools, etc.), by people (sighing, laughter, patter of feet, etc.) and by animals.

There are 2 varieties of onomatopoeia: direct and indirect. Direct is contained in words that imitate natural sounds, as ding-dong, buzz, bang, cuckoo, tintinnabulation, mew, ping-pong, roar and the like. These words have different degrees of imitative quality. Some of them immediately bring to mind whatever it is produces the sound. Onomatopoetic words can be used in a transferred meaning, as for instance, ding-dong, which represents the sound of bells rung continuously, may mean 1) noisy, 2) strenuously contested.

Indirect is a combination of sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense. It is sometimes called “echo-writing” E.g. ‘And the s ilken, s ad, un c ertain ru s tling’ Repetition of sound S produces the sound of rustling (шорох).

Alliteration – is a phonetic stylistic device which aims at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance. The essence of this device lies in the repetition of similar sounds, in particular consonant sounds, in close succession, particularly at the beginning of successive words.

E.g. ’ D eep into the d arkness peering, I stoo d there won d ering….’

Assonance — the repetition of similar vowels, usually in stressed syllables.

The former and the later may produce the effect of euphony (a sense of ease and comfort in pronouncing or hearing) or cacophony (a sense of strain and discomfort in pronouncing or hearing). As an example of the first may serve the famous lines of E. A. Poe:

…silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain…

An example of the second is provided by the unspeakable combination of sounds found in R. Browning: Nor soul helps flesh now more than flesh helps soul.


Rhyme – is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combinations of words. Identity and particularly similarity of sounds combinations may be relative. It’s distinguished between full rhymes and incomplete rhymes. The full rhyme presupposes identity of the vowel sound and the following consonant sounds in a stressed syllable, as in might/ right. Incomplete rhymes present a great variety. They can be divided into 2 groups: vowel rhymes and consonant rhymes. In v. rhymes the vowels of the syllables in corresponding words are identical, but the consonants may be different (flesh-f re sh-p re ss). Consonant rhymes, on the contrary, show concordance in consonants and disparity in vowels, as in wor th -for th.

Models of rhyme:

Couplets- aa

Triple- aaa

Cross- abab


Internal rhyme- words are placed not at the ends of the lines but within the line, as in ‘I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers

Rhythm is a combination of the ideal metrical scheme and the variations of it, which are governed by the standard. It is a flow, movement, procedure, etc., characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features, as beat, or accent, in alternation with opposite or different elements or features. Rhythm is primarily a periodicity, which requires specification as to the type of periodicity. Rhythm, therefore, is the main factor which brings order into the utterance.

Graphic Expressive Means.

Graphon - the intentional violation of the graphic shape of a word or word combination used to reflect its authentic pronunciation. Graphons, indicating irregularities or carelessness of pronunciation were occasionally introduced into English novels and journalism as early as the beginning of the eighteenth century and since then have acquired an ever growing frequency of usage, popularity among writers, journalists, advertisers, and a continuously widening scope of functions. Graphon proved to be an extremely concise but effective means of supplying information about the speaker’s origin, social and educational background, physical or emotional condition, etc. So, when the famous Thackeray’s character — butler Yellowplush — impresses his listeners with the learned words pronouncing them as “sellybrated” (celebrated), “bennyviolent” (benevolent), “illygitmit” (illegitimate), “jewinile” (juvenile), or when the no less famous Mr. Babbitt uses “peerading” (parading), “Eytalians” (Italians), “peepul” (people) — the reader obtains not only the vivid image and the social, cultural, educational characteristics of the personages, but also both Thackeray’s and S. Lewis’ sarcastic attitude to them.

On the other hand, “The b-b-b-b-bas-tud — he seen me c--c-c-c-coming” in R. P. Warren’s Sugar Boy’s speech or “You don’t mean to thay that thith ith your firth time” (B.C.) show the physical defects of the speakers — the stuttering of one and the lisping of the other. Graphon, thus individualizing the character’s speech, adds to his plausibility, vividness, memorability. At the same time, graphon is very good at conveying the atmosphere of authentic live communication, of the informality of the speech act. Some amalgamated forms, which are the result of strong assimilation, became clichés in contemporary prose dialogue: “gimme” (give me), “lemme” (let me), “gonna” (going to), “gotta” (got to), “coupla” (couple of), “mighta” (might have), “willya” (will you), etc.

Graphical changes may reflect not only the peculiarities of, pronunciation, but are also used to convey the intensity of the stress, emphasizing and thus foregrounding the stressed words. To such purely graphical means, not involving the violations, we should refer all changes of the type (italics, capitalization), spacing of graphemes (hyphenation, multiplication) and of lines. The latter was widely exercised in Russian poetry by V. Mayakovsky, famous for his “steps” in verse lines, or A. Voznesensky. In English the most often referred to “graphical imagist” v/as E. E. Cummings.

According to the frequency of usage, variability of functions, the first place among graphical means of foregrounding is occupied by italics. Besides italicizing words, to add to their logical or emotive significance, separate syllables and morphemes may also be emphasized by italics (which is highly characteristic of D. Salinger or T. Capote). Intensity of speech (often in commands) is transmitted through the multiplication of a grapheme or capitalization of the word, as in Babbitt’s shriek “Alllll aboarrrrrd”, or in the desperate appeal in A. Huxley’s Brave New World —  “Help. Help. HELP.” Hyphenation of a word suggests the rhymed or clipped manner in which it is uttered as in the humiliating comment from Fl. O’Connor’s story — “grinning like a chim-pan-zee”.

Summing up the informational options of the graphical arrangement of a word (a line, a discourse), one sees their varied application for recreating the individual and social peculiarities of the speaker, the atmosphere of the communication act — all aimed at revealing and emphasizing the author’s viewpoint.

41) Expressive Means & Stylistic Devices. Tropes. Figures of Speech.

Expressive means of the language - are those phonetic, morphological, word- building, lexical, phraseological, syntactical forms which exist in language as a system for the purpose of logical & emotional intensification of the utterance.

Phonetic -is the most powerful expressive means (onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhythm, rhyme, assonance)

Morphological expressive means (shall with 2/3d person, demonstrative pronouns)

Word-building expressive means (diminutive suffices, neologisms, nonce- words)

Lexical expressive means (interjections, epithets, slang, vulgar words, archaic, poetic)

Phraseological units - make speech emphatic

Syntactical expressive means (various constructions: inversion)

Stylistic devices - do not exist in the language as the units ready for use. They are abstract patterns of language filled with a definite content when used in speech. The stylistic effect of this/that device is based upon the clash of 2 meanings of a lexical unit - dictionary & contextual.

Expressive means - greater degree of predictability than of SD

SD - carry greater degree of information & demand effort to decode their meaning

Trope - a SD based on transference of meanings; in them word/word combination is used in transferred meaning. The new meaning is realized as a result of interaction of 2 & more meanings:




Tropes may be based on similarity, analogy, contrast, inequality, contiguity. Tropes are figures of sense, thoughts. They exist in paradigmatic level. They are opposed to figures of speech.

Figures of speech - syntagmatic by nature, they become expressive due to arrangement/rearrangement in chain of speech, they emphasize, intensify certain meaning.


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