THEME. STYLISTIC CLASSIFICATION OF THE ENGLISH VOCABULARY
THEME. FUNCTIONAL STYLES
I. Belles-Lettres style.
II. Publicistic style.
III. Newspaper style.
IV. Scientific style.
V. Official style.
I. BELLES-LETTRES STYLEfalls intoseveralvariants,or substyles, each having its distinctive features. These are:
a) language style of poetry;
b) language style of emotive prose;
c) language style of drama.
The main function of the belles-lettres style, distinguishing it from other styles is called “aesthetical-cognitive”, i.e. to impress the reader aesthetically, to call forth a feeling of pleasure, caused not only by the use of the selected language means and their peculiar arrangement but also by the fact that the reader is led to form his own conclusions as to the general meaning of what someone says. Besides, the belles-letters style has informative and persuasive functions also found in other functional styles.
According to I.R.Galperin, the belles-lettres style has the following linguistic features:
· genuine, not trite, imagery achieved by purely linguistic devices;
· the use of words in contextual and very often in more than one dictionary meaning or at least influenced by the lexical environment;
· a vocabulary reflecting the author’s personal evaluation of things or phenomena;
· a peculiar individual selection of vocabulary and syntax;
· the use of colloquial language.
Most scholars (I.V.Arnold) associate belles-letters style with prose works, regarding poetry as a special poetic style. Viewed diachronically this opinion does not seem controversial, for poems of previous centuries, indeed, support particular idea adhered to a very specific vocabulary and its ordering. But the poetry of the 20th-21st century does not show much difference from prosaic vocabulary, its subjects are no more limited to several specific “poetic” fields but widely cover practically all spheres of existence of contemporary people. So it is hardly relevant to speak of a separate poetic style meaning contemporary literature.
II. PUBLICISTIC STYLEcan be subdivided into the following substyles:
a) language style of oratory;
b) language style of essays;
c) language style of feature articles in newspapers and journals.
The main function of PS is to influence the reader and to shape his views in accordance with the argumentation of the author.
Texts of publicistic style are characterized by:
· a wide range of the questions discussed;
· brevity of expression;
· an address to the large audience;
· logical reasoning, strong subjectivity, reflecting the author’s bias, emotional appeal to the reader or listener, evaluation of the subject discussed.
As publicistic style is aimed at logical and emotive argumentation, it stands close to the scientific style and that of emotive prose and has a number of common features with them.
Like scientific prose, it is characterized by:
· logical cohesion, clarity and precision;
· careful paragraphing;
· use of cliché.
Like emotive prose, its characteristic features are:
· the use of words in their figurative contextual meaning; e.g. freedom fighters, posthumous smear campaign;
· imagery, stylistic devices (mainly trite).
III. NEWSPAPER STYLEhas the following substyles:
a) language style of brief news items and communiqués;
b) language style of newspaper headings;
c) language style of notices and advertisements.
The main aim of newspaper style is to inform and instruct the reader. The function of information is predominant in brief news items, articles purely informative in character, press reports, advertisements and announcements.
Leaders and editorials both give subjective appraisal of facts and bear information, characterized by a combination of two styles – Newspaper and Publicistic.
· The peculiar features of newspaper style are objectivity, impartiality in rendering facts or events. The materials tend to be intelligible to the vast majority of potential readers, so they are explicit and precise. News writing strives to be engaging and succinct. It rarely depends on colorless generalizations or abstract ideas. Among the larger and more respected newspapers, fairness and balance is a major factor for the presentation of information. Most information is published anonymously.
· Graphically, the newspaper style is notable for the change of type, specific headlines. These means are aimed at attracting the reader’s attention.
· The vocabulary consists mainly of neutral and common literary words. There are many political social and economic terms, e.g. gross output, commodity exchange, nuclear nonproliferation treaty, etc. It also contains large proportion of dates and personal names, names of countries, territories, institutions, individuals. Besides, the newspaper style is characterized by the abundant use of clichés, non-special terminology, abbreviations, neologisms, euphemisms, idioms. News writers often avoid using the same word more than once in a paragraph; they have preference for short words and try not to rely on jargon.
· Syntax is simple, subject-verb-object construction is widely used to make prose succinct;
· The structure of a news text is often associated with “inverted pyramid”. It means that a journalist places the essential and most interesting information at the top. Supporting elements then follow in order of diminishing importance.
IV. SCIENTIFIC PROSE STYLE falls into the following substyles, all having a number of common features:
a) language style of humanitarian sciences;
b) language style of “exact” sciences;
c) language style of popular scientific prose.
Scientific Prose Style is employed in professional communication. Its main function is to convey logical intellectual information. This style serves as an instrument for promoting scientific ideas and exchanging scientific information among people. That’s why it is known for its precision, clarity, logical cohesion. This function is characteristic of all the genres of scientific prose. They are monographs, journal articles, theses, patents, annotations, scientific advertisements, lectures, declarations, etc. Some of them are aimed at expressing and formulating scientific theoretical thesis (monograph, thesis, article), some of the genres have scientific-informative character (report papers, annotations, etc.). Each genre has its own variants. Thus, a journal article can be an experimental one, or raising a problem or polemic.
For all that, there is a set of qualitative characteristics which allow singling out this style.
· The most conspicuous feature of the vocabulary is the use of terms specific to each given branch of science, e.g. mother broad, dyslexia, palatal, etc. The necessity to penetrate deeper into the essence of things and phenomena gives rise to new concepts which require new words to name them. That’s why scientific prose is so prolific in coining new words. This style is also characterized by the abundant use of bookish words, e.g. heterogeneous, comprise, approximate, phenomenon, etc. Bookish words are usually polysyllabic, borrowed words, sometimes, they are not assimilated. The repeated use of clichés, such as “proceeding from”, “as it was said above”, “in connection with” is no less noticeable feature in scientific prose.
· The impersonality is another typical feature of this style. The passive voice is widely used to show that the discovery, experiment or result is more important than the person involved. Another morphological means expressing impersonality is the use of the personal pronoun “we” in the meaning of “I”. It is so-called “plural of modesty”.
· The present tense or will + verb are normally used to state a natural law or usual result, e.g. Ice will form from water at 0’C.
· In mathematics the imperative form and the present tense are often employed, e.g. To change a common fraction to a decimal, divide the numerator by the denominator.
· The most conspicuous peculiarity of this style is the logical sequence of utterances with clear indication of their interrelations and interdependence.
· In scientific prose complex sentences with subordinate clause are widely used. Brief simple sentences often point out the most important thoughts.
· Another observable feature is the use of references and quotations.
The language of scientific prose is unemotive but emotiveness is not entirely excluded. A very specific element of emotiveness is felt, e.g. very far from conservative; it is by no means trivial.
V. THE STYLE of OFFICIAL DOCUMENTScan be divided into:
a) language style of diplomatic documents;
b) language style of business documents;
c) language style of legal documents;
d) language style of military documents.
The functions of the style of official documents vary and depend on the pragmatic strategy, for example, business letters are very important for normal commercial activity; the aim of communication in contracts, treaties, etc. is to reach agreement between two counterparties. In general, the main purpose of this type of communication is to establish, develop and control business relations between individuals and organizations
The distinctive features (lexical, syntactical, etc) of official style depend on pragmatic purpose, contents and function of this or that document. Nevertheless there is a set of specific features relevant to this functional style:
· The style of official documents is known for its absence of ambiguity, objectivity, precision and logical cohesion. It’s formal and unemotive.
· Words are used only in their dictionary meaning. The vocabulary is characterized by domination of archaic, bookish, borrowed polysyllabic words of Latin or Greek origin. In the style of official documents set expressions, stock phrases and terms are also widely used, e.g. on behalf of; in addition to; the afore- mentioned; Your prompt reply will be appreciated, etc). The choice of terms depends on the sphere of communication (business letter, regulations, constitution, code, etc). We find here a large proportion of abbreviations, contractions and conventional symbols, e.g. GNI – Gross National Income, ITO – International Trade Organization, GNP – Gross National Product, etc.
· Syntax is complex as compared to that of commonly bookish texts. The syntactical patterns are also peculiar: wide use of objects, adverbial modifiers and attributes, parentheses, elucidating the utterance, e.g. This is to certify the first class quality of the materials used for the manufacture of the machines and their high quality and reliable operations for the period of 18 months from the date of delivery or 12 month after putting them into operation (whichever comes earlier).
· Official documents usually have a peculiar structure; they are drawn up according to a certain layout. Thus, the ordinary business letter comprises the following parts: 1) the date; 2) the insides address; 3) the opening salutation; 4) the subject heading; 5) the opening paragraph; 6) the body of the letter; 7) the closing paragraph; 8) the complimentary closing; 9) the signature.
THEME. STYLISTIC CLASSIFICATION OF THE ENGLISH VOCABULARY
I. The Main Layers of the English Vocabulary
II. Literary (Elevated) Words
II. 1. Common Literary (Bookish) Words
II. 2. Poetic Words
II. 3. Archaisms
II. 4. Barbarisms
II. 5. Terms
III. Colloquial (Degraded) Words
III. 1. Common Colloquial Words
III. 2. Slang
III. 3. Jargonisms
III. 4. Vulgar Words