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TYPES OF STYLISTICS as the phonological, grammatical,

lexical and semantic patterns

Priscilla O. EFE-OBUKE
attempting to relate these patterns
to the message in the text. This
1. General Stylistics or Stylistics:
was popular at the early stages of
This is stylistics viewed from the
the evolution of stylistics as a
broad notion of the linguistic study
where linguists viewed literary texts
all types of linguistic events from
merely as linguistic events and felt
different domains of life. It is used as
literary interpretation, involving
thematic concerns or artistic
cover term for the analysis of non-
literary varieties of language, or
were not of concern to them as
linguists, especially as they involved
(Wales 458). Hence, one can
undertake a stylistic study of a
understanding of the artist’s
intention which was hardly subject to
sermon, a sport commentary, a legal
document, a political speech, a
objective verifiability emphasized by
business conversation, etc.
the scientific claim of modern
2. Literary Stylistics:
4. Interpretative Stylistics:
This is the type of analysis that
This is the practice engaged in by
focuses on literary texts. In the
most stylisticians nowadays. It
involves the analysis of the linguistic
sense, such a study may be linguistic
data in a (literary) text, the
or non-linguistic, but in the more
specialized sense, it is essentially
of the content or artistic value of the
linguistic. To make this linguistic
text and the marrying of these two.
orientation clearer, the terms
linguistic stylistics or linguostylistics
depicted in Leo Spitzer’s philological
circle, the interpretative stylistician
sometimes employed to denote the
relates linguistic description to
linguistic analysis or interpretation of
literary appreciation by seeking
literary events. Other types of
stylistics below are largely subtypes
function and relating it to the
of this
linguistic evidence or first seeking
linguistic literary stylistics.
linguistic features in the text and
3. Textualist Stylistics
relating it to the artistic motivation.
This is the type of stylistics which
belief is that the linguistic patterns
engaged in an “empty technology”
are chosen deliberately to express
certain artistic or literary goals and
a text. It merely identifies the raw
that the two can hardly be divorced.
linguistic patterns of a (literary) text
Interpretative stylisticians see terminology of discourse analysis in
themselves as both linguists and the explication of literary language
literary use.
critics and integrate the roles of the Ronald Carter explains it this way:
two scholars. This may be seen as [discourse stylistics] operates under
the the direct
more wholistic approach to literary influence of work in pragmatics,
stylistics or the analysis of literary discourse
texts analysis and text linguistics, and this
in general. work
continues to provide the field of
5. Formalist and Functional stylistics with
Stylistics: increasingly sophisticated means of
These terms may be viewed as discussing both longer stretches of
alternatives for textualist stylistics text and,
and indeed, longer texts…. In the basic
interpretative stylistics respectively elementary definition, it is the
as discussed above. Formalist application of
stylistics discourse analysis to literature. (5)
concentrates on the linguistic forms Thus, an advantage of the discourse
in the texts, paying little attention to analysis approach is that it enables
the function of these forms in us
relation to the overall content of the to study longer stretches of
text. language beyond sentences, which
Conversely, functional stylistics traditional
emphasizes the contextual function linguistics may not reach. Such
that the terms as “cohesion,” “coherence,”
linguistic elements are used to “location,”
perform. (See Taylor and Toolan) “perlocution,” “maxim,”
“implicature,” “speech acts,” etc
6. Evaluative Stylistics: which are regular in
This is a term used by Richard pure discourse analysis are
Bradford to designate the type of employed in literary explication.
analysis which uses linguistic tools to
assess or measure the worth or 8. Contextualist Stylistics:
merits This has various factions that are
and demerits of a text. It assumes united in their emphasis on the
that the quality of a text is revealed ways in which literary style is formed
in the and influenced by its contexts. These
quality of language patterns it involve (1) the competence and
employs. Such analyses may involve disposition of the reader; (2) the
the prevailing
juxtaposition of two or more texts for sociocultural forces that dominate all
comparative evaluation. linguistic discourse, including
literature; and (3) the systems of
7. Discourse Stylistics: signification through which we
This is the stylistic approach which process and
employs the procedures and
interpret all phenomena, linguistic the language identifies particular
and non-linguistic, literary and socio-literary movements such as
nonliterary” the
(Bradford 73). metaphysicals, the romanticists,
What happens with contextual African writers, imagists,
stylistics is that it takes into expressionists,
cognizance the various contexts in modernists etc.
which a stylistic analysis is done. It is
actually reader-centred. 11. Feminist Stylistics:
In the introductory pages of Sara
Mills’ Feminist Stylistics, she
9. Phonostylistics: describes the phrase feminist
This has been described by Hartman stylistics as one which best sums up
and Stork as “the study of the her
expressive function of sounds” concern “first and foremost with an
(223). In practice, phonostylistics analysis which identifies itself as
may not be feminist and which uses linguistic or
considered as a distinct type of language analysis to examine texts”
stylistics but rather as one of the (1). So the concern of feminist
phonological levels at which a stylistics, according to Mills, is
stylistician could analyse a text, beyond only
(other levels describing sexism in texts but is
of linguistic analysis being the broadened to “analyse the way that
grammatical, the syntactic and the point of
morphological, the lexical view, agency, metaphor or
(vocabulary), the semantic and the transitivity are inexpectedly related
contextual). to matters of
Such a phonological analysis would gender, to discover whether
involve the identification (and women’s writing practices can be
functional described and
interpretation) of both the segmental so on” (1).
patterns (vowels and consonants) Bradford sees feminist stylistics as
and having a view of “discourse as
suprasegmental features (syllable, something which transmits social
stress, rhythm, tone, intonation, etc). and institutionalized prejudices and
Phonological schemes like ideologies, specifically the respective
alliteration, assonance, consonance, roles, the mental and behavioural
chiming, characteristics of men and women”
volume, onomatopocia, etc are (86).
discussed. It is apparent from the two view
points that feminist stylistics cannot
10. Sociostylistics: be divorced from sexism and
This is actually a subject which gender-oriented issues.
studies, for instance, the language of
writers considered as social groups 12. Computational Stylistics:
(e.g. the Elizabethan University wits, This is a subdiscipline of
pamphleteers, or fashions in computational linguistics. It evolved
language) (Wales 438). The in the
emphasis is on how
1960s and involves the use of their inner selves. Thus, there is the
statistics and other data that are concept of style as idiolect, that
readily each
generated by the computer to treat language user has some linguistic
different problems of style. In the traits that not only mark him/her out
area of but
“stylometry,” the computer is used also expresses his/her personality.
to generate data on the types, The obvious weakness of this
number approach is the probability that
and length of words and sentences writers
which aid the stylistician in his study change their personality and
of language over time and text and
texts, ensuring the objectivity that a change
required. Such data from different in one does not necessarily
texts may accompany a change in the other.
even be used for comparative
purposes as well as for the 14. Pedagogical Stylistics:
authentification of This refers to the employment of
authorship. For example, stylometric stylistic analysis for teaching and
data may be used to determine learning purposes. Literary texts
which may sometimes be difficult for
author a piece of disputed writing learners to
belongs to according to whether the appreciate. Hence, a teacher may
stylometric data in it conform to analyse the linguistic patterns in the
stylometric data already associated text,
with the breaking down complex linguistic
author. The risk here are that it units to smaller ones, converting
forecloses the possibility of an excerpts
author in verse form prosaic form,
changing his style from text to text hyperbaton (syntactic inversion) to
and the possibility of two authors regular forms
writing in the belief that such will help the
alike. learner to grasp the message
13. Expressive Stylistics: Wales remarks on this as follows:
This approach is often considered Because of its eclecticism, stylistics
“old-fashioned” (Wales 166) in has
seemingly upholding the view increasingly come to be used as a
“Stylus virum arguit” (“The style teaching
proclaims the tool in language and literature
man,” that is the author). This studies for
approach emphasizes an both native and foreign speakers of
identification of how English;
the style, the linguistic elements, what can be termed pedagogical
reveal the personality or “soul” of stylistics.
the (438)
author. It pursues the belief that the Carter and McRae claim that
artists employ language to express stylistics in its pedagogical
application “has
been accused of tending towards the However, the term is often applied
simplistic” (xxxi). However, since the more consistently to the studies in
aim of teaching and learning is to the West from the 1970s which
make things clearer or simpler than employed the latest principles of
they structuralism, poetics and reader-
seem, pedagogical stylistics would response criticism in the analysis of
be considered a positive literary texts.

15. Radical Stylistics:

This is a term introduced by D. Conclusion
Burton in 1982 to designate a From the foregoing, it is obvious that
stylistic while there are different
approach which tends to go beyond approaches or types of stylistic
the identification of the artistic analysis, there are several overlaps
effects of between
language use to analyse how many and the dividing line between
language is used to express different some is rather thin.
ideologies Accordingly, it may not be
of world views. The radical satisfactory or convenient for a
stylistician is interested in the choice stylistician
of linguistic to be rigid on a particular type to
patterns to reflect such ideological employ. Indeed, stylistics being a
slants as communism, socialism, multidisciplinary discipline often
capitalism, welfarism, etc. Thus, the adopts an eclectic orientation. Thus,
stylistician attempts to discover in in the
the analysis of a particular text, a
text certain jargons associated with stylistician may employ more than
such ideologies. This is allied to one tool or
sociological criticism. The label approach depending on the data that
suggests that such an analyst would is evident in the text, the analyst’s
have a resourcefulness in his or her range of
passion for the reflection or rejection reference for the identification of
of an ideological bias. evidence and interpretation of such
16. New Stylistics:
This is a rather vague term used to
denote some fresh models of
stylistic analysis. Such models cease
to be “new” as soon as “newer”
evolve. For example, Leo Spitzer’s
ideas about stylistics as one of its
originators in Western Europe were
considered “new.”