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Stylistics and Discourse Analysis

By Khalid Shamkhi

1.Style is a term used to refer to the personal use an individual makes in speech
or writing of the language available to him. (Hartmann and Stork ,1972). In other
words it refers the choices a speaker or writer makes from among the phonological
grammatical and lexical resources of his language(Beogrande and
The study of style is called stylistics .Traditionally ,it was carried out to
investigate variations in usage among literary and other texts, or more generally
any systematic variation, in either speech or writing which relates to the type of
discourse or its context(Matthews ,2007 :385).Thus ,public lectures have a style
different from that of casual conversations among friends .However ,the words
style and stylistics have now the specialized , narrow usage of linguistics applied to
literature .According to Katie Wales(2001) the goal of most stylistics is not simply
to describe the formal features of texts for their own sake, but in order to show
their functional significance for the interpretation of the text; or in order to relate
literary effects to linguistic 'causes' where these are felt to be relevant.
2.Discourse , according to Crystal (2003:141),is a continuous stretch of
language larger than the sentence. Leech refer to discourse as
chunks of language in actual use . Discourse may be spoken or written literary or
non-literary, eg an interview ,a novel, a speech by a politician, a lecture to
students or any other series of speech events in which successive sentences or
utterances hang together(Matthews,2007:107) .

Discourse Analysis (henceforth DA)is the study which aims at discovering
linguistic regularities in discourses using grammatical , phonological and semantic
criteria(eg cohesion, anaphora, inter-sentence connectivity) (Crystal,2003:141) .To
put it in another way, DA deals with the various devices used by the speakers and
writers when they put sentences together to form a coherent and cohesive whole

3.Discourse Analysis and Stylistics are broad-based disciplines which deal with
the functional aspects of language. Both aim to show why and how the text means
what it means (linguistically). While D.A. analyzes what is communicated in
Discourse, Stylistics analyzes how it is communicated. In Stylistics we are more
concerned with showing the uniqueness of the text we are analyzing .On the other
hand in discourse analysis we are concerned with showing how a text analyzed is
not unique .It is typical of its kind. Thus studies of classroom interaction and
doctor-patient interaction aim to arrive at generalizations that characterize such
The two disciplines often interact with each other. Thus Discourse-Stylistics is
concerned with the analysis of communication to reveal its function, using various
tools of interpretation including textual peculiarities. Such analysis enables us to
appreciate style. Basically, it is concerned with the identification, description and
explanation of stylistic features in a given text or discourse situation(Opara ,2005).

Aitchison , Jean(1999)Linguistics .London: Hodder Headline.
Beogrande and Dressler(1981)Introduction to Text Linguistics. English
Translation. London: Longman
Crystal, David(2003)A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics.5
ed .
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing LTD.
Hartmann ,R.R.K. & Stork ,F.C.(1972)A Dictionary of Language and
Linguistics. London: Applied Science Publishers LTD.
Leech ,G.,Margaret ,Deuchar &Robert Hoogenraad (1982)English
Grammar for Today. London: Macmillan Publishers LTD.
Opara, S. C. (2005) Discourse-Stylistics of Speech in Buchi Emechela's Prose
Fiction.An Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of lbadan.
Wales, Katie (2001)A Dictionary of Stylistics.Essex:Pearson Education Ltd.