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Stylistic classification of the English language vocabulary
The literary layer
The literary layer
the colloquial layer
Literary layer
Literary words are legitimate members of the
English vocabulary, without local or dialectal
character. They are used in both oral and
written speech

Colloquial layer
Colloquial layer is often limited to a definite
language community or confined to a specific
locality where it circulates
Neutral words form bulk of the English vocabulary,
they are used both in literary and the colloquial
They are the main source of synonymy and polysemy
they can be used in any style of speech without
causing a special stylistic effect
they are generally devoid of any emotional meaning
They have a monosyllabic character
They are usually deprived of any concrete associations
and refer to the concept more or less directly

The Common Core
Parts of the body: hand, foot, arm, eye, heart, chin, bone
Natural landscape: land, field, meadow, hedge, hill,
wood, oak
Domestic life: house, home, stool, door, floor, weave, knit
Calendar: sun, moon, day, month, year
Animals: horse, cow, sheep, dog, hen, goat, swine, fish
Common adjectives: black, white, wide, long, good, dark
Common verbs: fly, drink, swim, help, come, see, eat, sit,
send, sell, think, love, say, be, go, do, shove, kiss, have,

Colloquial Neutral Literary
daddy father parent
get out go away retire
go on continue proceed
chap fellow associate
There is a definite, though slight, semantic difference between these words, but
this is almost always the case with synonyms. The main distinction between them
remains stylistic. But stylistic difference may be of various kinds:
it may lie in the emotional tension connoted in a word;
in the sphere of application;
in the degree of the quality denoted.

The special literary vocabulary
Common literary words are chiefly used in writing and in
polished speech
Terms (Their main stylistic function is to create the true-to-
life atmosphere of the narration, but terms can be also
used with a parodying function, thus creating humorous
effect.) "he rode up to the campus, arranged for a room
in the graduate dormitory and went out at once to the
empty Physics building."
Barbarisms and foreign words (They are used mainly to
supply the narrated events with the proper local coloring
and to convey the idea of the foreign origin or cultural and
educational status of the personage.) "Yates remained
serious."We have time, Herr Zippmann, to try your
schnapps. Are there any German troops in Neustadt?""

Archaisms (The main stylistic function is to re-create the
atmosphere of antiquity. Archaisms used in inappropriate
surroundings can cause humorous effect.) The main types of
archaisms are archaisms proper, i.e. obsolete words replaced by
new ones (befall = happen), historical words (knight, spear),
morphological archaisms, i.e. archaic forms of non-archaic words
(speaketh, cometh, brethren). "He kept looking at the fantastic
gree of the jungle and then at the orange-brown earthThe Lord
giveth and He taketh away, Ridges thought solemnly."
Poetic words (These are words with the fixed sphere of usage in
poetry and elevated prose, their function is to give a lofty poetic
Literary Coinages (including Nonce-words) (Stylistic coinages are
words coined because their creators seek expressive utterance.
Their stylistic function is to create the effect of laconism,
implication (lilliput) or to create the atmosphere of witty humor and
satire.) Nonce-words are words coined to suit one particular
occasion, they rarely pass into the language as legitimate units of
vocabulary. "I am not just talented. I'm geniused."

The special Colloquial vocabulary
Common colloquial words overlaps into the standard
English vocabulary and is therefore to be considered
part of it. It borders both on the neutral vocabulary
and on the special colloquial vocabulary, which falls out
of the standard English altogether.
Slang (It is the most extended and vastly developed
subgroup of non-standard colloquial layer of the
vocabulary. Besides separate words it includes also
highly figurative phraseology. Slang occurs mainly in
dialogue and serves to create speech characteristics of
personages.) "I'm the first one saw her. I find out
she's some jock's regular, she's living with a shrimp."
Remember "old sport" in The Great Gatsby.

Professional and social jargons. (They are used in emotive
prose to depict the natural speech of a character within the
framework of such device as speech-characterization. They
can show vocation, education, breeding, environment and
even the psychology of a personage. Slang, contrary to
jargon, needs no translation, jargon is used to conceal or
disguise something.) "She came out of sleep, in a
nightmare struggle for breathBart gave her a needle."
Vulgarisms (Vulgarisms are divided into expletives and
swear-words used as general exclamations and obscene
words. They are emotionally strongly charged and can be
used for speech-characterization.) "Poor son of a bitch", he
said, "I feel for him, and I'm so sorry I was bastardly."
Dialectal words (They are introduced into the speech of
personages to indicate their origin. The number of dialectal
words and their frequency also indicate the educational
and cultural level of the speaker.) "We'll show Levenford
what my clever lass can do."