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Stylistic devices

The stylistic device is a conscious and an intentional intensification of some typical structural and/or semantic property of a language unit (neutral or expressive) promoted to a generalized status and thus becoming a generative model. A SD is an abstract pattern, a mould into which any pattern can be poured.

All SDs have developed within the framework of the literary form of the language. SDs carry a greater amount of information and require a certain effort to decode their meaning and purport. They must be regarded as a special code which has to be well known to the reader in order to be deciphered easily.

Most SDs display an application of two meanings: the ordinary one (established in the language-as-a-system) and a special meaning which is superimposed on the unit by the text (a meaning which appears in the language-in-action).

Eg. The night has swallowed him up. The word «swallow» has two meanings: a) referential and b) contextual (to make vanish, to make disappear). The meaning B takes precedence over A.

Sometimes the twofold application of a lexical unit is accomplished by two words (generally synonyms) one of which is perceived against the background.

SDs function in texts as marked units. They always carry some kind of additional information, either emotive or logical, but any substitution may cause damage to the semantic and aesthetic aspect of the utterance.

SDs are abundantly used in poetry, sparingly in emotive prose.

It is necessary to distinguish between a stylistic use of a language unit, which acquires a stylistic meaning, and a stylistic device, which is the realization of an already well-known abstract scheme designed to achieve a particular artistic effect.

The birth of SDs is a natural process in the development of language media.


Expressive means of a language | General view on Figures of Speech

Конспекты лекций | Problems of stylistic research | Stylistics of language and speech | Branches of Stylistics | Stylistics and other linguistic disciplines | Stylistic neutrality and stylistic colouring | Stylistic function notion | Graphical means | Graphon | Graphical means |

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