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FUNCTIONAL STYLES

 

Colloquial vs. Literary Type of Communication. Oral vs.

Written Form of Communication

 

Functional Style is a system of interrelated language means serving a definite aim in communication. It is the coordination of the language means and stylistic devices which shapes the distinctive features of each style and not the language means or stylistic devices themselves.

Each style, however, can be recoquized by one or more leading features which are especially conspicuous. For instance the use of special terminology is a lexical characteristics of the style of scientific prose, and one by which it can easily be recognized.

A style of language can be fined as a system of coordinated, interrelated and inter-coordinated language means intended to full-fill a specific function of communication and aiming at a defined effect. Style of language is a historical category.

The English literary system has evolved a number of styles easily distinguishable one from another. They are not homogeneous and fall into several variants of having some central point of resemblance or better to say all integrated by the invariant - i.e. the abstract ideal system.

They are:

1) Official (documents and papers);

2) Scientific (brochures, articles, other scientific publications);

3) Publicistic (essay, public speech);

4) Newspaper style (mass media);

5) Belles-lettres style (genre of creative writing);

Each of mentioned here styles can be expressed in two forms: written and oral.

Stylistics is a sides that examines the complex of stylistically marked elements of any language level.

According to Galperin the term ‘style’ refers to the following spheres:
1) the aesthetic function of language
It may be seen in works of art- poetry, imaginative prose, fiction, but works of science, technical instruction or business correspondence have no aesthetic value.
2) synonymous ways of rendering one and the same idea
The possibility of choice of using different words in similar situations is connected with the question of style as if the form changes, the contents changes too and the style may be different.
3) expressive means in language
- are employed mainly in the following spheres – poetry, fiction, colloquial speech, speeches but not in scientific articles, business letters and others.
4) emotional coloring in language
Very many types of texts are highly emotional – declaration of love, funeral oration, poems(verses), but a great number of texts is unemotional or non-emphatic (rules in textbooks).
5) a system of special devices called stylistic devices
The style is formed with the help of characteristic features peculiar to it. Many texts demonstrate various stylistic features:
She wears ‘fashion’ = what she wears is fashionable or is just the fashion methonimy.
6) the individual manner of an author in making use
the individual style of speaking, writing must be investigated with the help of common rules and generalization.
Galperin distinguishes five styles in present-day English:
I. Belles Lettres ( беллетристика)
1. Poetry
2. Emotive prose
3. The Drama
II. Publicistic Style
1. Oratory and Speeches
2. The Essay
3. Articles
III. Newspapers
1. brief News Items (короткие новости)
2. Headlines
3. Advertisements and Announcements (объявления)
4. The Editorial ( редакторская статья)
IV. Scientific Prose
V. Official Documents
He didn’t single out a colloquial style. Its created by the work of the author –the result of creative activity.
Other classifications:



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Arnold classification consists of four styles:
1. Poetic style
2. Scientific style
3. Newspaper style
4. Colloquial style
Singling out a poetic and a scientific style seems valid. But Arnold insists on the validity of the ‘newspaper style’ theory. She says that the specificity of mass media make acknowledgement of newspaper style, as one of functional style.

In the handbook by Morokhovsky, Vorobyova, Likhosherst give following classification of style:
1. official business style
2. scientific – professional style
3. publicistic style
4. literary colloquial style
5. familiar colloquial style
Kozhina lists type - forming and socially significant spheres of communication as follows:
1) official 2)scientific 3) artistic 4) publicistic 5) of daily intercourse (=colloquial).

 

 

Language means which we choose for communication depend on several factors, the most important among them being the situation of the communication act. Indeed, depending on the situation (which includes the purpose of the communication and its participants) we adhere either to informal, or to formal manner. The former is observed in everyday non-official communication which is known as colloquial speech. Colloquial speech occupies a prominent place in our lives, and is viewed by some linguists as a system of language means so strongly differing from those presented in the formal (literary) communication that it can be classified as an independent entity with its own peculiar units and rules of their structuring. (See the works of O. Lapteva, O. Sirotinina, L. Zemskaya.)

The literary communication, most often (but not always) materialized in the written form, is not homogeneous, and proceeding from its function (purpose) we speak of different functional styles. As the whole of the language itself, functional styles are also changeable. Their quantity and quality change in the course of their development. At present most scholars differentiate such functional styles: scientific, official, publicist, newspaper, belles-lettres.

Scientific style is employed in professional communication. Its most conspicuous feature is the abundance of terms denoting objects, phenomena and processes characteristic of some particular field of science and technique. Scientific style is also known for its precision, clarity and logical cohesion which is responsible for the repeated use of such cliches as: "Proceeding from..."; "As it was said above..."; "In connection with.." and other lexico-syntactical forms emphasizing the logical connection and interdependence of consecutive parts of the discourse.

Official style, or the style of official documents, is the most conservative one. It preserves cast-iron forms of structuring and uses syntactical constructions and words long known as archaic and not observed anywhere else. Addressing documents and official letters, signing them, expressing the reasons and considerations leading to the subject of the document (letter) - all this is strictly regulated both lexically and syntactically. All emotiveness and subjective modality are completely banned out of this style.

Publicist style is a perfect example of the historical changeability of stylistic differentiation of discourses. In ancient Greece, e.g., it was practiced mainly in its oral form and was best known as oratoric style, within which views and sentiments of the addresser (orator) found their expression. Nowadays political, ideological, ethical, social beliefs and statements of the addresser are prevailingly expressed in the written form, which was labelled publicist in accordance with the name of the corresponding genre and its practitioners. Publicist style is famous for its explicit pragmatic function of persuasion directed at influencing the reader and shaping his views, in accordance with the argumentation of the author. Correspondingly, we find in publicist style a blend of the rigorous logical reasoning, reflecting the objective state of things, and a strong subjectivity reflecting the author's personal feelings and emotions towards the discussed subject.

Newspaper style, as it is evident from its name, is found in newspapers. You should not conclude though that everything published in a newspaper should be referred to the newspaper style. The paper contains vastly varying materials, some of them being publicist essays, some - feature articles, some - scientific reviews, some - official stock-exchange accounts etc., so that a daily (weekly) newspaper also offers a variety of styles. When we mention "newspaper style", we mean informative materials, characteristic of newspaper only and not found in other publications. To attract the reader's attention to the news, special graphical means are used. British and American papers are notorious for the change of type, specific headlines, space ordering, etc. We find here a large proportion of dates and personal names of countries, territories, institutions, individuals. To achieve the effect of objectivity and impartiality in rendering some fact or event, most of the newspaper information is published anonymously, without the name of the newsman who supplied it, with little or no subjective modality. But the position and attitude of the paper, nonetheless, become clear from the choice not only of the subject-matter but also of the words denoting international or domestic issues.

Belles-lettres style, or the style of imaginative literature may be called the richest register of communication: besides its own language means which are not used in any other sphere of communication, belles-lettres style makes ample use of other styles too, for in numerous works of literary art we find elements of scientific, official and other functional types of speech. Besides informative and persuasive functions, also found in other functional styles, the belles-lettres style has a unique task to impress the reader aesthetically. The form becomes meaningful and carries additional information as you must have seen from previous chapters. Boundless possibilities of expressing one's thoughts and feelings make the belles-lettres style a highly attractive field of research for a linguist.

Speaking of belles-lettres style most scholars almost automatically refer to it prose works, regarding poetry the domain of a special poetic style. Viewed diachronically this opinion does not seem controversial, for poems of previous centuries, indeed, adhered to a very specific vocabulary and its ordering. But poetry of the twentieth century does not show much difference from prose vocabulary, its subjects are no more limited to several specific "poetic" fields but widely cover practically all spheres of existence of contemporary man. So it is hardly relevant to speak of a separate poetic style in reference to contemporary literature.

Finishing this brief outline of functional styles observed in modern English, it is necessary to stress, again, two points. The first one concerns the dichotomy - written: oral, which is not synonymous to the dichotomy literary:: colloquial, the former opposition meaning the form of presentation, the latter - the choice of language means. There are colloquial messages in the written form (such as personal letters, informal notes, diaries and journals) and vice versa: we have examples of literary discourses in the oral form (as in a recital, lecture, report, paper read at a conference etc.).

The second point deals with the flexibility of style boundaries: the borders within which a style presumably functions are not rigid and allow various degrees of overlapping and melting into each other. It is not accidental that rather often we speak of intermediate cases such as the popular scientific style which combines the features of scientific and belles-lettres styles,or the style of new journalism which is a combination of publicist, newspaper and belles-lettres styles etc.

Exercise I. Analyse the peculiarities of functionalstyles in the following examples:

1. Nothing could be more obvious, it seems to me, than that art should be moral and that the first business of criticism, at least some of the time, should be to judge works of literature (or painting or even music) on grounds of the production's moral worth. By "moral" I do not mean some such timid evasion as "not too blatantly immoral". It is not enough to say, with the support of mountains of documentation from sociologists, psychiatrists, and the New York City Police Department, that television is a bad influence when it actively encourages pouring gasoline on people and setting fire to them. On the contrary, television - or any other more or less artistic medium - is good (as opposed to pernicious or vacuous) only when it has a clear positive moral effect, presenting valid models for imitation, eternal verities worth keeping in mind, and a benevolent vision of the possible which can inspire and incite human beings towards virtue, towards life affirmation as opposed to destruction or indifference. This obviously does not mean that art should hold up cheap or cornball models of behaviour, though even those do more good in the short run than does, say, an attractive bad model like the quick-witted cynic so endlessly celebrated in light-hearted films about voluptuous women and international intrigue. In the long run, of course, cornball morality leads to rebellion and the loss of faith. (J.G.)

2. In tagmemics we make a crucial theoretical difference between the grammatical hierarchy and the referential one. In a normal instance of reporting a single event in time, the two are potentially isomorphic with coterminous borders. But when simultaneous, must'be sequenced in the report. In some cases, a chronological or logical sequence can in English be partially or completely changed in presentational order (e.g. told backwards); when this is done, the referential structure of the tale is unaffected, but the grammatical structure of the telling is radically altered. Grammatical order is necessarily linear (since words come out of the mouth one at a time), but referential order is at least potentially simultaneous.

Describing a static situation presents problems parallel to those of presenting an event involving change or movement. Both static and dynamic events are made linear in grammatical presentation even if the items or events are, referentially speaking, simultaneous in space or time (K.Pk.)

3. Techniques of comparison form a natural part of the literary critic's analytic and evaluative process: in discussing one work, critics frequently have in mind, and almost as frequently appeal to, works in the same or another language. Comparative literature systematically extends this latter tendency, aiming to enhance awareness of the qualities of one work by using the products of another linguistic culture as an illuminating context; or studying some broad topic or theme as it is realized ("transformed") in the literatures of different languages. It is worth insisting on comparative literature's kinship with criticism in general, for there is evidently a danger that its exponents may seek to argue an unnatural distinctiveness in their activities (this urge to establish a distinct identity is the source of many unfruitfully abstract justifications of comparative literature); and on the other hand a danger that its opponents may regard the discipline as nothing more than demonstration of "affinities" and "influences" among different literatures - an activity which is not critical at all, belonging rather to the categorizing spirit of literary history. (R.F.)

4. Caging men as a means of dealing with the problem of crime is a modern refinement of man's ancient and limitless inhumanity, as well as his vast capacity for self-delusion. Murderers and felons used to be hanged, beheaded, flogged, tortured, broken on the rack, blinded, ridden out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered, or arrayed in the stocks. Nobody pretended that such penalties were anything other than punishment and revenge. Before nineteenth-century American developments, dungeons were mostly for the convenient custody of political prisoners, debtors, and those awaiting trial. American progress with many another gim "advance", gave the world the penitentiary.

In 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush read to a small gathering in the Philadelphia home of Benjamin Franklin a paper in which he said that the right way to treat offenders was to cause them to repent of their crimes. Ironically taken up by gentle Quakers, Rush's notion was that offenders should be locked alone in cells, day and night, so that in such awful solitude they would have nothing to do but to ponder their acts, repent, and reform. To this day, the American liberal - progressive - idea persists that there is some way to make people repent and reform. Psychiatry, if not solitude will provide perfectability.

Three years after Rush proposed it, a single-cellular penitentiary was established in the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia. By the 1830s, Pennsylvania had constructed two more state penitentiaries, that followed the Philadelphia reform idea. Meanwhile, in New York, where such reforms as the lock-step had been devised, the "Auburn system" evolved from the Pennsylvania program. It provided for individual cells and total silence, but added congregate employment in shops, fields, or quarries during a long, hard working day. Repressive and undeviating routine, unremitting labor, harsh subsistence conditions, and frequent floggings complemented the monastic silence; so did striped uniforms and the great wall around the already secure fortress. The auburn system became the model for American penitentiaries in most of the states, and the lofty notions of the Philadelphians soon were lost in the spirit expressed by Elam Lynds, the first warden of Sing Sing (built in 1825): "Reformation of the criminal could not possibly be effected until the spirit of the criminal was broken."

The nineteenth-century penitentiary produced more mental breakdowns, suicides, and deaths than repentance. "I believe," wrote Charles Dickens, after visiting such an institution, "that very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers." Yet, the idea persisted that men could be reformed (now we say "rehabilitated") in such hellholes - a grotesque derivation from the idea that man is not only perfectable but rational enough to determine his behavior through self-interest.

A later underpinning of the nineteenth-century prison was its profitability. The sale and intraprison use of prison-industry products fitted right into the productivity ethic of a growing nation. Convicts, moreover, could be and were in some states rented out like oxen to upright businessmen. Taxpayers were happy, cheap labor was available, and prison officials, busily developing their bureaucracies, saw their institutions entrenched. The American prison system - a design to reform criminals by caging humans - found a permanent place in American society and flourished largely unchanged into the twentieth century. In 1871, a Virginia court put the matter in perspective when it ruled that prisoners were "slaves of the state". (Wic.)

5. BUYERS BOX FOR PACKER $ 350 m prace tag is put on Waddington

A J350 million bidding war is set to erupt for Waddington,the packaging group that last month admitted it had received a takeover approach from its management team.

At least two venture capital firms are understood to be looking at Leeds-based Waddington, which is expected to command a takeout of at least £325 a share against Friday's close of£247. One of the potential buyers is believed to be CinVen.

Waddington's management team, led by chief executive Martin Buckley and finance director Geoffrey Gibson, are preparing their own offer for title company. They are being advised by NatWest Equity Partners, which last week backed the management buyout of Noreros, the building materials outfit.

Waddington's three non-executive directors, led by chairman John Hollowood, are thought to have been alerted to the prospect of rival bidders.

City analysts said rival approaches were expected in the wake of Waddington's recent announcement, since the takeout price originally mooted was far too low. (S.T.)

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