Problems of phonostylistics


1. Phonetic modifications in speech.

2. Phonetic styles as opposed to functional styles.

3. The classification of phonetic styles.


The main circumstances of reality that course phonetic modification in speech are as follows:

the aim of spontaneity of speech (which may be to instruct, to inform, to narrate, to chat, etc.)

the extent of spontaneity of speech (unprepared speech, prepared speech)

the nature of interchange, i.e. the use of a form of speech which may either suggest only listening, or both listening and an exchange of remarks (a lecture, a discussion, a conversation, etc.)

social and psychological factors, which determine the extent of formality of speech and the attitudes expressed (a friendly conversation with close friends, a quarrel, an official conversation, etc.)

These circumstances, or factors, are termed extralinguistic factors. Different ways of pronunciation caused by extralinguistic factors and characterized by definite phonetic features, are called phonetic styles, or styles of pronunciation.

Scholars distinguish a number of functional styles of the written language, such as belles-letters style, publicistic style, newspaper style, the style of official documents and the style of scientific prose, which have clearly distinguishable lexical and syntactic peculiarities. The styles of the spoken language are not as yet unanimously defined, though we are aware of the phonetic differences. The phonetic style-forming means are the degree of assimilation, reduction and elision, all of which depend on the degree of carefulness of pronunciation. Phonetic styles differ prosodically, too. Each phonetic style is characterized by a specific combination of certain segmental and prosodic features.

Phoneticians distinguish a number of styles of pronunciation, although among them there is no generally accepted classification of pronunciation styles either. D. Tones distinguishes five styles of pronunciation: the rapid familiar style, the slower colloquial style, the natural style used in addressing an audience, the acquired style of the stage, the acquired styles used in singing. T. Kenyon distinguished four principal styles of good spoken English: familiar colloquial, formal colloquial, public-speaking style and public-reading style. For teaching and learning purposes the following classification of phonostyles is considered useful:

informational style

academic style

publicistic style

declamatory style

conversational style



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