Literature and Language

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Chapter 9 Language and Literature There is a very close relationship between language and literature. The part of linguistics that studies the language of literature is termed LITERARY STYLISTICS. It focuses on the study of linguistic features related to literary style. 9.1 Theoretical background Our pursuit of style, the most elusive and fascinating phenomenon, has been enhanced by the constant studies of generations of scholars, “Style”, the phenomenon, has been recognized since the days of ancient rhetoric; “stylistic”, the adjective, has been with us since 1860; “stylistics”, the field, is perhaps the creation of bibliographers. (Dolores Burton, 1990) Helmut Hatzfeld was the first biographer of stylistics and…show more content…
In this section, we shall briefly discuss the grammatical and semantic aspects. 9.2.1 Foregrounding and grammatical form Consider the following examples, both of which describe inner city decay in the U.S. The first is from the Observer (29 November 1995) : ex.9-1 The 1960 dream of high rise living soon turned into a nightmare. In this sentence, there is nothing grammatically unusual or “deviant” in the way the words of the sentence are put together. However, in the following verse from a poem, the grammatical structure seems to be much more challenging, and makes more demands on our interpretative processing of these lines: ex.9-2 Four storeys have no windows left to smash But in the fifth a chipped sill buttresses Mother and daughter the last mistresses Of that black block condemmed to stand, not crash. The sentence in line 2 of this verse that starts with But in the fifth is unusual in that the predicate of the sentence is made up of a sequence of embedded elements, as we can see if we write them out in a full form: “A chipped sill buttresses mother and daughter who are the last mistresses of that black block which is condemned to stand, not crash.” Furthermore, the main verb in this sentence is buttress. This word can be either a noun or a verb, but we would argue that it is more likely to occur as a noun in less literary contexes. In literary texts,
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