Stylistics for Form Five and Six

White laptop on white table.

Stylistics is the study of language varieties or styles depending on the social situations.

Varieties of language

There are two varieties of language:
     1.   Dialect
Dialect is a variety of language according to user. Example, as speaker in one geographical location may differ from a speaker elsewhere in terms of phonology and vocabulary.

     2.   Register
A register is a variety of language according to use. The variation can be reflected in vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and meaning.

Factors for dialect formation

     1.   Geographical extent
People in one geographical area will have some features which are different from those in another geographical area speaking the same language. That is why there is American English, British English, Nigerian English and South African English.

     2.   Social stratification
In society, speaker are grouped in different classes namely, the lower class, middle class and upper class. Each class has its own way of using language. The lower class language is not standard while the upper class uses standard language.

     3.   Historical factors
Language change with time, the old English spoken in the 8th century has changed remarkably in pronunciations and meaning.

     4.   Idiolect
 Idiolect is a variety of language as used by an individual. People differ in using language when speaking. You can notice someone speaking by just listening to his/her voice without seeing him/her.

Style is a way of doing things. There are five levels of style which are:

     1.   Consultative style
It is a conversation between people who are not familiar with one another. The main purpose is just to communicate.

Features of consultative style

-      It is always polite and uses words such as, ‘would’, ‘could’, ‘should’.

     2.   Intimate style/casual style
It is used by people who have a very close relationship.

Features of intimate style

     -      It has informal features
     -      Some words are ellipted. Example,
Musa: What are you writing?
Anna: A letter.
Instead of I am writing a letter.

     3.   Frozen style
It is a style of communication that almost never changes.  Examples of frozen style are:
-      Ceremonial statement e.g (Kwa mamlaka niliyopewa na Amiri Jeshi Mkuu nawatunuku wote vyeti vya kufuzu katika jeshi letu tukufu la Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania.)

     -      Hymn and prayers in church
     -      Oaths in court, church etc.
     -   Proverbs, idioms and sayings
     -   The national anthem

     4.   Formal style
This is a variety of language which is acceptable in serious speech or writing.

Features of formal style

     - It adheres to rules of grammar.
     -      No slang words are used.
   -      It is used for restricted purposes such as academic affairs, legal matters, typical public writing, official business communication etc.

     5.   Informal style
It is a style which is not accepted in serious speech or writing.

Features of informal style
     -      Mostly used in private conversion.
     -      Mostly found in spoken language.
     -      It contains contraction, example: I’ve, we’ll, etc.
     -      Does not adhere to the rules of grammar.

Marker of style

Marker of style are features of communication which enable us to recognize its style.

Marker of style are categorized into five linguistic levels:

     1.   Graphological level
Graphological level deal with the features of words. It includes:
     -     Punctuation, capitalization, underlining, italicization, bold and paragraphing.
     -   Use of diagrams.
     -      Use of references.
     -      Use of numbers, listing, letters etc.
     -      Abbreviations.

     2.   Phonological level
Phonologocal level deal with pronunciation involving the following:

     -      Pattern of rhythm, rhyme, pitch etc.
     -      Intonation.
     -      Onomatopoeic features. Example, Bang.
     -      Pronunciation of words

     3.   Lexical level
Lexical level deal with word formation and its meaning. It deal with the following features:

     -      Reduplication (tiptop)
     -      Clipping (telephone - phone)
     -      Acronym (UWT, NATO, OAU)

     4.   Grammatical level
Grammatical level deal with grammatical rule. It deal with:
     -      Sentence analysis like, type of sentence, length of sentence
     -      Choice of clauses of phrase.
     -      Choice of words.

     5.   Semantic level
It deal with meaning of words.

Language of conversation

Language of conversation is a language of talk between two or more people where ideas are exchanged.
Phonological features of language of conversation
     -      Dialect pronunciation of words.
     -      Using of high and low pitch.
-      Use of paralinguistic devices such as: moving the arms, head and facial muscles as part of communication.
-      Use of onomatopoeic words such as, whoosh, brrr etc.

Lexical features of conversation style

     -      Words tend to be simple.
     -      There are some ambiguities in sentences such as, ‘that is a big one’. Which is difficult to understand it without further explanation.
     -      Use of hyperbole. Example ‘it’s freezing here.’

Graphological features of conversational style
     -      Italics, bold, capital letters etc
     -      Exclamation marker to show emotions. Example, ‘Oh my God!’
     -      Dots or dashes to show hesitation. Example, I’m looking for…

Legal language

Legal language it is a language used in legal matters.

Graphological features of legal language
     -      Numbering or listing.
     -      Use of heading and sub heading.
     -      Clear paragraph. Using few sentences.
     -      Use of punctuation mark to avoid ambiguity.

Grammatical features of legal language
     -      Very long complex sentences.
     -      There is no question.
     -      No use of pronouns.
     -     Use of past tenses.

Religious language

Religious language it is the language of prayers.

Graphological features of religious language
     -      Arrangement into short lines like poetry.

Grammatical features
     -      Language used is restricted to the present tense.
     -      Use of long sentences.
     -      Use of archaic expression (old English). Example, thou, thee etc

Explore different types of languages ​​such as: language of advertisement, language of public speaking, language of newspaper reporting etc. then describe the features of those languages ​​based on their markers of style.

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