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Prof. Dr. Fee-Alexandra Haase: "Style and Styles"


In this paper stylistics is discusses under the aspect of its use by language style concepts of rhetoric both in a historical review and theoretical dimension. This way we will demonstrate methods of composition used for texts and spoken words. While the use of style-concepts since antiquity brought a long tradition of stylebooks and scholarly literature, the basics of style and its categories did not change. Stylistics is the form of the spoken or written word of a statement. Stylistics is a sub-category of rhetoric, which is also called elocution (elocutio). (1) The term "style" used for the equality of text structures stands for certain characteristics of texts or their components, which are inside each text and refer to the use of the language. Such a style is the verbal or written form of language by the selection of certain linguistic meanings. With both the text-internal criteria of the rhetorical stylistics and the extrinsic criteria of a type of style we can classify texts. The science of rhetorical figures was used in antiquity for the production and analysis of literature and speech. Knowledge of the most important instructions and stylebooks of rhetoric are also today still essential for the understanding of literature. This application of certain literary styles makes a difference to the so-called colloquial language (as long as one does not consider colloquial language itself as a style). The stylistics of speech art are concerned with the effects, with language and with the relationship between world, language and acting. Stylistics is concerned with the variations of the style of a language and its use. To stilistics the fields of word choice, the intonation, the rhythms, the syntax and similar characteristics belongs. Figures of style serve as the decoration and varied mode of expression in texts and speeches, by deviating from the simple linguistic formulation. Rhetorical figures are in the broadest sense deviations from the straight, smooth and flat mode of expression, deviations from the simple position and order of the words, deviations from the used expression, or deviations from the normal conception and report way.

1. The historic dimension of rhetorical figures of style conceptions

Stylistics is the use of rhetorical figures for the production of texts regarding their linguistic-stylistic organization for the effect of being a guarantee of their purpose. As theory of the text reception and interpretation stylistics is a theory means the analysis, interpretation and justified evaluation of texts. The word "style" has a long history and many meanings. It goes back to the Latin word ´stilus´, an instrument for writing. In antiquity one wrote on the wax boards with a stilus. It was partly manufactured of metal, partly from bones. Blasius writes in his Rhetoric that the style is a discipline of the speech and forms of the morphology, the syntax and the vocabulary:

Stilus - vel graphium - ligneum significat instrumentum, ferreum vel alius materiae […]. Metonymice stilus exercitationem scribendi significat, ac denique ipsam scriptionis formam, genus dicendi et scribendi, elocutionis rationem. Stilus est quidem disciplina, sed non certis finibus circumscripta. (2)

The stilus or graphium is an instrument made out of wood, iron or any other material. […] The metonymic style signifies the writing exercise and this way the form of the writing itself, the genre of the speech and the method of delivery. The style is a certain discipline, but not reduced to certain boundaries.

In order to correspond to all effects of intentions, rhetoric developed systems. Only the tree-style concept of Theophrast has survived in the history of the European rhetoric and literature until the 19th century. In the 19th century categories of the rhetorical model changed. (3) The three-style concept differentiates between the simple, the plain, and the superior great and pathetic style for the instructing purpose and communication, which adapted speech types from a genre of style aligned to maintenance and production of the audience.

Zurück zum Text  1. See as standard works:
Leger, Susan H.: Stylistics annotated bibliography for 1986. In: Style. 1987. Vol. 21. N. 4. P. 491-572.

Zurück zum Text  2. Http://xoomer.virgilio.it/blasius2/rhetor/rhs.html.

Zurück zum Text  3. Cf. for the history of rhetoric in the 19 century the example of Germany: Haase, Fee-Alexandra: Warum sollte es einen Niedergang der Rhetorik im 19. Jahrhundert gegeben haben? Über die A-Historizität eines Topos der antiken und neueren Geschichte der Beredsamkeit. In: LOGO. Revista de retoica y teoria de la comunicacion. III. Numero 4 (2003). Junio 2003. Pp. 187-201.

 

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