Linguistics

The first is that there may be an over-preoccupation with one particular feature that may well minimise the significance of others that are equally important. (Wetherill. 1974, 133) The second is that any attempt to see a text as simply a collection of stylistic elements will tend to ignore other ways whereby meaning is produced.

(Wetherill. 1974, 133) Implicature In ‘Poetic Effects’ from Literary Pragmatics, the linguist Adrian Pilkington analyses the idea of ‘implicature’, as instigated in the previous work of Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson.Implicature may be divided into two categories: ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ implicature, yet between the two extremes there are a variety of other alternatives. The strongest implicature is what is emphatically implied by the speaker or writer, while weaker implicatures are the wider possibilities of meaning that the hearer or reader may conclude. Pilkington’s ‘poetic effects’, as he terms the concept, are those that achieve most relevance through a wide array of weak implicatures and not those meanings that are simply ‘read in’ by the hearer or reader.

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Yet the distinguishing instant at which weak implicatures and the hearer or reader’s conjecture of meaning diverge remains highly subjective. As Pilkington says: ‘there is no clear cut-off point between assumptions which the speaker certainly endorses and assumptions derived purely on the hearer’s responsibility.

’ (Pilkington. 1991, 53) In addition, the stylistic qualities of poetry can be seen as an accompaniment to Pilkington’s poetic effects in understanding a poem’s meaning. Stylistics is a valuable if long-winded approach to criticism, and compels attention to the poem’s details.Two of the three simple exercises performed here show that the poem is deficient in structure, and needs to be radically recast. The third sheds light on its content. Introduction Stylistics applies linguistics to literature in the hope of arriving at analyses which are more broadly based, rigorous and objective. {1} The pioneers were the Prague and Russian schools, but their approaches have been appropriated and extended in recent years by radical theory.

Stylistics can be evaluative (i. e. udge the literary worth on stylistic criteria), but more commonly attempts to simply analyze and describe the workings of texts which have already been selected as noteworthy on other grounds. Analyses can appear objective, detailed and technical, even requiring computer assistance, but some caution is needed. Linguistics is currently a battlefield of contending theories, with no settlement in sight. Many critics have no formal training in linguistics, or even proper reading, and are apt to build on theories (commonly those of Saussure or Jacobson) that are inappropriate and/or no longer accepted.Some of the commonest terms, e.

g. deep structure, foregrounding, have little or no experimental support. {2} Linguistics has rather different objectives, moreover: to study languages in their entirety and generality, not their use in art forms. Stylistic excellence — intelligence, originality, density and variety of verbal devices — play their part in literature, but aesthetics has long recognized that other aspects are equally important: fidelity to experience, emotional shaping, significant content.

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