How the study of stylistics can help improve one's English Language

Topics: Linguistics, Literature, Literary criticism Pages: 7 (1909 words) Published: December 26, 2014
Write an essay that discusses how the study of stylistics/language in literature can help improve one’s English language. (1500-2000 words)
To answer the question of how stylistics improves one’s English language is to understand the question itself. The word ‘improves’ in the question entails that the person or student already has at least a basic knowledge and understanding of the English Language and he/she wants to make that knowledge better. There are many disciplines that learners of the English language can venture into to help them improve their literacy competence. One of those aforementioned disciplines is in fact: The study of language in literature or Stylistics. Hence, this is where stylistics as a branch of study from the main trunk of the English Language and Literature tree plays an alternative role in enhancing one’s English Language capabilities. This paper will attempt to explain the logics of how stylistics can help in improving students’ English with an analogy. Studying stylistics is just like the process of language learning and the subsequent discipline that comes with it. Language learning is particularly challenging for most people especially to those who are trying to acquire it at a later age. Just like any other language, the English Language requires the learner to read English books extensively, try their level best to understand the language with the help of teachers and dictionaries, and practice speaking the language as much as he/she can. In regards to this essay, there are several ways how the study of stylistics can help improve students’ English language. Firstly, stylistics enriches students’ ways of thinking about language. Secondly, it improves their skills of English and finally, stylistics propels students’ to act as a linguist and literary critic at the same time which in turn make them competent users of the language.

Before diving into the content, one needs to comprehend the definition of stylistics first. Stylistics is understood as that part of linguistics, as Turner describes in Stylistics (1975), which concentrates on variation in the most conscious and complex uses of language in literature. According to A.J. Jassim, it is possible to say that stylistics means the study of literary discourse from a linguistic orientation which offers an area of contact between literary criticism and linguistics. Therefore one can define operationally that, the word “stylistics” is basically made up of the components of “style” and “–istics” and that “style” refers to literary criticism and “–istics” refers the general make-up for the linguistic component of the study (2006). Now, moving onto the discussions, firstly, stylistics enriches students’ ways of thinking about language. It is universally acknowledged that language serves many functions and one of it is to communicate meaningful expressions. In written text, language is seen, as Eifring and Theil asserts, a communicative system based upon words and the combination of words into sentences and this is known as linguistic communication (2005). One way how stylistics specifically plays a role in enriching students’ ways of thinking about language is for example, when poets write poetry, they are not writing it without their active consciousness of language. Sometimes, they deliberately incorporate deviations and parallelism in their works to serve a specific function. Through this ‘unconventional’ use of language, they are attempting to convey a deeper meaning within the text and most “Stylisticians” argue that only through stylistics, these literary devices can be observed, analysed and understood. Where some advocate extensive or authentic reading almost for its own sake, Hall explains (2007), as a result of which the language will be absorbed, the advocate of stylistics as a means to develop language proficiency is committed to the value of conscious attention to details of linguistic features ‘foregrounded’ in a text, whether...

References: Abdul Jalil Jassim Hejal (2006) Stylistics : A contact between Linguistics and Literary Criticism. J. of Col. of Basic Education. Pdf. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=69572
Eifring, Halvor & Theil, Rolf (2005). Linguistics for Students of Asian and African Languages. Pdf. Web. Retrieved from : http://www.uio.no/
Fairly, Irene R. (1979). "Experimental Approaches to Language in Literature: Reader Responses to Poems" in Style. Vol. 13 , no . 4 .
Hall, Geoff. (2007) Stylistics in Second Language Contexts: A Critical Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Wales, Katie. A Dictionary of Stylistics. London: Longman, 1990.
McIntyre, D. (2012). Linguistics and literature: stylistics as a tool for the literary critic (Vol. 1, pp. 1-11). SRC Working Papers.
Naushad Umarsharif Shaikh. (2011) Role of Stylistics in Learning English as a Second Language. Pdf. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.languageinindia.com/aug2011/naushadstylisticslanguagelearning.pdf
Turner , G.W. (1975). Stylistics. Benguin Books. London.
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