The Great Significance of Studies of Stylistics and Rhetoric

Topics: Linguistics, Literature, Literary criticism Pages: 7 (2341 words) Published: January 2, 2014
The Great Significance of Studies of Stylistics and Rhetoric LIYao
Abstract: Stylistics is a scientific study of style. It is a new branch of linguistics. Rhetoric is the art or science of the communication in words. In general, stylistics is a discipline that studies the ways in which language is used; it is a discipline that studies the styles of language in use. However, rhetoric is the scientific study of how language could be employed expressively and effectively in modern times. Studying stylistics and rhetoric is of great significance in expression and understanding of languages; in employing achievements in literary criticism and linguistics; in promoting and developing computer science and information technology; and in sharing heritage of human civilizations. Key words: stylistics; rhetoric; studies of stylistics and rhetoric; significance

1. Introduction

Today, it is commonly acknowledged that a language is not something homogeneous, something with a unified form. Rather, a language is a composite of various types and forms: there are many ‘sublanguages’ within a language, and there are different ways in which a language is used. Hence the fast spreading interest in the analysis of both non-literary languages on the part of linguists and the occurrence of stylistics as a particular discipline.

1.1 Definition of Stylistics
In order to give some idea of what stylistics is, it seems wise in the first place to briefly define the field. H.G. Widdowson provides a scholarly and commonly accepted definition: “By stylistics, I mean the study of literary discourse from a linguistic orientation and I shall take the view that what distinguishes stylistics from literary criticism on the one hand and linguistics on the other is that it is essentially a means of linking the two”. He further explains his definition from the morphological make-up of the word stylistics, pointing out that the “styl” component relates stylistics to literary criticism, and the “istics” component to linguistics. G.N. Leech holds a similar view. He defines stylistics as the “study of the use of language in literature”, and considers stylistics a “meeting-ground of linguistics and literary study”. From what Widdoson and Leech say, we can see that stylistics is an area of study which straddles two disciplines: literary criticism and linguistic. It takes literary discourse as its object of study and uses linguistics as a means to that end. Thus defined, we may exclude two kinds of “border line” studies: work which is in some ways linguistically oriented but not directly related to literary interpretation(e.g. computer-oriented study of authorship), and work which is claimed to deal with style but does not make use of linguistic facts and theory.

1.2 Definition of Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art or science of communication in words. It is the scientific study of how language could be employed expressively in modern times. By identifying the figures and rhetorical devices in languages, rhetoricians emphasize the composing processes of the texts or discourses. The traditional rhetoric is limited to the insights and terms developed by rhetors, or rhetoricians. Modern rhetoric has shifted its focus to the auditor or reader. Modern rhetoricians identify rhetoric more with critical perspective than with artistic product. They justify expanding their concerns into other literary provinces on the basis of a change in thinking about the nature of human reason.

2. Significance of Studies of Stylistics and Rhetoric

2.1 Great Help in Expression and Understanding of Languages
Language, according to Bloch&Trager, in their Outline of Linguistic Analysis, is “ a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group co-operates” Language is often compared to a code, s system of signals or symbols used for sending a message, a piece of information. In any act of verbal communication, language has been regarded as a system for translating...

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