Language and Linguistics


Stylistic and its characteristics


The stylistics is a field of linguistics that studies the use artistic or aesthetic of the language in the plays and the common language, in their individual and collective forms.

Stylistics . Science that deals with the momentary and creative mobilization of language deposits, so it must be taken into account in the study of textual diversity. For the Stylistic intention is one of the fundamental stylistic factors to determine the choice and composition of the means of expression of a statement. In literature one cannot speak of a normative, inflexible and fixed style forever and for all things. Literary styles vary with the time and also have to be flexible, adaptable to the theme.


Language is, in verbal terms, the material of the literary artist. And it can be said that every author chooses from it the components and features that will serve his purpose, just as the sculptor chooses the marble on which he is going to sculpt his statue. The printing press or the seal of the author constitutes the style.

The word style comes from Latin. The voice from which it is derived, in such a classical language, is equivalent to chisel (s tilus , ‘punch to write’).

The style , as a concept, refers to a set of specific features of all artistic composition, as determined by the binding of different shapes which together provide the artwork . In literary works – which is what is of interest now – style is related to the richness and precision of the lexicon, as well as its adequacy or inadequacy; It also refers to the structure of sentences, idiomatic turns, the rhythm of language …

The concept of style was used, primarily, for literary art, and from the 18th century it moved towards the plastic arts .

In the early days the style was considered as something objective, characterized or shaped by the literary genre chosen. Within these limits a certain margin of individual variations was possible.

The “ways of saying” or style classes from ancient or medieval rhetoric constituted essentially three: the ” sublime ” style , the ” medium ” and the ” bass “. Each of them had specific content or topics assigned.

Currently, the objective or prescriptive context gravitates less. The stylistic analysis is preferentially oriented towards the knowledge of the author’s personal characteristics. Still in Friedrich Schiller the style was a repository of the object represented, and every “personal” exhibition of an artist was regarded as a ” Mannerist ” peculiarity .

There is usually talk of a “break in style” when the author slips from one level or structure to another, suddenly. Sometimes this may respond to the author’s lack of stylistic ability, but in other cases it is a procedure deliberately followed in the pursuit of certain effects of the literary work.

“Stylistic means” means each of the elements that make up a totality of style. This is what rhetorical figures and any peculiarity of written speech persecuted and not obtained by chance are called.

Within the different modalities of style, a “nominal” style can be highlighted, in which the nouns predominate; and one “verbal”, with predominance of actions or verbs.

“Embargo” and not “encabalgado” styles are also recognized; In these cases, the use of ” entanglement ” defines the peculiarities.

The laconic style, concise, has been traditionally known as telegraphic: the greatest number of links is suppressed, and it occurred in expressionism .

The “hieratic” style is the excessively rigid, closely linked to archaic structures: it is the little spontaneous and lively style.

As for the relationship with time, one speaks of individual style when what predominates are the characteristics of a particular author; In the period style, what weighs is supra-individual, typical of a time in the history of art and literary art in particular.


Aristotle dealt with analyzing the figurative language in his Rhetoric and also partly in his Poetics . Hellenistic scholars grouped in Alexandria had to study figurative language to understand and comment well on Homer’s poems that they intended to edit. On the other hand, the Romans studied literary language also in Rhetoric to Herennio, and Quintiliano dedicated some space in his oratory institutions . Styling was initially considered a branch of Rhetoric and Literary Criticism . During the Middle Agesa stylistic model that reflected the tripartite division of the estates in commoners, nobles and clergy was established: “Wheel of Virgilio ” or Rota Virgilii , so called because the Roman poet cultivated the three in his poetry ( Eclogues , Georgics , epic Aeneid )

  • 1. Sublime style:
    • a) Social status of the characters: military, leaders.
    • b) Typical heroic characters: Héctor, Ajax.
    • c) Animal associated with such characters: the horse.
    • d) Weapon: the sword.
    • e) Radio of its sphere of action: the city or the camp.
    • f) Symbolic or significant tree: laurel or cedar.
  • 2. Medium style:
    • a) Social status: farmer.
    • b) Typical characters: Triptolemo, Celio.
    • c) Animal associated with them: the ox.
    • d) Weapon or corresponding tool: the plow.
    • e) Place of action: the field.
    • f) Significant tree: the apple tree.
  • 3. Humble style:
    • a) Social status: baggy pastor (pastor ociosus).
    • b) Representative characters: Títiro, Melibeo.
    • c) Animal associated with them: the sheep.
    • d) Weapon or utensil: the staff.
    • e) Place: the pasture.
    • f) Tree: the beech.

In the eighteenth century, the enlightened French Buffon said that “style is man”: that is, what is individual, personal or subjective is in his literary writing. In the nineteenth century this subjective vision of style was developed through Romanticism . An existential and historicist vision of this one affirmed that the literary work had to reflect the vital experience of the individuals and that the work could not be perfect or finished, but open to evolution to be really alive: Humboldt affirmed that the inner and creative world, ergon , manifested through language, energy ; the linguistic idealism German fed on this postulate, and their authors -Wundt , Hugo Schuchardt , Benedetto Croce , Karl Vossler and Leo Spitzer – defended a purely individual conception of language centered on the analysis of energeia or creative power crystallized in the particular literary language of an author or an era.

However, the predominant thing in academic teaching was to analyze the style in a general and atomized, unitary way, because of the great influence that classical Rhetoric still exerted . The development of the theories of Russian Formalism (whose contributions include the notion of deautomatization) and the discovery of the poetic function by Roman Jakobson and the theory of deviation were very important in this regard. Great rhetoric theorists made important advances in collecting and coding all the material of classical rhetoric, as for example Heinrich Lausberg . In the twentieth century three major currents dominated the Stylistic:

  • Descriptive stylistics , mainly French, inspired by the Structuralism of Ferdinand de Saussure and developed by Charles Bally .
  • Genetic or generative stylistics, which prolongs the stylism of German idealism and derives from Benedetto Croce . In the twentieth century it continued to develop with the work of Dámaso Alonso and Amado Alonso , heirs also of the philological tradition of Ramón Menéndez Pidal ; some call it «Individual Styling» or «Stylistic Criticism» or “Science of Literature”, according to Dámaso Alonso.
  • Functional or Structural Stylistics . Eugenio Coseriu raises it by adding the concept of norm to Saussure’s dichotomy between language and speech and introducing the operational role of poetic function according to Roman Jakobson . The deviation from the norm has a creative role in literariness and, in fact, considers the style as a deviation from a norm in what has a creative aspect. It takes place in the United States and counts among its scholars Michel Riffaterre and SP Levin .


The origin of the Stylist dates back to rhetoric, it is established in the early nineteenth century , but there was no unanimity on the part of linguists as to the conceptions of their object of study and their methods, for example, the linguist W. Meyer declared in 1899 that Stylistics was the study of languages ​​as art, others considered it as a literary discipline, and others as a complement to linguistic studies that deal with the synonymy of the means of expression.

It was not until 1954 that P. Guiraud in La Stylistique admits the existence of a linguistic Stylist . This author bases that the objective of the same is the form of the linguistic statements, from the point of view of the selection of the means of expression and of its optional use (the selection or election of the means of expression understood as the style that adopts a certain being at the time of making a statement). For C. Bally, style facts are linked to the world of speech, the variable in the use of language. This variation is conceived as a choice within the possibilities of a language, as a possibility of innovation with affective and expressive purposes.

From the second half of the twentieth century, Linguistics was enriched, because linguists focus on the study of language as a system. Stylistics, Sociolinguistics and Pragmatics arise, which guide linguistic studies a little beyond prayer; they use the theory of textual analysis, which deals with the message that the sender transmits to the receiver .


It analyzes all the elements of a work or spoken language, the effect that the writer or speaker wishes to communicate to the reader or receiver of the spoken speech, and the complex terms, turns or structures that make these effects more or less effective. Try to establish principles capable of explaining the reasons that lead an individual or a social group to select particular expressions in their use of language , the socialization of those uses and the production and reception of meanings. It includes literary criticism and critical discourse analysis.

A literary genre can be seen as a group of characteristics that mark the style and differentiate it; for example, prose and poetry . Other aspects considered by the stylistic are the dialogue , the description of scenes, the use of passive voice or active voice , the distribution and extension of the sentences, the use of dialectical records, the diction figures and the thought figures, the predominance of a morphological category or word class , the use of similes or comparisons, the selection or predominance of certain tropes , metaphors or images.

Object of study

The object of study of Styling is the style, understood by D. Alonso as the peculiar, the differential of a speech. For J. Marouzeau, it is the attitude of the speaking or writing subject to the material offered by the language, it is the model of use of linguistic means of expression for a specific purpose. Galperin introduces a tripartite conception of the object of study of Styling: expressive means, stylistic resources and functional styles. The phenomena under study in Stylistics are describable from categories and rules of lexicon and grammar, which from the point of view of the text imply the characteristic choice of lexical, syntactic and semantic units. Therefore, style is a typical form of language use, a procedure of the linguistic system.

The Stylist focuses its study on the dissimilar forms of statements that occur in the discourse, in the selection and choice that the issuer makes according to the function of the communication, the purpose or objective of this, the context; that is, according to the stylistic factors involved in communication. The Stylistic highlights the different linguistic forms and relationships with the context in terms of posture, attitude, character and social factors. It refers to the “adequacy” of the issuer’s positions.

The style of the statement is derived from the selection or choice of the means of expression, determined by the nature, intentions or situations of the speaking or writing subject. But this selection or style is fixed by stylistic factors, which help the statement to be more valid.

Qualities of good style

  • Clarity: means expression within the reach of an individual of average culture. This quality requires clear thinking, “well-digested” concepts, clean exposure, that is, with correct syntax and vocabulary or lexicon available to the majority: neither precious nor excessively technical. This means that a style is clear when the thought of the writer writes effortlessly into the mind of the reader. The secret of clarity is not just that the ideas are clear, it is necessary that the construction of the phrase responds to the logical-psychological order studied and that the words are not searched.
  • Concision: by virtue of this quality only those words that are absolutely precise are used to express what is desired. Concise does not mean laconic, but dense. Dense style is one in which each line, each word or phrase is loaded with meaning. The opposite is vagueness, inaccuracy, excess words, which is commonly called rhetoric . Albalat believes that what needs to be avoided is the superfluous, the verbiage, the incorporation of secondary ideas that add nothing to the parent idea, but rather weaken it.
  • Simplicity: means fleeing from the convoluted, from the artificial, from the complicated. Simplicity, it has been said, is the seal of truth.
  • Naturalness: is to say naturally the natural. Writing naturally is to ensure that the words and phrases are their own, which the subject demands, is to flee from the search. Abalat argues that naturalness consists in writing with the proper, simple and exact word.

Stylistic rules

  • First: put one thing after another and not look sideways. You have to write directly, it is superfluous everything that hinders the progress of written thought.
  • Second: Do not entertain. Do not amplify, it is typical of speakers to develop a topic carefully. What is necessary in oratory, strike in writing.
  • Third: if a noun needs an adjective, it should not be charged with two. The pairing of adjectives indicates sterility of thought. And much more immoderate accumulation.
  • Fourth: the greatest enemy of style is slowness. When the writer is slow the reader becomes desperate.
“Among all this labyrinth of style, in our opinion, stands the word elimination. Because of the elimination depends the time of prose itself. And a style is good or bad, according to prose prose according to one time or another. As it is more or less slow or more or less fast Fluency and speed: these two are the essential conditions of the style, above the conditions that classrooms and academies prescribe: purity and property ”.


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