Neutrality in Language vs Neutrality in Speech
The core essence of stylistics is the selection of words from the stock of language and arranging them in a particular order and combination in speech. However, this choice is not entirely determined by the dictionary meaning of the words alone. Each lexical item, during its ‘life-time’ accumulates a stylistic ‘history’ of its own: contexts, styles and situations that are collectively considered by the author during the creation process. A word may be absolutely plain and ordinary but the context and syntax may turn this neutrality into a strong aesthetic impact. The opposite is also true. A word that has a specific stylistic colouring in a dictionary is, for example, ‘multitude’ being marked as biblical in the dictionary, and it is used almost exclusively to imply ‘crowd’ in the Old Testament of the King James Version. Its aesthetic potential is faded by its stylistic contrast with the biblical allegories and semantically parallel constructions. There is always a certain identifiable intention of the author behind his or her creative schemes of turning neutral lexical stock into marked elements in the context of speech and also in contextually neutralizing the marked elements. This chapter is an investigation into this ‘chemistry’ of neutrality in the workshops of authors.
KeywordsNeutral Word Common Stock Lexical Unit Creative Scheme Marked Element
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