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Chapter Nine Language and Literature

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  1. Chapter NineLanguage and Literature

  2. 1. Foregrounding • The 1960 dream of high rise living soon turned into a nightmare. • Four storeys have no windows left to smash But in the fifth a chipped sill buttresses Mother and daughter the last mistresses Of that black block condemned to stand, not crash.

  3. The red-haired woman, smiling, waving to the disappearing shore.She left the maharajah;she left innumerable other lights o’ passing lovein towns and cities and theatres and railway stations all over the world.But Melchior she did not leave.

  4. 1.1 What is ‘foregrounding’? • Frank Hakemulder & Willie van Peer: • In a purely linguistic sense, the term 'foregrounding' is used to refer to new information, in contrast to elements in the sentence which form the background against which the new elements are to be understood by the listener / reader.

  5. In the wider sense of stylistics, text linguistics, and literary studies, it is a translation of the Czech aktualisace (actualization), a term common with the Prague Structuralists. In this sense it has become a spatial metaphor: that of a foreground and a background, which allows the term to be related to issues in perception psychology, such as figure / ground constellations.

  6. The English term 'foregrounding' has come to mean several things at once: • the (psycholinguistic) processes by which - during the reading act - something may be given special prominence • specific devices (as produced by the author) located in the text itself. It is also employed to indicate the specific poetic effect on the reader.

  7. an analytic category in order to evaluate literary texts, or to situate them historically, or to explain their importance and cultural significance. • to differentiate literature from other varieties of language use, such as everyday conversations or scientific reports.

  8. Thus the term covers a wide area of meaning. This may have its advantages, but may also be problematic: which of the above meanings is intended must often be deduced from the context in which the term is used.

  9. 1.2 Devices of Foregrounding • Outside literature, so the assumption goes, language tends to be automatized; its structures and meanings are used routinely. Within literature, however, this is opposed by devices which thwart the automatism with which language is read, processed, or understood. Generally, two such devices may be distinguished, those of deviation and of parallelism.

  10. Deviation corresponds to the traditional idea of poetic license: the writer of literature is allowed - in contrast to the everyday speaker - to deviate from rules, maxims, or conventions. These may involve the language, as well as literary traditions or expectations set up by the text itself. The result is some degree of surprise in the reader, and his / her attention is thereby drawn to the form of the text itself (rather than to its content). Cases of neologism, live metaphor, or ungrammatical sentences, as well as archaisms, paradox, and oxymoron (the traditional tropes) are clear examples of deviation.

  11. Devices of parallelism are characterized by repetitive structures: (part of) a verbal configuration is repeated (or contrasted), thereby being promoted into the foreground of the reader's perception. • Traditional handbooks of poetics and rhetoric have surveyed and described (under the category of figures of speech) a wide variety of such forms of parallelism, e.g., rhyme, assonance, alliteration, meter, semantic symmetry, or antistrophe.

  12. 2. Literal language and figurative language • Friends, Romans and Countrymen, lend me your ears… Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

  13. 2.1 Simile O, my luve is like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June; O, my luve is like the melodie That’s sweetly play’d in tune. Robert Burns (1759-96)

  14. 2.2 Metaphor All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages … William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

  15. 2.3 Metonymy There is no armour against fate; Death lays his icy hand on kings; Sceptre and Crown Must tumble down And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked Scythe and Spade. James Shirley (1596-1666)

  16. 2.4 Synecdoche They were short of hands at harvest time. (part for whole) Have you any coppers? (material for thing made) He is a poor creature. (genus for species) He is the Newton of this century.(individual for class)

  17. 3. Analysis of literary language Foregrounding on the level of lexis Foregrounding on the level of syntax: word order, word groups, deviant or marked structures Rewriting for comparative studies Meaning Context Figurative language

  18. 4. The language of poetry Little Bo-peep Has lost her sheep And doesn’t know where to find them Leave them alone And they will come home Waggling their tails behind them

  19. Fair is foul and foul is fairHover through wind and murky air Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King!

  20. Long burned hair brushes Across my face its spider Silk. I smell lavender Cinnamon: my mother’s clothes.

  21. 4.1 Forms of sound patterning • Rhyme • Alliteration • Assonance • Consonance • Reverse rhyme • Pararhyme • Repetition

  22. 4.2 Stress patterning • Iamb: 2 syllables, unstressed + stressed • Trochee: 2 syllables, stressed + unstressed • Anapest: 3 syllables, 2 unstressed + stressed • Dactyl: 3 syllables, stressed + 2 unstressed • Spondee: 2 stressed syllables • Pyrrhic: 2 unstressed syllables

  23. 4.3 Metrical patterning • Dimetre: 2 feet • Trimetre: 3 feet • Tetrametre: 4 feet • Pentametre: 5 feet • Hexametre: 6 feet • Heptametre: 7 feet • Octametre: 8 feet

  24. 4.4 Conventional forms of metre and sound • Couplets: 2 lines of verse, usually connected by a rhyme • Quatrains: Stanzas of four lines • Blank verse: lines in iambic pentametre which do not rhyme • Sonnet • Free verse • Limericks etc.

  25. 4.5 The poetic functions of sound and metre • Aesthetic pleasure • Conforming to a form • Expressing/innovating with a form • Demonstrating skill, intellectual pleasure • For emphasis or contrast • Onomatopoeia

  26. 4.6 The analysis of poetry • Info about the poem: poet, period, genre, topic, etc. • Structure: layout, number of lines, length of lines, metre, rhymes, sound effects, etc. plus general comment on the poem

  27. 5. The language of fiction From realism to modernism

  28. It had been an easy birth, but then for Abel and Zaphia Rosnovski nothing had ever been easy, and in their own ways they had both become philosophical about that. Abel had wanted a son, an heir who would one day be chairman of the Baron Group. By the time the boy was ready to take over, Abel was confident that his own name would stand alongside those of Ritz and Statler and by then the Baron would be the largest hotel group in the world.

  29. Abel had paced up and down the colourless corridor of St. Luke’s Hospital waiting for the first cry, his slight limp becoming more pronounced as each hour passed. Occasionally he twisted the silver band that encircled his wrist and stared at the name so neatly engraved on it. He turned and retraced his steps once again, to see Doctor Dodek heading towards him.Jeffrey Archer: The Prodigal Daughter

  30. There is the Hart of the Wud in the Eusa Story that wer a stage every 1 knows that. There is the hart of the wood meaning the veryes deap of it thats a nother thing. There is the hart of the wood where they bern the chard coal thats a nother thing agen innit. Thats a nother thing. Berning the chard coal in the hart of the wood. That’s what they call the stack of wood you see. The stack of wood in the shape they do it for chard coal berning. Why do they call it the hart tho? That’s what this here story tels of.Russell Hoban: Ridley Walker

  31. 5.1 Fictional prose and point of view • I-narrators • Third-person narrators • Schema-oriented language • Given vs New information • Deixis

  32. 5.2 Speech presentation • Direct speech (DS) • Free indirect speech (FIS) • Indirect speech (IS) • Narrator’s representation of speech acts (NRSA) • Narrator’s representation of speech (NRS)

  33. 5.3 Thought presentation • Narrator’s representation of thought (NRT) • Narrator’s representation of thought acts (NRTA) • Indirect thought (IT) • Free indirect thought (FIT) • Direct thought (DT) • Stream of consciousness

  34. 5.4 Prose style  Authorial style Text style

  35. 5.5 Analyzing the language of fiction • Lexis/vocabulary • Grammatical organization • Textual organization • Figures of speech • Style variation • Discoursal patterning • Viewpoint manipulation

  36. 6. The language of drama • Drama as poetry • Drama as fiction • Drama as conversation

  37. 6.1 Analyzing dramatic language • Turn quantity and length • Exchange sequence • Production errors • The cooperative principle • Status marked through language • Register • Speech and silence

  38. 6.2 Analyzing dramatic texts Paraphrasing Commentating Using theories