IX
VALUES

IT is not difficult to say where stylistics begins, though authorities differ concerning its terminus. It begins with the notion of value in speech. Grammar has been defined above as a system of relations within the sentence, but it is found that these relations may be expressed in several concurrent ways. They are grammatically indifferent, but in fact speakers prefer one way to another and hearers understand the speakers' intentions. There is thus a function of communicating something more than the mere logical relations of the parties and the event. What is additionally communicated is value, and the grammatically indifferent sentences are found to differ in affectivity or emotiveness. The range is, of course, from zero upwards, since the phrase may be constructed so as to include emotive substance, and it is possible that more than one statement of the same relations may have zero affective value. An expression totally devoid of emotion is abnormal in ordinary intercourse, but the degree of affectivity may be so low as to be virtually nil. The whole material of language has to be reconsidered from this new standpoint, since the effect may be due to choice of sounds or words or order and grammatical resources.

The difficulty about fixing the end of this study lies in different conceptions of the linguist's function. If we accept that his competence is restricted to la langue, the organized resources at the disposal of every speaker of a given language, then stylistics stops short of the additional resources of la parole. In particular, it would not investigate the personal styles of great authors. But great authors are not necessarily odd practitioners. Their claim to our attention lies at least partly in their ability to make the best use of the common resources. They are specialists in an art which we all practise, an art of words or Wortkunst. To describe a language fully we should be permitted to describe it as it is most expertly used. The great masters, therefore, according to some stylisticians, are proper subjects for these studies and, indeed, the most rewarding. The question will arise, however, concerning them whether their whole art is one of words. In so far as it can be traced by

-265-

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Aspects of Language
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editor''s Preface v
  • Prefatory Letter vii
  • Contents xi
  • I- Language 1
  • II- Change 34
  • III- Techniques 71
  • IV- Sounds 97
  • V- Grammar- Form and Function 145
  • VI- Grammar- The Sentence 167
  • VII- Grammar- Parts of Speech 187
  • VIII- Words 226
  • IX- Values 265
  • X- Classification, Description, Affiliation 286
  • XI- Languages 305
  • Index 363
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