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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pluralism: Analysing style in terms of functions

An alternative to both monism and dualism which is in some ways enlightening than either is the approach which may fittingly be called stylistic Pluralism.According to the pluralist,language performs a number of different functions,and any piece of language is likely to be the result of choice made on different functional levels.Hence the pluralists is not content with the dualist's division between "expression " and "content":He wants to distinguish various strands of meaning according to the various functions...
                                                                       Than language can perform varied functions or commonplace of linguistic thought.The popular assumption that language simply serves to communicative roles in a communicate thoughts or ideas is too simplistic.Some kinds of language have a referential function;others have a directive or persuasive function;others have an emotive function or a social function.To this general appreciation of functional variety in language the pluralist adds the idea that language is intrinsically multi-functional,so that even the simplest utterance conveys more than one kind of meaning.For example",Is your father feeling better?".may be simultaneously referential ,directive and social.From this point of view,the dualist is wrong in assuming that there is some unitary conceptual content in every piece of language..
                                                                                     Of the many functional classifications of language that have been proposed,three had have some currency in literary studies.The oldest of the three is that of I.A.Richards,who in practical Criticism distinguishes four types of function and four kinds of meaning:sense,feeling,tone and intention.Jakobson's scheme is based on a more systematic theory of language and distinguishes six functions,each corresponding to one essential  aspect of the discourse situation.More recently still,Halliday's functional model of language acknowledges three major functions,which he calls "ideational",Interpersonal and "textual".................
                                                It can bee seen that pluralists tend to disagree on what the functions are,and even on their number.They also disagree on how functions are manifested in literary language.Richards holds that in poetry the function of feeling tends to dominate that of "sense"while Jakobson indentifies a special poetic function,which can be found in many uses of language,but which dominates over other function in poetry.
                                Although Halliday does not commit himself to a functional definition of literary language,he does recognize that different kinds of literary writing may foreground different functions.We shall take a part of his analysis of the language of William Golding's novel.The inheritors to illustrate the relation of pluralism to dualism and monism.
                                             The passage below illustrates the stylistics interest of Golding's novel:it deals with the prehistoric struggle of survival between homo sapiens and Neanderthal man,resulting in the latter's extinction.The major part of the book presents events through the limited Neanderthal outlook of Lok.The special lok-style which golding devises for this purpose differs considerably from the style he uses towards the end of the novel,when the point of view shifts to homo sapiens.It is important to notice that the contrast lies primarily in the function of language which Halliday calls ideational :that is,the way in which language conveys and organizes the cognitive realities of experience,roughly corresponding to what we have earlier called "sense:...........

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