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Monday, February 13, 2012

Style.text and frequency:-The uses of arithemetic

In rejecting the fallacy of objectivity in stylistics we may have seemed to be laboring the obvious.But it is important to be aware of the limitations of the statistical concept of style before going on to a more realistic assessment of its value.If some studies of style are of doubtful value because of their emphasis on quantitative methods,the opposite tendency to rely entirely on what we may call stylistic intuition has,if anything been more prevalent.
                    Aesthetic terms used in the discussion of style (exuberant,florid,lucid,plain,vigorous etc) are not directly referable to any observable linguistic features of texts and one of the long term aims of stylistics must be to see how fat such descriptions can be justified in terms of description of a more linguistic kind.The more a critic wisher to substantiate what he says about style,the more he will need to point to the linguistic evidence of texts;and linguistic evidence,to be firm,must be couched in the term of numerical frequency.I may observe from close familiarity with her novel,that Jane Austen favors abstract noun of a particular kind.Perhaps no one will doubt the correctness of my observation.But what if another person has observed That Jane Austen has no such stylistic propensity?If challenged,I ought to be, and can be in position to support my claim with quantitative evidence.Observation here misleadingly refers to something it would be safer to call an intuition or a hunch that such-and-such is the case.I shall only be able to convince another person that such-and-such is the case if I take the trouble to present evidence which available to both my challenger and myself.
                                                             So let us see quantitative stylistics as serving a role in the circle of explanation.On the other hand it will provide confirmation for the hunches or insights we have about style.On the other,it may bring to light significant features of style which would otherwise have been overlooked,and so led to further insights;but only in a limited sense does it may provide an objective measurement of style.More over the role of quantification depends on how necessary it is to prove one's point.The escape from the intuition in the study of style leads inevitably in the direction of quantification.

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