Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Writing,rhetoric > Of Stylistics

A Functional-Stlytic Apprach to Texting Language in Humor and Blessing

Author LiZuo
Tutor ZhangDeLu
School Ocean University of China
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Short message Functional stylistics Foregrounding Incongruity Deflection
CLC H152
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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The Short Messaging Service (SMS) has been crowned as“the fifth media”because of its abundant advantages: short but to the point, humorous and in fashion, quick and in time, etc. Txt—the language used in the short message has attracted much attention in the wake of its distinct characteristics. It has become a new language style, which can be called“written speech”or“interactive written discourse”since it consists of the characteristics of both spoken and written language. However, the language in short message has not gained sufficient and intensive studies yet. Most of the studies concerned with short message remain at the stage of the simple collection, classification or superficial introduction. There are still few researches taken out under a scientific theoretical framework.This study aims to analyze the stylistic features of short message systematically and comprehensively based on the theory of foregrounding as well as many other theories such as graphology, lexicology, syntax, etc.Functional stylistics holds the view that style is foregrounding. And Halliday (1973) had made a distinction between the notions of foregrounding and prominence, and only the motivated prominence can be defined as foregrounding. Meanwhile, foregrounding is the opposition of automatization. Automatization schematizes an event while foregrounding violates the scheme. Halliday has adopted the viewpoints of Leech to classify the modes of foregrounding into two kinds: incongruity and deflection. The former one refers to the intentional departure from the norm of the standard, which is negative and the later one means the overregular use of the norm, which is positive.Short message can be classified into three groups on the basis of their functions: namely, problem-solving text message, humorous and blessing text message, and the advertisement text message. The humorous and blessing text message will be selected as the data to be analyzed since it’s a typical kind of short message with the typical linguistic features and easy to be collected. Based on the large number of data collected from the friends, classmates, relatives around the author and downloaded from the Internet, the author tries to analyze the functional stylistic features of the Txt from five levels respectively: phonological, graphological, lexical, syntactic and semantic.Incongruity mainly occurs at the graphological and lexical levels. At the graphlogical level, peculiar use of punctuation marks and manipulation of the space help to achieve foregrounding; at the lexical level, foregrounding is fulfilled through the use of old terms with new meaning, co-occurrence of the words in different lexical sets, common use of the dialect, pun and English expressions.Deflection appears at all levels: at the phonological level, foregrounded features are embodied in frequent use of homophones and homonyms, common use of rhyme, and abundant use of onomatopoeias; at the graphological level, over-use of commas and emoticons help to achieve deflection; at the lexical level, it is the frequent use of hemoioteteutons, numbers, synonyms, interjections, lexical parallelism and repetition to achieve the foregrounding; at the syntactic level, both the repetition and ellipsis are frequently used to realize the deflection; at the semantic level, it is realized by the various rhetorical devices, namely: simile, parody, personification, parallelism, irony and bathos.All these foregrounding features are produced to help the users to have a better expression in the communication, since the features are designed to conform to the characteristics of the texting message: namely, short but to point, humorous and in fashion and long-distance. On the basis of these foregrounding features, the short message communication could function better both in information transmitting and interpersonal relationship maintenance.It is hoped that the present research of the functional stylistic features of the short message could broaden the research area of text message as well as widen the practice of the theory of functional stylistics. And it may help people to have a better use of this kind of new communicating media, and have a better appreciation of its beauty and uniqueness of the texting message.

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