Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Writing,rhetoric

Critical Stylistics

Author ZhangZuo
Tutor XuYouZhi
School Henan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Critical Stylistics Framework Methodology Factor Analysis
CLC H315
Type PhD thesis
Year 2007
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This dissertation proposes a tentative general theoretical framework and methodology for critical stylistics. By reviewing the current researches and practices on functional linguistics, critical linguistics and stylistics, we take initiative to construct a suggested new framework and the corresponding methodology, which in this dissertation, serve as the major objectives of our study.The framework offers the research range of critical stylistics in three essential parts, namely linguistic, social and anthropological analysis. The significance of the study lies in that although many linguistic studies have been made on each one of the three parts respectively, a general and systematic study on all three of them together is not yet seen so far.In this dissertation, three parts of the framework are presented as analysis approaches, which share the same goal of identifying the hidden ideological meaning of the text. And we regard this goal as the objective of critical stylistics. In general, our study is based on factorial analysis, with scientific method, both quantitative and qualitative. In chapter 6, we set a specific section (6.2.1) to discuss the scientific nature of these analysis methods.As for linguistic approach, pattern analysis is used with statistic method to dig out the hidden ideological meaning. We choose transitivity, modality, and presentation of speech as three factors for the linguistic analysis in this dissertation. For each factor, we set up the analysis model, and define the linguistic patterns such as“Actor Shifter”,“Actor Eraser”,“Process Connector”etc. And specific methodological procedures on how to perform pattern analysis are given in descriptive detail and statistic case study respectively.In social and anthropological approaches, we propose qualitative methods for the research. We believe that social analysis can be collective or selective which means we can either analyze all factors or select significant factors to do the critical stylistic study. Selective analysis is a feasible solution to a certain degree, when the potential factors are various; for instance, our sample texts are from news media with certain news topics that we restrict to a specific aspect, hence choosing the related factors of these topics is appropriate to our study. And more, selective analysis can simplify the corresponding method of the theoretical framework to a more generalized degree, and put efforts on the study of the most important factors.Therefore, we select the essential factors to perform social and anthropological analysis in this dissertation. The factors we select for social analysis are identified as significant to the ideological meaning of language, namely, ethnic and national origin (ENO), geographical identity and social stratification identity. The factors we choose for anthropological analysis are also potentially ideology-based, i.e. physical and psychological identity. For each proposed factor, we put forward the detailed analysis procedure, following by proper case studies to validate the appropriateness and correctness of the methods.Results from case studies not only positively support the proposed methodology, but also help us understand the hidden ideological meaning of the texts by comparing sample texts from social, anthropological perspective together. Even more, we assume that the style of a particular writer’s sample texts can be applied to his/her other texts as well. We deliver a detailed discussion of this viewpoint in the case study of chapter seven.The major limitation of the present study is that we focus on media language, more specifically, news reports language analysis. We wish we could apply the methodology to different types of language, but due to the doubled or tripled necessary efforts, we leave it for future study. Another weak point is that our method is not validated with larger amount of sample texts, so the results may be conditionally correct and appropriate. We will keep it open for future practice with more time and efforts. This dissertation falls into eight chapters. Chapter one is the introduction, which describes the motivation, basic tenets, necessity, significance, objective and method of the study. In chapter two and three, literature review on the concept of style, stylistics and critical stylistics are presented. The description of our theoretical framework and methodology of critical stylistics is proposed in chapter four. Chapter five, six, and seven discuss the analysis procedures and offer case studies of the three approaches respectively. The concluding remarks, chapter eight, presents our viewpoint on the efforts required for a qualified critical linguistic study which may be taken as our philosophical reflection on critical stylistics.

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