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Stylistics Notes (May-2013)

Aims and perspectives

Stylistics is linguistics analysis of text. When we say text what do we mean by that? Which text? Here text may include a poem and when we go for literature analysis linguistically we treat literature as text. When we focus on literary criticism of literature then we treat literature as discourse. But combination of both literature as text and literature as discourse is what stylistic does. Many writer believes stylistics as discipline but Widdowson believes that stylistics is neither a discipline nor the subject but lies somewhere in between; it is like meditation between discipline and subject. it related discipline with subject like language with linguistics and literature with literary criticism. For instance he says; I want to define discipline as set of abilities; concepts; ways of thinking associated with a particular area of which one inquires, geneticists, biochemist, linguist, and literary critics, for example all follow certain principles of inquiry which characterizes different discipline” meaning Genetic, Biochemistry, they all are different discipline what are subjects then? Subject is that from which a it is derived like subject is derived from discipline; discipline provides material from which subjects are derived, because discipline is a broader term. English language is subject; you’re reading different subject in your school, English language, Math, Science; science includes chemistry, biology, and physics but as you go on subject will go on move towards discipline. You talk something general then you go to specify it.

Haliday defines stylistics as “the linguistics analysis of literary text” according to him stylistician can comprehend literary text through a comprehension of their language structure. Literary text is seen to consist of patterns and properties which are part of language. Those patterns of language can be at level of:

a) Arrangement of graphic and phonic symbols

b) The lexico-grammatical patterns

c) The semantic or pragmatic patterns

The goal of stylistic is to show why and how the text means linguistically.

Language is subject and linguistics is its discipline same as literature is a subject and literary criticism is its discipline. Discipline is studied to understand the subject. Stylistic is neither a subject nor a discipline but it tells relation between them.

Disciplines: linguistics


literary criticism

(English) language

(English) literature



For Example: a painting to a learner is nothing but use of colors but a critic may find a hidden message behind that painting. Further when a non-verbal message is written into a verbal message it further gives forms to understand this is possible through literary criticism.

Primarily critic concerned is with message of a literary piece which a writer wants to convey. Linguist direct attention to how language is used in the piece of literary text.



Literature has attracted the attention of linguist for two very opposite reasons. One is that linguistic description of a literary text sometimes gives sense and secondly it does not give sense sometimes. Hadliday analyzes Yeat’s Poem “Leda and Swan” how two parts of the system of English are exemplified one nominal group and other verbal group.

Leda and Swan A sudden blow; the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, the thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill He holds her helpless breast upon his breast Haliday observes definite article “the” in English functions in number of ways and can be distinguish in grammar accordingly. In general its function is to signal that nominal group in which it appears constitutes specific reference. This reference is of three kinds Cataphoric, Anaphoric and Homophoric. 1) Cataphoric: it may include group of words (adjectives) in form of modifiers which come before a noun and qualifiers which come after a head word. For example; “The White goddess in the temple” (white-modifier, in the temple-qualifier). Article in this sentence specifies a goddess.


Anaphoric: it is a reference of already mentioned head noun or phrase in the same paragraph.


For example “The goddess was figure of mystery” it refers to previous goddess in the poem. Homophoric: when head words explain themselves and when they do not need any reference they are called Homophoric references, for example ‘the sun’ ‘the moon’ the president’ etc.

If a nominal group has either a modifier or a qualifier then the group fall into the category of Cataphoric reference, but if not having either anaphoric or Homophoric reference.

First criteria have to do with linguistics form and second with communicative function, and relationship between them is considerably important. In Leda and Swan there are 25 nominal groups and 10 contain definite article with modifier or qualifier, this is a simple text analysis of the poem.

Those 10 groups must be counted as Cataphoric nominal group because of having modifier and qualifier but they do not operate functional criteria of a Cataphoric reference. For example; “the great wings” and “beating still” “the dark webs” in forms are Cataphoric reference but wings are not identified as kind of wings which are great and beating, and nor the webs that are dark, so respect to their function they are either anaphoric or Homophoric reference.



So ‘the dark web’ and ‘the great wings’ and ‘staggering girl’ are identified as anaphoric reference to the title of the poem. So these references ‘dark webs’ ‘great wings’ as bodily parts are anaphoric reference to the Swan and ‘Staggering girl” identified +human +female to the Leda to the title of the poem as anaphoric reference.

Sometimes Cataphoric reference function as deictic reference, when something is pointed that is called deictic reference. In the poem there is possibility that Yeats is pointing towards any picture, painting or to imagined vision in his mind. This view can be supported when he uses “The thighs” instead of saying her or his thighs. It is same like in guide books when there are no buildings in front but their deictic references are used in the book. On other hand “Burning wall” can be interpreted as Homophoric reference to the historical event of war of Troy.

The first use of definite article in the nominal group “The thighs caressed by the dark webs” this follows the group “the staggering girl” which can relate to the title, but since the latter group establishes the link with Leda identifying her as a girl, but use of “the thighs” instead of her thigh shows the poet is referring to a specific thigh in a picture or painting etc.

Second observation concern the nominal group “these terrified vague finger” here determiner is adjective “these fingers” refers to which fingers? Which has no other semantic association to it, so it is painting or a picture?

If it is assumed that; Yeats was looking at a picture/painting of the Battle of Troy while composing this poem. But this is one of the interpretations obtained according to the law of linguistics. No one is fully sure that Yeats was looking at a picture and in order to get more information one has to look at the deviations as well.

Deviations (Unusual or odd and unacceptable)

Second reason of Linguistics interest in literary text is that of deviations that cannot be evaluated by linguistics terms but they still carry a meaning. In literary text we find such sentences which could not be generated by generative grammar but are still interpretable. for example:

Me up at does Out of the floor Quietly stare

A poisoned mouse

Still who alive

Is asking what

Have I done that You wouldn’t have This poem is like an ungrammatical long sentences but it still gives a meaning that mouse that is poisoned talking; since such a sentence is interpretable so grammar should be of such a principle that can generate such kind of sentences. These deviations in literature do not occur randomly but literary writers often

patterns to violate the grammatical rules but they still give sense in literary language.



Category rules violation and sub category: Shakespeare has violet category rule in his work such as “and I shall see – some Squeaking Cleapatra boy my greatness” in this sentence the word ‘boy’ which is a concrete noun is used as a ‘verb’ if we use it in grammar it would look like “she was boying her hair” or “Mary boyed her doll” which is very odd and unacceptable but in Shakespeare’s language it give sense. In this way writer violets category rule of using noun as very. Sub-category rule violation is done when writer uses transitive verb as intransitive verb, a transitive verb always need an object whereas an intransitive verb does not need any object; for instance ‘scaled’ in “I scaled along the house’ is used here as intransitive but actually it is transitive verb.

Selection and restriction rules violation: in literature large number of Selection Restriction Rules Violation is involved mostly by giving feature of animate to and non-animate things in description of language system. Most common of all instance –animate nouns being given +animate and +human features for example; in Ted Hughes’ poem “Wind” “seeing the window tremble to comin” in this sentence oddity does not lie in the trembling of window; which can tremble in storm etc. But problem lies the phrase “tremble to come in” which requires a animate subject as ‘he tremble to come in’ here selection of right verb or animate is violated, or in other example “The yellow fog that rubbing its muzzle” (Eliot) in this sentence the ‘fog’ is given +animate because fog has no muzzle perhaps an animal can do that. For instance “The Thistle saw the gardener” and “winds stampeding the fields” here in these sentences thistle and winds are given +human quality.

Transformational Generative Grammar rule violation.

These are four kinds of

i) Addition: when a word is not required and the writer add it for certain effect this is called addition: for example: “and mas in myrth like ‘to’ a comedy” in the poem by Spenser underlined ‘to’ is added by the writer though it is un-required.

ii) Deletion: when a word is required but the writer deletes it for certain effects. This is deletion. For example: “the cat ‘which’ was expensive attracted my wife’s attention” in this sentence ‘which’ can be deleted or for example: the coat / the coat was expensive/ attracted my wife’s attention. Tahir wants to meet sidra’ can be written as ‘Tahir wants meet Sidra’.

iii) Substitution: when the writer instead of using ‘she’ word uses another word this would be substitution. For example: ‘blank day, bald street’ rather than empty street.

iv) Reordering: when the writer changes the order of the words in a sentence for instance ‘No loyal knight and true’ instead of ‘No loyal and true knight’.

Deviations are used deliberately by the poets to beautify the literary work; literary writer is allowed to make such deviance as contrast to a speaker. The result is some degree to surprise the reader and to get reader’s attention.

It is hard to find out the degree of deviations in any rule. The problem of the relationship between grammatical and interpretability is that even ungrammatical sentences are interpretable.



Halliday believes that literary text (in which rules are violated) can be accounted for in term of models of linguistic description while generative grammarians disagree.


Literature as Discourse

Discourse in form of lecture or conversation, group discussion between two or more people represents speaker’s knowledge but not in literature. In literature ungrammatical language makes sense and can be interpreted through its code and context.

Code and Context:

Sometimes linguistic analysis may not give you the comprehensive meaning then literary criticism may help it out to comprehend it. Deviations in literature are not random but they are patterns. And deviations cannot be understood in isolation but partly understood by linguistics (grammar rules etc.) and partly by context, in which they appeared, so that means literature can only be understood as whole

We understand a language through its code which is grammatical structure; unless we know the grammar we cannot understand a language. in the same way every piece of literature has a different code of its language , through some rules we derive a code out of literary text and we apply that code to analyze whole literary piece.

Thorne’s proposals are applied particularly to e eCumming’s poem “Anyone lived in a pretty town” which he treats as corpus of a different language, is the extreme deviance of which made it favorite text for linguistic analysis.

Anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) Spring summer autumn winter He sang his didn’t he danced his did

If we analyze this poem, ‘anyone’ is a common noun in grammar but in the code of poem it is used as proper noun so to understand these deviations we need to understand literal characteristics of it as well. “Anyone” is used as proper noun and auxiliaries “didn’t” and “did” are treated as common noun in reference to “anyone” in the poem. It is because he talks ‘anyone’ in general who lives in that very town. These deviations may lead us to the interpretation that writer’s past life is consisted of enjoyment.

In the code it does not happen all that time that all natural objects are given +animate and +human features but sometimes they present as they are, For example: “Winds stampeding the fields” “The blunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes”(By Ted Hughes). In this poem the poet wishes to express violent animacy of wind that house taken on roots and windows come alive.

We may say that winds in the poem is animate but inanimate in general phenomena, and poet can’t simply ignore literal meaning and bring an entire new meaning of the word. For example a word may give different meaning in a context but in the same poem it retain its original characteristics as well. E.g. in Browning’s poem “The Sullen wind was soon awaken/ It tore the elm-tops down for spite” since the



‘wind’ is taken as +human as it awakens, but at the same time it retains its inanimate characteristics as in next line “it tore elm-tops” use of ‘it’; which is a pronoun used for both animate and inanimate.

It is clear now that making rules cannot give whole meaning; but they are still English words and forms a part of language system, for instance, ‘anyone’ is a common noun also a indefinite noun. Similarly ‘did’ is a common noun in the code of the poem which is verb +past +activity.

It is clear now that literary text does not depend on reader’s knowledge or code as they are common. In short neither standard grammar nor devised code can work as whole for the meaning of a poem.

It is suggested that an interpretation of a literary work as piece of discourse involves correlating of linguistics item and then context or background where it occurs.

Significance VS Values

Meaning in code is known as Significance and meaning in context is known as Value. A word in a dictionary can give different meaning; but context makes it clear that which meaning is being referred to, that is why readers do not refer to dictionary after every word they read in the text. The value of a word becomes significance with the passage of time; for example the word Band has different meanings like group of people, group of musician, group of people sharing same interest etc. it also has a value which can be understood by the context. For example ‘Rocking band is coming to the concert” in this sentence we come to know what value is referred. Like there are many words which got their significance latter e.g. earlier word freeze was used for salary but later became famous as stopping something. Expression like Break up may be associated with concrete words to the non-native speakers.

The ability of language a user is to give new values to words in a discourse. Grammarian sometimes says as if it is only poets, children, and foreign learners who do not conform to the rules of language code. The answer of questions, how a poet differ from others? Is that no expression randomly occurs in ordinary discourse but they are pattern in reoccurring sound (phonological), structure (syntactic aspect) and meaning (semantic aspect)


Phonological Patterning: “On the bald streets breaks the black day” in this line phonological pattern is used (alliteration) /b/ sound is repeated to make rhyme scheme which shows desolation of the poet, through alliteration mood of the poet is conveyed.


Semantic Patterning: “The way a crow/stuck down on me/ the dust of snow/ from a hemlock tree” through these lines death and desolation is presented for example Crow represents black and black is dark and evil. Hemlock is associated with poisoned tree, and dust of snow associated with Christian funeral ceremony “dust to dust” so through these meanings successfully conveyed theme of death in the poem.


Syntactic patterning: for example in lines from Alexander Pope

See how the world its venterans rewards!



A youth of frolics, an old age of cards; Fair to no purpose, artful to no end, Young without lovers, old without a friend

Through structure of the poem writer has conveyed his message for example synonyms and antonyms are used, youth=old, love friend. Young=old, fair=purpose, through these we can interpret that fairness is associate with youth and the art is associated with old age.


Although the deviations are common in literature but these are not defining features of literature. But literary language should be patterns into actual language system. Widdoson suggests that effect of patterning is to create acts of communication which are self-contained units, independent of social context and expressive of reality other than that which is authorized by conventions. In other words, literature should not be deviant as text it must of its nature be deviant as discourse.

Literary communication takes place through literature or in other words message conveyed through literature. Literature is deviant and may not follow the rules of language and grammar the way non- literary discourse does. Literature is organized to form pattern and those pattern communicate and that is purpose of literature. Literature cannot be understood in isolation, in sentences or in phrases, but as whole, when you go through a poem you know the poet want to say. According to Widdoson literary communication is independent of social context, because in ordinary communication‘s demand is social context so its context dependent but unlike literary communication.

We communicate and literature communicates but difference is that our communication is context dependent and literary is not.

To understand this we’ve to first understand the process of communication in general. In communication we’ve sender who encodes message and there has to be a receiver to decode the message. Similarly, there are addresser and addressee, sender is addresser and receiver is addressee, who is being addressed, or in the written message writer becomes sender and readers become receiver. They are same in the common non-literary communication. Grammatical sender and addresser is first person and receiver and addressee second person. E.g. I/We, and You and a third person who is being talked about she/he etc. But in literary communication it may not happen.

First Person in Literary communication: in literary communication sender and addresser are

For instance poet writes a poem he is sending the

message and the characters in the poem are the addresser so there is different between sender and addresser. E.g I’m the enemy you killed my friend : a dead person is addressing, according to code of language the third person is addressing, in the context of poem, being first person, so third person

different and addressee and receiver are different



is used as first person. I’m not yet born; o Hear me ; an un-born child speaks. I come from haunts of coot and hern (reference to brook or stream is saying I come from). I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flower (cloud addressing). These examples do not fulfill requirements eg. A dead person speaking which does not happen in real world, a dead person can be talked of as third person, and other requirement of addresser is that he should be human. In these examples senders are poets Shelley, Owen, Tennyson and Mac Neice but the addressers are dead person, unborn child, stream and clouds; which in normal communication are being talked as third person. First person pronoun in these extracts then is not the conventional one but is somehow compounded with the third person to create a unique kind of reference.

Second person in literary discourse: Ye trees! Whose slender roots entine/ Altars that piety neglects… ( Wordsworth) and Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness…/Thou foster-child of silence and slow time. (Keats) With how sad steps, O moon, thou climbst the skies…( Sidney). In these extracts addressees are inanimate objects incapable of receiving messages, therefore, third person entities. Poets commonly address non-human objects, flower, clouds etc; but they know it is human reader who receives their messages. It means addressee is different from receiver, addressee is an object and receiver is human which is different from conventional use of second person pronoun and third person is used as second person. If the extracts are converted into common discourse then the value of the discourse is altered. He is not yet born. It comes from haunts of coots and hern. The still unravish’d bride of quietness. The poet is no longer ‘saying the same thing’. We might express the difference for the moment by saying that the immediacy of experience is lost and the poet is detached from complete involvement.

Third person in literary discourse: let us now consider how third person is used in literary communication, Fear took hold of him. Gripping tightly to the lamp, he reeled, and looked round.

The water was carrying his feet away, he was dizzy his soul, he knew he would fall. (D.H


Lawrence ‘The Rainbow’) in this extract it is to be noticed that Lawrence is describing feelings of a drowning man which is only felt by the person himself can feel. And this cannot be predicted for third person except in reported speech. What goes in mind can be only described by first person for instance In my soul, I know I would fall etc. but of course neither first person nor third person suits the situation because man is not presented as ghost speaking from his grave, but a drowning, which can’t speak. In the extract we have effect of third person which takes value of both first and third person.

In literary discourse we do not have sender sending message to receiver directly, as in normal case. Instead we have a communication situation within a communication and a message whose meaning is self-contained and not dependent on who sends it and who receives it.

The literary message does not arise in the normal course of social activity as do other messages, it arises from no previous situation and requires no response, and it does not serve as a link between people or as a means of furthering the business of ordinary social life. We might represent the normal communication situation as follows:










Literary communication:





Addressee Receiver

Three objections might be raised against this characterization.

i) First, pronouns in English can refer to more than one person (I+III) “My wife has a train to catch so we must leave at once” or “Your train leave at 10 so we must leave at once”. ‘We’ may also include speaker and hearer (I+II). ‘You’ II+II , I+III, I+II multiple references when someone is not directly addressed. Resolution:

Answer to this objection is that singular pronouns which in the code can only have single reference but which in literary writing has what we might call compound references. This might formulate I/III, II/II, III/I.

ii) Second, that the way Widdowson has compounded pronouns, as first person pronoun in poetry refers to poet who is sender and addresser, does not follow that all literature makes use of pronouns in same way. Resolution:

This objection can be answered that in literary writing even if first and second person pronouns do not refer to entities which cannot of their nature send and receive messages, they do even so depend for their value on the ending of the sender/addresser and receiver/addressee amalgams and on the addition of a third person feature.

The literary writer is well aware that artistic convention within which he works allows for this distinction between sender and addresser and so relieves him from any social responsibility for what he says in the first person. This is how literary writing differs from diaries and personal letters.

iii) Third, object that writer mostly does have social purpose of writing.


It can be answered that writer does not do so by addressing himself directly to those who consciences he wishes to stir.

Most literature provokes no social action whatever. Shelly spoke of poets as ‘the unknowledgeable legislator of the world’, but a legislator who is not acknowledged is not a legislator; poets do not make laws, although they make directly influence those that do. Literary discourse is independent of normal



interaction, has no links with any preceding discourse and anticipates no subsequent activity either verbal or otherwise.

Reformulation of the Principles:

Combines what is separate in code:

A) It is because a literary work is dissociated from other social interaction that the writer is required to work the language into patters: patters are designed self-contained and they are comparatively different from conventional language code. For instance in poem “Child On Top Of A Greenhouse” “The billowing out the seat of my britches,/ My Feet Crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,/ The half-grown chrysanthemum starting up like accusers,/Up through the streaked glass flashing with sunlight,/ A few white clouds all rushing eastward,/ A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses;/ And everyone pointing up and shouting. The poem consists of a series of noun phrases or nominal groups. It deviance in grammatical terms is shown by the fact that it is a sentence which lacks the obligatory category of verb phrase. So this utterance is not an independent sentence since first base rule of generative is ‘SNP + VP’ but VP is missing in the above extract. It is common to find utterances which consist only of NPs but such utterances are not independent but make logic to a forgoing utterance which provides the grammatical elements necessary for a sentence to be reconstructed. For example: the first line of poem can serve as a reply to a question as: A: What do you feel? B: The wind billowing out the seat of my britches. B’s remark – an utterance consisting of an NP. However A’s question provides means whereby the utterance can be related to the sentence. ‘I feel the wind billowing out the seat of my britches’. Underlying B’s utterance is an sentence of NP (1) and VP (Feel the wind, etc), and further that the VP consist of a V (feel) and another NP (the wind etc). One piece of information that the forgoing text provides is tense. In the exchange between A and B, the tense of verb in A’s question is transferred to B’s reply. The deep structure for B’s reply could be shown as: ‘I feel the wind/ the wind is billowing out the seat of my britches. Transformational treatment will then yield alternative surface forms like: ‘I feel the wind which is billowing out the seat of my britches’ or ‘I feel the wind billowing out the seat of my britches. But notice that B’s remark could take exactly the same form even if A’s question use of the past tense of the verb: A: what did u feel? B: I felt wind/the wind was billowing out the seat of my



britches’. And the deletion transformation would yield exactly the same form of noun phrase before: “the wind billowing out the seat out the seat of my britches. In the absence of any additional information from the preceding text, the noun phrases which constitute this poem have no specific time reference. We do not know whether we are to understand “The wind (is/was/will be) billowing”. Effect of isolating aspect here is to make a statement about a sensation of ‘ongoing movement’ which has no attachment to time. The boy is perched on top of the greenhouse physically aloof from the world below and at the same time removed from the reality which it represents, detached from real time and aware only of a kind of timeless movement. This sensation of duration outside time to expressed by the recurrence of the progressive forms-billowing, crackling, starting, flashing, rushing, plunging, tossing, painting, shouting.

B) Time and Tense /Aspect

It is because a literary work is dissociated from other social interaction that the writer is required to work language into pattern. As literature has no other link it should be self-contained and the very design, the creation of unique language pattern. For example: “The wind billowing out the seats of my briteches,/ My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,/ The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like ”

looking at this poem’s text we can define it consisting of noun phrases or nominal groups, deviant from a sentences which need VP to be completed.


The first rule of generative grammar is: SNP +VP and poem consist of SNP+NP etc. it is to be noted that this kind of utterance does not occur independent but in an ongoing conversation. For instance, A:

‘What do you feel’, B: ‘The wind billowing out the seat of my britches. We can say that underlying B’s utterance consisting of ‘I’ and verb ‘feel’ ‘I feel the wind billowing’ but in the poem we’ve no linguistics background knowledge so we cannot relate NP to the poem.

The problem is that we don’t know what to understand from the preceding text of present or past, ‘the wind is billowing’ or ‘the wind was billowing’, poem has no specific time reference. We’ve aspect but not tense, in language code time and tense are interrelated one can’t have without another; present continuous and present perfect tense, thereby including aspect as feature of general category tense. But in this poem what is normally inseparable becomes separated: we have aspect without tense.

The effect of isolating aspect here is to make a statement about a sensation of ongoing movement which has no attachment to time. Boy perched at the top of house, detached from real time and aware only of a kind of timeless movement. Only progressive form is used which runs as motif through linguistics patterning of the poem – billowing, crackling, staring, flashing, rushing, plunging, tossing, pointing, shouting.

The reality which the poem records, is that of subjective impression. Individual thoughts, feelings and perceptions, the private person, and this reality cannot be described by society as whole, but through code of language it was drawn to create a pattern of its own kind.



Literary writing often follows strategy as; it combines what is kept separate in the code and separate what is combined in the code. For instance, a lexical item can combine (wind) the feature /-human which is part

of signification with the feature of /+human which context imposes upon it, and the entity refers to both

human and non-human at the same time. And this is inseparable in the reality.




The second example is combing the feature of –human features with +human which is done in personification. This creates a unique pattern in which a thing is both human and non-human at the same time something Is either human or not human, it cannot be both; but in literature it can be.

D) PARADIGMATIC AND SYTANGMATIC RELATIONSHIP (Double Articulation or Double structure) Whereas syntagmatic analysis studies the 'surface structure' of a text, paradigmatic analysis seeks to identify the various paradigms (or pre-existing sets of signifiers)

It is thought that phonological structure of language has no independent function but serve only to

construct units of grammar. But in poetry patterns of sound do have a function other than that of constructing words: lexical items en+ter directly into the meaning through value which they do not own. The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves (keats The presence of the murmuring noise of flies on evenings of summer. The second does not have the same value as the first; there is not the same degree of ‘convergence’ of

double structure.

A linguistic unit, whether a ‘sound’ at the phonological level or a ‘word’ or ‘group of words’ at the

grammatical level, enters into two kinds of relation: it is paradigmatically related to units which can

occur in the same phonological or grammatical context, and syntagmatically related to units which it actually does occur with and which constitute this phonological or grammatical context.

For instance: sound /p/ in pet, pat, pack are represented by –et, -at, and –ack in contexts; it is in syntagmatic relationship with these sounds. sound /b/ in contexts to produce bet, bat, and back. /p/ and /b/, in the contexts –et, -at, -ack- and in consequence are in paradigmatic relationship with each other.

For example: in sentence like: The plumber smiled. Here NP (The plumber) and VP (smiled) are used, now NP can be replaced by number of items like My Aunt Charlotte/ An old man. They are in paradigmatic relationship. Similarly VP can be replaced Complained, Arrived etc, Mended the pipes, installed. We can set up class of transitive verbs which all are verbs having not following NP as part of their grammatical environment, for instance some noun cannot occur with intransitive verbs like the plumber mended.

A sound or word or a phrase in paradigmatic relation with any other which can replace it and the context

which provides the position in which these different elements can operate consists of items which are in

syntagmatic relation with these elements and with each other. To make a correct sentence one selects an element from paradigmatic and combines with another. In the NP and VP we’ve choices; between proper



noun and common noun, class of common nouns, animate and non-animate; and within VP we’ve transitive and intransitive verbs belongs to different paradigms. Horizontal plane are syntagmatically related and those on the vertical place are paradigmatically related. For instance:








a man from the BBC The Archbishop of Canterbury

Harold Wilson


Thus the nurse and teacher are equivalent but not nurse and Harold. Again disappeared and objected are equivalent but they are not equivalent to shot and ridiculed but only to shot the Archbishop of Canterburyor ‘ridiculed a man from the BBC’ since it is these verb phrases and not the verbs themselves which share the same column as the intransitive verb phrases.

Substitution table makes clear that a sentence is formed by selecting from items in a paradigmatic relationship and combining them with items from a different paradigmatic set. A sentence is both a selection and a combination and these two can be said to be the basic principles of linguistic organization. Previous chapter Literary Discourse makes it clear that patterns very commonly depend on a combination

of items which are in paradigmatic relationship. That is to say, a selection is made of a series of items

from the same column and equivalence is thereby transferred from vertical plane of selection to the horizontal plane of combination.

For instance: Eliot’s Four Quartets might be arranged in to a substitution table for: ‘words, strain under the burden, words slip, words decay with imprecision, words will not stay still’.





Under the burden Under the tension



Slip. Slide. Perish. Decay with imprecision. Will not stay in place. Will not stay still.

A further example we can reduce some lines of Wordsworth which were previously discussed to the

contents of a substitution table:




That disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts.


sense sublime


For more deeply interfused.




Have felt



Whose dwelling is

The light of setting sun. The living air. The round ocean.




The mind of man.

A spirit

That impels

All thinking things, All objects of all thoughts

That rolls through all things

If we move from left to right selecting from each column we can construct a whole series of different sentences:

I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts.

I have felt sense sublime of something that impels all objects of all thought.

I felt a spirit far more deeply interfused.

I have felt a motion whose dwelling is the round ocean.

I have felt a spirit that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts.

Wordsworth uses syntactic and semantic equivalences which create the effect that poet trying to express the unspeakable; trying to capture a true experience. By organizing Wordsworth’s lines into a substitution table we can show how paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations are combined to create a literary discourse. By doing we point out linguistic feature of Wordsworth’s style; it underlines our impression of its ‘sublimity’, its ‘grandeur’ and so on. The use of table can be helpful in teaching literature.

Let’s now briefly review the converse: aspect of literary discourse which depend on dividing what is normally compounded. The most obvious instance of this, of course, is the separation of addresser from sender and addressee from receiver. It is to be noticed that this separation is symptomatic of the independence of literary discourse from the normal processes of social interaction and that it is because of this independence that internal patterns of language have to be designed within the discourse to carry meanings. These patterns are formed by reversing the normal principles of linguistic organization. Thus, the dividing of what is combined leads to the combining of what is divided: the one is consequence of other. The isolation of aspect from tense is the result of removing the discourse from any contact with previous interaction, but the consequence of this is that the occurrence of the continuous form of the verb cannot itself be isolated in the context: it has to pattern in with others. The first line of the poem: The wind billowing out the seat of my britches…” make no sense on its own ( as it would if it were the reply of the question or if it were linked with previous discourse In any other way). It only makes sense in association with the other lines of the poem, as part of code patterns prepares the way for the creation of patterns in context. Separation of what is normally combined is, then, symptomatic of the detachment of literary discourse. Other examples are provided by such opening lines as; “No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist/ Wolf’s bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine” (keats) and “yes, I remember Adlestrop” (Edward Thomas). These lines make o sense on their own. They only make sense in association with the rest of the poem which they appear; being cut off from one link they have to form others.

Two quotations cited above sound like spoken replies, one catches the cadence of the speaking voice; but at the same time lines are in medium of written form. Organization of first lines of poems suggests mode of communicating. The medium used in literature is not like that of conventionally associated but it is more like of spoken. For example: the patterning of sound and stress upon which poetic meanings so often depend are obviously intended to appeal to the ear, and in this respect poetry has character of



communication in the spoken mode. The medium is writing, but the mode of communication is not definitely spoken or written in the conventional sense but a blend of both. Literature also has blend of both for instance; if we look at certain features of short stories, appears to be mode of communicating which has no analogue in conventional uses of language. It is very common to find literary works beginning with a third person pronoun for which there is no previous reference. In normal circumstances, if one uses ‘he’ or ‘she’ it is anaphoric or deictic reference and refers to human; however this is not normally case in the literature for example: “she walks in beauty like the night…(Byron), She was a phantom of delight… (Wordsworth). Here ‘she’ is not told about so here ‘she’ pronoun takes place of proper noun and it never happens in normal discourse. For instance in Fiction its often found “He came back into the kitchen. The man was still on the floor, lying where he had hit him, and his face was bloody…” (Somerset Maugham :The Unconquerred). And “ Soon they enter the Delta. The sensation was familiar to him” (William Faulker: Delta Autumn) and “it was an eighty-cow dairy and the troop of milkers, regular and supernumerary, were all at work. (Hard; The withered Arm). Since there is no preceding discourse to which these sentences can relate, the above used pronouns have no references and reader takes it as it were, on trust. So the literary discourse and common discourse differs; whereas ordinary discourse pronoun derive their value retrospectively and in literary discourse pronoun take their value prospectively from what follows. It frequently happens that in literary discourse person pronouns are not anaphoric in function but operate as Homophoric or deictic as in the case of the lines from Byron and Wordsworth or Cataphoric in the case short story opening. Since “the man was still on the floor” is a Cataphoric reference followed by article; in effect inclines us to interpret these definite noun phrases deictically. The effect of use of phrase like ‘The man’ without any given information; draw the reader into the imagined situation and to provide an immediacy of reference by involving the reader as participant in the situation itself. The purpose of throwing the reference forward, of projecting the reader’s attention towards what is to come, is of course precisely to make us read on. Here are some other examples of the dual functioning of definite reference: “The Picton boat was due to leave at half past eleven” (Katherin Mansfield: The voyage) – “There was two white men in charge of the trading situation” (H.G.Wells: In the Abyss). Occurrence of aspect without tense and use of pronoun and definite noun phrases; which has no antecedent reference in the context; reflects the independence of literary discourse. In conventional discourse it is not generally necessary to provide details about the participants and the setting in terms of time and place. If the discourse is spoken most of these details appear within the actual situation. Whereas in literature sense of time and tense and social context is removed; and sender is no longer identified with addresser nor the receiver with the addressee. The fact about participants and about setting in which they interact have to be included within the discourse itself. In consequence, its mode of communicating is really neither spoken nor written in any straightforward way but a combination of both. It is for this reason that prose fiction is marked by frequent description of persons and settings: they represent the necessary situational context within which the action, include the verbal actions, of the participants can be understood; for instance: quote from Conrad’s “An Outpost of Progress” “There was two white men in charge of the trading station, Kayerts, the chief, was short and fat; Carlier, the assistant, was tall, with a large head and a very broad trunk perched upon a long pair of thin legs” and about place ít was dead hour of November afternoon. Under the ceiling of level mud-coloured cloud, the latest office buildings of the city stood out alarmingly like new tombstones among the mass of older building” (V.S Pritchett: The Fly in the Ointmen). The account of person and settings is not, however, a straightforward one (as, indeed we might not expect it to be). As the situation is one which is removed from the reality of normal social life there is no need to keep the different situational factors distinct. Again see the combing principal at work. Thus, it is common to find it instead of having persons, times and places described as separate aspect of situation they are interrelated as features of a kind of composite reality which we usually refer to as the ‘theme’. Consider again following example, the opening of Lawrence’s story Fanny and Annie:



Flame-lurid his face as he turned among the throng of flame-lit and dark faces upon the platform. In the light of the furnace she aught sight of his drifting countenance, like a piece of floating fire. And the nostalgia, the doom of homecoming, when through her veins like a drug. His eternal face, flame-lit now. The pulse and darkness of red fire from the furnace towers in the sky, lighting the

Ofcourse he did not see

Scene here, the darkness and the red light from the furnace is

inextricably involved with the man’s appearance. This kind of description of person and setting which is required in literary discourse has no exact analogue in other uses of language. What literature communicates, then, is an individual awareness of a reality other than that which is given general social sanction but nevertheless related to it. The basic problem in the teaching of literature is to develop in the student an awareness of the what/how of literary communication and this can be only be done by relating it to, without translating it into, normal uses of language. it is at this point that we can turn to pedagogic questions.

her. Flame-lit and unseeding!

desultory, industrial of crowd on the wayside station, lit him and went out ”

Chapter 5 Literature as Subject and


Different between subject and discipline is that disciplines are derived from the subject like you’ve studied literary criticism, linguistics or literature. So here he discusses that how literature is to be taught as subject because we do teach in literature as subject not only in Pakistan but in English countries. Because here is no proper framework as such for teaching English literature; what he says that teachers more or less teach literature to the student as the same way as they were taught.

This stylistic that we’ve been discussing and we’ve know how important this stylistic is, and within stylistic how important the role of language is in understanding literature. Language aspect the linguistics aspect the linguistic analysis it guides to towards the understanding of literature. When you ignore the importance of language you just focus on critical aspect of literature then you’re deriving students of literature of very important thing in order to understand literature language has to be given due importance because as we see language is very important and there is no well defined rules for teaching English literature that according to stylistics this is how you teach the literature, take your example how you’re taught literature teacher reading out the poem and teacher explaining the main points what a writer wants to convey may be telling you about rhyme scheme at the most but guiding to you towards message this is what poet is saying. But what happens when you’re taught literature you’re taking the message that teacher is delivering to them not the poem that is delivering, a poem communicates as we’ve seen literature as communication; that communication is deliverd through the medium of teacher to the students. so students are doing what they are not understanding literature themselves, not trying to understand the message in the poem making use of language and all, but they are the told what the message is and that is what they follow; if they are supposed to explain that poem they will produce what the teacher has told them this is what you student have been doing. Teacher tells you summary the main idea and you reproduce it in exams.

Widdowson doesn’t believe in this approach he says that there should be a proper system through which and proper techniques would be used so that students are properly guided how to interpret literature;



instead of giving them readymade interpretation which they cram and reproduce and teacher give them one or two interpretation and students apply them in all of literature. He says that literature since we know language is patterns in literature that gives the beauty to literature whether prose or poetry and when you translate it or paraphrase it so that beauty is gone, students then are not getting that beauty of literature and cannot appreciate that because they cannot reach it. And this happens when language is not given importance for dealing with literature. It is patterning of language and the point is what that patterning is when you understand that you can understand literature. So language cannot be separated but unfortunately this has been happening.

For example if there is extract from Shakespeare’s play what teachers normally do they take help literature as discipline by looking for more work of Shakespeare by looking at whole of the play from which extract; so looking for an answer within the realm of literature. Their teacher might have taught them in the same manner, so teaching literature by taking help from literature that means ignoring the linguistics and language. Teaching literature as subject focusing on literature as a discipline. Aim of teacher is to teach literature for the exams but not for the sake of understanding of literature. If teachers know that there will be the reference to the context so teacher will teach them more or less for that. For instance a TEFL students is taught; how to teach and different techniques for teaching English language but in literature teacher are not being given formal training for the teaching of literature.

This chapter favors stylistic approach towards the study of literature.

F.R. Leavis’ definition of literature as a subject given which indicates what author sees as the essential benefit deriving form study of literature and in particular from a study of English literature:

“the essential discipline of an English school in the literary critical; it is a true discipline, only in an English school if anywhere will it be fostered, and it is irreplaceable. It trains, in a way no other discipline can, intelligence and sensibility together, cultivating sensitiveness and precision of response and a delicate integrity of intelligence…”


iv) The aim of the discipline of literary criticism as given in the definition are of extremely general and idealistic kind.

v) There are a number of other discipline which might justifiably claim to train people acquire

precision of response, awareness of the significance of tradition and so on.

vi) No mention is made of language whereas the benefits that Leavis associates with literary studies can be realized if the student develops an awareness of the way language is used in literary discourse for the conveying unique messages.

vii) Leavis’ remarks are made with British universities in mind or at least with universities in English-speaking countries in mind and the remarks were made over thirty years ago.

viii) Rejecting the argument that English literature teaching fosters desirable qualities of mind, one is left with two other possible reasons for teaching it overseas:

a) Cultural reason: To acquaint students with ways of looking at the world which characterize the cultures of the English-speaking people (English, Irish, Scotish, Welsh)

b) Linguistics reason: To teach English literature as something written in English language (figure of speech, metaphor, expression, the expression of language and vocabulary.

The treatment of literature as a cultural subject reduces literature to the level of conventional statement about ordinary reality. It does not direct at the specifically literary nature of literature. Literature, in such case, is only treated as a source of factual information, such as, we might read conventional forms of discourse like a historical document, philosophical treaties, a sociological questionnaire.




In view of these difficulties, it would be better to define literary studies as a linguistic subject and define the term “literature” as “an enquiry into the way language is used to express a reality other than that expressed by conventional means”. This of course, amounts to the study of literary works as kinds of discourse. If one defines the subject in this way, the reason for teaching overseas becomes immediately apparent. Pupils and students are engaged in learning the English language; this involves in part of learning of the language system the structures and vocabulary of English but it must involve also the learning of how this system is used in the actual business of communication. This being so, the manner in which the resources of the language system are used in the fashioning of unique literary messages can be compared with other uses of the language so as to make clear by contrast how the system is used in conventional forms of communication. At the same time, of course, a comparison with other kinds of discourse will reveal what it is what is peculiar to literary uses of English. So the stud of literature is primarily a study of language uses and such it is not a separate activity from language learning but an aspect of same activity. Widdowson says that in most cases the individual can only respond to literature as a result of guidance. One can not just express to literary wirting but normally what critics and teachers. So often do is to tell students what message are to be focused in the literary words. This discourages them to find their own interpretation as the full input of work can only be recognized by the individual direct experience of it. Widdowson says literature should be read linguistically and literally. If we disregard we do not understand the real sense of literature.