Language in literature is used to create alternatives to the real world. In doing so, the precise choice and ordering of words is very important. It not only creates a substitute world for us but also determines our attitude to its inhabitants and the events that take place there. This dependence upon precise wording is why a literary text loses so much in paraphrase or translation. However, despite this importance of precise wording, the meanings of literary works are often disturbingly imprecise.
Apparently, the linguistics choices in literature are not the concern of applied linguistics. It does not have the same kind of direct social and economic consequences as language education policy, or the spread of English as lingua franca. Yet, it is wrong to decrease the value of the impact and importance of literature. It reflects our individual and social identities, embodies and criticizes the values of the society from which it comes, and it also has an important role to play in education. And because it is made fully from language, it has something to do applied linguistics.
Literary stylistics :-
Linguistic analysis can describe and analyze the language of a literary text but this is not an applied linguistic activity. However, It begins to move in that direction when linguistic choices are linked to their effects upon the reader. This is the attempt of literary stylistics. It is not in itself applied linguistics as it does not involve any practical decision making, but it is an important resource for the powerful and persuasive uses of language in general.
It raises awareness of the importance of precise wording in addition to showing that there are more things in language use than the literal meaning of the words. Literary analysis cannot be brief in order to attain justice to its complex subject-matter.
Stylistic analyses tend to highlight three related aspects of literary language: its deviation from the norms of everyday language use; its patterning of linguistic units to create rhythms, rhymes, and parallel constructions; and the ways in which the form of the words chosen seems to intensify the meaning. These features of language use are not exclusive to literature.
They characterize other highly valued uses of language such as prayer, song, and rhetoric. Generally, these features and other similar ones occur in emotive uses of language in society at large, whether in commercial, political, or interpersonal communication. Stylistic analyses can investigate the link between the forms of these language uses and their social and psychological power. If such analysis is used to discuss and reveal manipulation, it then becomes part of an applied linguistic process.
Language and persuasion :-
As language is used to tell the truth, it can also be used to distort facts, or to persuade people to take a particular stance towards them. Literary language partakes of this persuasive power. It manipulates our feelings and thoughts in ways which we accept happily. Other uses of language are unacceptable, seeking to control and influence our ideas in the service of some political or commercial interest.
There are a big number of urgent issues in which language is used for manipulation such as; advertising, science, journals, even telephone operators speak from learned scripts. Applied linguistics should help understanding such issues. This is not only because the power of words is naturally interesting, but also because there are decisions to be made, often with far-reaching consequences for health, welfare, and success. Understanding linguistic techniques of persuasion can improve our ability to make rational judgments on which decisions making depends.
Critical Discourse Analysis ( CDA ) :- In fact, in any communication, there is selection and omission of information. For example, newspaper editors must choose which events to cover, how much space to give to each, and which facts to emphasize or omit. However, one cannot report any event or situation without selecting some facts in preference to others. But the selection reflects the values of the writer and the view of the world which he or she wishes to encourage in their readers.
These matters are already apparent to the reader even without any specialize knowledge of language. What is more importance and interest to applied linguists is the presentation of the same facts in ways which, although telling the truth, affect the reader’s attitude. In literary texts, the wording is everything. For example, in the opening scenes of Macbeth, lady Macbeth says “what’s done is done”, and at the end in her lament she says “what’s done cannot be undone”.
The literal meaning might be the same, but the effect is very different. The analysis of such details can be made to increase the people’s ability to read and listen critically, and to resist being manipulated by what is said. The analysis of such language and its effects is known as critical linguistics. When it is studied in a larger social context, it comes to be known as Critical Discourse Analysis ( CDA ).
Another area of interest to applied linguistics is patterns of grammatical choice. For example, there are constructions which allow a speaker or writer not to mention the agent. Two strategies allow this to happen. One is passivization, the favoring of passive constructions over active ones. The other is nominalization, when actions and processes are referred to by nouns without mentioning the actual doers. The techniques can make an action seem certain and impersonal.
The work of CDA specialists is of great social importance. Yet, they have the challenge of communicating their specialized knowledge to the outside world. To do this, they have to move in two opposite directions: one towards obfuscation and the other towards a false clarity.
Obfuscation is the failure to speak as clearly as possible. The language of law and bureaucracy are often used as examples. It is claimed that in this case clarity should be sacrificed to exactness. The other direction is described as conversationalization and the creation of synthetic personality. This is the tendency for communication to be presented in the form of a casual conversation in which the relationship between the participants is apparently equal and intimate. This presents the opposite danger from obfuscation, for it may make matters simple and imprecise.
There is a problem with CDA analyses which has been noted by several applied linguists. They focus their attention too much with the writer while deal too much passively with the reader. Most texts are both formed and interpreted in many different ways. The process of composition is often more hasty and specific purpose affair. Readings also are different. In short, there is a danger of assuming that understanding a text is fully determined by the language used.
Courtney from Study Moose
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