The lofty elevated lexicon and poetic style in the works of Samuel Johnson

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The lofty elevated lexicon and poetic style in the works of Samuel Johnson

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(Technical University)


INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICSof Applied Linguistics and Translating Techniques



SPECIALITY «Stylistics»Lofty/Elevated Lexicon and Poetic Style in the Works of Samuel Johnson




by:: Ryabov а.Yu.: Rodionova L.Yu.






Moscow 2011



Introduction 1. Theoretical part

.1 Stylistics and Styles of Language

.2 Belles-lettres style, poetry and stylistic devices

.3 Translation pragmatics2. Practical part



To this day the work of English poets of 18 century left to be very popular. Such poets` as Ben Johnson, Arnold Matthew, Thomas Gud poetry is known in many countries over the world. The given project is devoted to Samuel Johnson, not fairly forgotten and almost not translated into Russian English poet of Age of the Enlightenment, lexicographer and critic. The fact that Samuel Johnson had what is known as the syndrome of Turette is well-known now, but in 18 century this kind of insanity had not been medically described. And because of his rough statements towards Scotland he deserved their hatred. Interesting that all contradictions of his epoch were embodied in Johnson. Johnson was a person of "golden mean" - and after all it was necessary for English bourgeoisie to struggle ideologically against oligarchy. To get acquainted more closely with his poetry it is necessary:

To classify stylistic devices.

To сonsider stylistic used by Samuel Johnson.

To give their definitions.

To analyse Samuel Johnson poems.

To give my own point of view about devices.of all, what is stylistics? The definition of this term and its classification will help us to consider the character of stylistic devices used by Johnson in his poetry. Stylistics is a philological discipline studying unequal principles of choice and ways of the language unit`s organization in the uniform semantic and composite whole (the text). Here is a definition of stylistics given by the Russian linguist ValeriyGurevich: «In different situations of communication people use different manners of expressing their thoughts. Stylistics is a branch of linguistics that studies the various functional styles of speech and also the various expressive means and devices of language. Appart from that, some linguists apply the term stylistics to the study of various stylistic peculiarities of the language of works of function for example it`s the publicist and belle - letters styles, which have the function of producing an emotional impact on the listeners»[6]. And the other linguist whose opinion we will consider is IlyaGolperin. In his book he writes: «The subject and stylistics maintenance as a part of science about language, are not exactly defined till now. That is why the term stylistics may be understand differently. And nevertheless the majority of linguists concur that the linguistic stylistics deal with such terms as: Esthetic functions of language, expressive means of language, synonymic ways of thought expression, emotional colouring speeches»[2]. Actually many scholars hold that the term stylistics has not entirely been defined, nevertheless it is known that the stylistics is the part of science about the language, studying variations of language expressions caused by their belonging to this or that language style. And of course language as a social phenomenon performs various functions connected with this or that sphere of human activity. To perform these functions, separate varieties of language have been developed and formed. Variants of a literary language which are caused by various spheres of dialogue, are called functional styles of language. Thus we can suggest a classification of speech styles. Here is the stylistics classification of the English language as presented by YurySkrebnev:

«1 Belles-Lettres style (genre of creative writing)


Emotive Prose

The drama


Oratory and Speeches

The Essay


Newspaper style (mass media)

Brief News Items


Advertisements and Announcements

The Editorial

Scientific style (proce, brochures, articles, other scientific publications)

Official style (documents and papers)»[7]items as lofty/elevated lexicon and poetry style form a part of Belles Lettres style. We will consider their definitions and properties in the theoretical part of the project, and in the practical part we will carry out an analysis of their usage in Samuel Johnson's poetry.

Chapter 1 - Theoretical


.1 Stylistics and Styles of Language

it was already said, the stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. But it`s too short definition. To understand this term more profoundly we should examine it more thoroughly. First of all we can subdivide the stylistics and carry out the classification. It will be the Functional styles of speech. Here is the definition given by John Rupert Firth: «Functional Style is a system of interrelated language means serving a definite aim in communication. It is the coordination of the language means and stylistic devices which shapes the distinctive features of each style and not the language means or stylistic devices themselves. Each style, however, can be recognized by one or more leading features which are especially conspicuous. The English literary system has evolved a number of styles easily distinguishable one from another. They are not homogeneous and fall into several variants of having some central point of resemblance. They are: Official (documents and papers), Scientific (brochures, articles, other scientific publications), Publicistic (essay, public speech), Newspaper style(mass media) and Belles-lettres style (genre of creative writing). The poetry deal with poetic language by its nature concerning itself with belles-lettres style.»[4]


.2 Belles-lettres style, poetry and stylistic devices

lettres style performs the esthetic function of influence, producing an impression on the reader. It is the functional style of speech which is used in poetry. A text written in this style influences imagination and feelings of the reader, transfers thoughts and feelings of the author, using all the wealth of the lexicon, characterized by figurativeness and by imagery. So, what is poetry?`s much more than just rhyming and metrical or versified prose. It`s an art form. Poetry expresses the way we feel about a certain subject through imagery and other senses. It helps us deal with our daily life, be it good or bad. The emotion which is put within each meter brings it to life. A poem lacking emotions would be simple prose rather than poetry. Poetry is what makes us feel happy or sad, mad or gleeful, loving or broken hearted. Poetry is life through words and it can influence the way we feel about life things and the human conditions. By means of what is that effect achieved? Of course by means of speech influence and lofty-elevated lexicon conditioned by stylistic devices. The next question we will consider is what is considered as the lofty-elevated lexicon and what is it the chief mission of poetry? It`s mission is to influence people`s feelings and emotions, to wake up their innermost feelings, emotional experiences, joy and bright memoirs with the help of stylistic devices and words which are interpreted, as lofty or painted with special, poetically elevated sense, concern raised lexicon. These words or expressions would be out of place in our everyday conversation, or in scientific and business genres. For example, the word "inspired" belongs to such lofty/elevated lexicon. Its usage in the scientific article will be unjustified and even ridiculous. Also it is difficult to imagine this word come across in documents, receipts or technical instructions. Many out-of-date words which have passed into the passive language stock are connected with lofty/elevated lexicon. Lofty/elevated lexicon is defined also by means of stylistic devices used in the poetry. They are onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, rhyming, simile and metaphor. Further we will consider how this devices manifest themselves. Here is the accurate definition of onomatopoeia given by Tatyana Znamenskаyа.

«Onomatopoeia - It is a word that imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. Onomatopoeia (as an uncountable noun) refers to the property of such words. Common occurrences of onomatopoeias include animal noises, such as oink - хрюканье, meow - мяукание, roar - рёв, Red rooster says, "Cockadoodle do doo - кукареку". This can be used in in a variety of ways giving the reader a hands on feel. Poets use onomatopoeia in their work in two main ways: directly and indirectly. One way is to directly or obviously use an onomatopoeic word to create an atmosphere for the reader. The other way is less obvious, where words or parts of words that are used to create an onomatopoeic effect, which is usually a pun, in a poem.

.Less obvious onomatopoeia. Words and parts of words can be used by poets to create Onomatopoeic puns. In the Prioress' Tale, one of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chaucer has created what is known as the hissing stanza. In this stanza, he uses words with hissing sounds, to build an atmosphere in the serpent's tempting an allusion to the well-known Biblical episode:


Our first f

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