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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS




PART VI FUNCTIONAL STYLES OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

We have already mentioned the problem of what is known as / и n c-tional styles (FS) of language (see p. 32—35), but only to show that FSs should be distinguished from varieties of language. The main differ­ence, be it remembered, is that the written and oral varieties of language are merely forms of communication which depend on the situation in which the communication is maintained, i.e. on the presence or absence of an interlocutor, whereas FSs are patterns of the written variety of language calculated to secure the desired purport of the communication. Each functional style of the literary'language makes use of language means the interrelation of which is peculiar to the given FS. It is the coordina­tion of language media and SDs which shapes the distinctive features of each style, and not the separate language media or the SDs themselves. Each FS, however, can be recognized by one or more leading, especially conspicuous- features. For instance, the use of special terminology is a lexical characteristic of the FS of scientific prose, and one by which it can easily be recognized. The address "Dear sirs" will be a signal to refer the message to the FS of official documents.

However, since any FS presents a system in which various features are interwoven in a particular manner, one group of language means, a leading feature though it may be, will not suffice to determine the FS.

Now we are in a position to give a more exact definition of a functional style than the one given on p. 32—33.

An FS is a patterned variety of literary text characterized by the greater or lesser typification of its constituents, supra-phrasal units (SPU), in which the choice and arrangement of interdependent and interwoven language media are calculated to secure the purport of the communication.

Each FS is a relatively stable system at the given stage in the devel­opment of the literary language, but it changes, and sometimes conside­rably, from one period to another. Therefore functional style of language is a historical category. There are many instances to prove this. Thus, the FS of emotive prose actually began to function as an independent style after the second half of the 16th century; the newspaper style budded off from the publicistic style; the oratorical style has undergone considerable fundamental changes, and so with other FSs,

The development of each style is predetermined by the changes in the norms of standard English.

It is also greatly influenced by changing social conditions, the progress of science and the development of cultural life in the country. For instance, the emotive elements of language were abundantly used in scientific prose in the 18th century. This is explained by the fact that scientists in many fields used the emotional language instead of one more logically precise and convincing, because they lacked the scientific data obtainable only by deep, prolonged research. With the development of science and the accumulation of scientific data, emotive elements gave way to con­vincing arguments and "stubborn" facts.

The English literary language has evolved a number of FSs easily distinguishable one from another. They are not homogeneous and fall into several variants all having some central point of resemblance, or better to say, all integrated by the invariant—i.e. the abstract ideal system.

We shall now consider each of the FSs in its ,most characteristic fea­tures.




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