Language and Linguistics

Literary language types and Elements in detail

Literary language

Literary language or poetic language is called the mode of use of the common and everyday language that is made in works of literature: poetry, narrative, and dramaturgy, as well as in other forms of discourse such as oratory. This use of the language is characterized by emphasizing how things are said, rather than what is said. dx

Literary language is governed by different rules from ordinary and everyday language, since in the latter the economy of language (how to say more by saying less) and the clarity of the message is always privileged, while literary language pursues, among other things, a standard of artistic beauty.

The latter can be achieved through various techniques and modifications, such as rhyme and musicality, metaphor, repetition, or even forms of the syntax that are not usual in everyday language. In that sense, literary language is much more free and creative in some things, but more controlled and traditional in others. Literary language types and Elements

As said, literary language is a particular formulation of ordinary language, taking into account aspects of artistic, philosophical, and aesthetic value, rather than simply communicative ones. It is a special mode of use, whose objective is to produce artistic works with the word, which are known as literary texts.

A poem, a novel, even a speech delivered before a rostrum or a prayer, are examples of the use of language for purposes other than those pursued by a note on the refrigerator or a phone call to the cable company. Literary language types and Elements

In them, language alters its usual rules and explores the limits of what can be said and how to find new forms of expression of the deep contents of the human spirit.

The poetic function of language

Language scholars such as the Russian linguist Roman Jakobson, propose that verbal language be handled through different functions such as the appellate function (reprimand the other to do something that one wishes), the expressive function (communicate to whoever listens to the state of mind of the issuer) and the poetic function of language.

This poetic function is distinguished from the others in that it is concerned with the communicated message, its forms, its codes, its references, and its beauty, instead of focusing on the “useful” result obtained. It is the characteristic function of literary language. Literary language types and Elements

Literary genres

Literary language, common to all written and oral arts, should not be confused with literary genres. Although the literary language is always found in action in the latter, they are different things.

Literary genres are the categories into which literature is divided, such as poetry, narrative, dramaturgy, and essays. The poetic language is present in each and every one of them.

Types of literary language

The literary language is quite free and admits modulations, changes, personal turns of the author. It even allows him to subvert syntactic rules of the language, as is the case in the novel The Kidnapping of the French writer Georges Pérec, written without using the letter “e” once.

Thus, we could say that there are two aspects of literary language:

  • Verse. Of a more oral and sonorous tendency, which is used by music, oratory and rhymed poetry, and which emphasizes how words sound.
  • Prose. Focused on the way of presenting written information in a chain of meaning, as in novels and stories.

Elements of literary language

Broadly speaking, literary language tends to:

  • Use cultisms and infrequent or old words.
  • Use figures of speech to embellish the text.
  • Contradict the norms of a common language.
  • Make room for large forms of subjectivity (fiction).
  • Use the connotation above the denotation (secondary meanings of the words, which refer not only to the direct and real referent). Literary language types and Elements

Difference between literary language and everyday language

In principle, there is no difference between the two and they tend to feed on each other. There are no words more literary than others, nor specific rules about it.

In general, this difference is understood as a matter of use: no one speaks in the street in verse, or with rhetorical figures that complicate or hinder communication, except when reciting a poem, singing a song, or giving a speech with the purpose of moving, causing an impression

Examples of literary language

Some simple examples of literary language are:

  • “Walker there is no path / the path is made by walking” – Poem by Antonio Machado ( Spain ).
  • “When Gregorio Samsa woke up one morning after a restless sleep, he found himself on his bed turned into a monstrous insect” – Phrase from a story by Franz Kafka (Czechoslovakia).
  • “You, who make the great weapons / You, who build the planes of death / You, who build all the bombs / You, who hide behind walls / You, who hide behind desks / I just want you to know / That I can see them through their masks ”- Verses from a song by Bob Dylan (USA). Literary language types and Elements

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