The article studies different aspects of linguistic and stylistic analysis of authentic literary text. The author defines such notions as “text” “literary text”, “authentic text”, “linguistic and stylistic analysis”, reveals various approaches to the analysis of authentic literary text and studies the procedure used for teaching Orenburg State University students who specialize in foreign languages and foreign literature how to carry out a relevant and perfect linguistic and stylistic analysis. The author treats an authentic text as a text which native speakers produce for native speakers to perform a certain social function in the linguistic community where it has been produced considering peculiarities of the national culture. Linguistic and stylistic analysis of authentic literary text is defined in the article as a method aimed at studying linguistic means and stylistic devices of different levels according to the functional and aesthetic point of view as well as from the point of view of their correspondence to author’s intention, his individual manner of writing. The author proves the validity of the methodology based on the integration of literary; linguistic; psycholinguistic and communicative approaches (considering psycholinguistic approach as a leading one) and the procedure including preparatory, analytical and reflexive stages. This conclusion has been proved by the results of observations and students’ tests.
Keywords: Authentic literary textlinguistic and stylistic analysispsycholinguistic approach
Linguistic and stylistic analysis of the literary text became the subject of linguistic research quite long ago. Many Russian scientists such as Vinogradov (1980), Galperin (2019), Lukin (2005), Shanskiy (1990) paid special attention to its different aspects. Within last decades some results in studying the nature of text verbal organization were obtained and the literary text was among them. The certain concept to the text study appeared. It is associated with the so-called linguistics of the text, which includes all attainments in understanding the text nature worked out by scientists from very different research areas such as psycholinguistics, derivatology, stylistics, structural linguistics, semiotics and hermeneutics. At the same time despite numerous investigations in this field there is no common definition of the term “authentic literary text” now.
Studying the problem of the authentic literary text analysis, one should firstly clarify the terms “text”, “literary text” and “authentic literary text” as well as find out the proper approaches to text analysis.
Text is one of the key notions of the modern humanitarian culture. Therefore, it can be logically defined as “primary entity” of all the humanitarian subjects and “all humanitarian and philological way of thinking in general”. Text is an immediate reality from which all these disciplines and thoughts can originate. Where is no text, there is no object for investigation and thinking (Bahtin, 1995). According to explanatory dictionaries text is any written speech (literary work, essay, document and even a piece of them) (Ozhegov, 2010); it is a sensible sequence of verbal signs, printed or written coherent speech which can be reproduced (Efremova, 2010).
Linguistic encyclopedic dictionary defines text as sequence of sings united by semantic links characterized by such basic qualities as
According to the static direction the notion of the text coincides with that given in the linguistic encyclopedic dictionary where text is an objectively existing reality characterized by cohesion and coherence (LED, 2002). One of the most precise static definitions of the text belongs to the Russian linguist Galperin (2019) who treats text as result of a creative speech production process possessing completion, presented in a form of a written document, literary performed according to its type; it is a creative product containing a title, a number of peculiar units (superphrasal unities) connected by various types of lexical, grammatical, logical, stylistic links, having a definite purposefulness and pragmatic motive. Lukin (2005) shares this opinion and understands text as a message existing in such a sequence of signs which possesses a formal coherence, semantic cohesion and appearing on the basis of their formal and semantic structure.
According to dynamic direction text is considered not all by itself but as one of the components of text activity including the author, recipient, social and cultural situation. Text is a unit of communication and a message. In other words at present text is treated as a result of text activity and the activity itself. Text in dynamics is a “life” of the text in the process of its understanding and production. These processes constitute the essence of communication. In modern linguistic papers there is a number of text definitions which pay attention to cognitive and socio-cultural aspects and treat texts from the point of view of their communicative value. Chuvakin (2010), for example, treats text as a linguistic unit ensuring a communicative interaction of people; a message created by addressant for addressee even if the addressee is the addressant himself. Karasik (2016) in his turn understands text as a speech realization of the author’s intention and the highest level communicative unit realized in written or oral form We share the position of linguists who treat text in dynamics and consider important to study the notion “authentic literary text” and its linguistic and stylistic analysis in terms of dynamic direction.
Understanding of the notions “literary text” and “authentic literary text” becomes important within working out the procedure of linguistic and stylistic text analysis for students-philologists specializing in foreign literature. Here for methodology of teaching a foreign literature appears the problematic field of research connected with defining the approach as well as working out the steps and content of authentic literary text analysis.
Purpose of the Study
Text analysis is one of the main problems in modern linguistics. Literary text analysis also occupies an important place within philological researches. The present article deals with the problem of linguistic and stylistic authentic literary text analysis the procedure of which with regard to the philology students studying foreign literature in our opinion hasn’t been studied enough yet. The linguistic and stylistic authentic literary text analysis can be carried out successfully if it is based on the understanding of its essence and content, approach to the analysis and its logical steps.
Investigation of the authentic literary text as the subject of linguistic and stylistic analysis is based on a complex of theoretical and empirical research methods. Among them are the following methods and procedures: analysis of linguistic, psycho-linguistic, socio-cultural papers, studying of personal experience, watching.
Authentic literary text
Literary text is a lingual (graphic and sound) design of a piece of belles-letters that is presented by the author as a finished letter. In a literary text the message form is considered the main one; it presents the system of linguistic means for expressing some vivid content. The message form is transformed into a high-principled conception. As the result it appears as aesthetically motivated. Aesthetic motivation provides the individuality of expressing (Shanskiy, 1990). Literary text can be also treated as a communicative oriented verbal work which possesses aesthetic value found out in the process of its acquisition (Pishalnikova, 2017). Some other scientists consider a literary text not only as something aesthetic and ideal but also as a lingual and material category. Therefore, we can confirm that a literary text is an entire logical (semantic) message oriented by the author to the audience. The literary text carries the information, keeps and conveys it.
Regarding the term “authentic literary text” we should suppose that at present neither Russian nor foreign linguists come to the mutual conclusion how to treat this phenomenon. It is known that originally authentic text presents the text which is made not for studying the language, but for real communicative situation. According to the definition given by Haleeva, Kasuk, and Konev (2017) authentic text is the text which native speakers produce for native speakers. It is a text which is produced for performing a certain social function in the linguistic community where it has been produced. In other words, authentic text is an original text created for real situations but not for educational aims. Nunan (1988) also proclaims that authentic text is the information in a written form produced in a process of authentic communication but not for teaching or studying a foreign language. Authentic literary text reflects some facts and peculiarities of the national culture (Gilmore, 2007). A reader gets new information and gets acquainted with values and natives’ mentality i.e. an authentic literary text helps form culturological competence (Mishan, 2005; Takahashi, 2018). From linguistic point of view authentic literary texts are interesting due to polysemy of their lexical units and their connotational meanings. Following the definitions of the authentic text given above we can underline some common peculiarities characterizing an authentic text. They are real linguistic content, real addressee of the information reported in text, reporting of the real information.
Linguistic and stylistic analysis of the literary text
Any analysis is sorting, dissolution, general conclusion from particular deductions. Linguistic and stylistic analysis of the authentic literary text implies the analysis of the text from its inner side. It requires the search for lexical, stylistic and syntactic devises which form a certain particularity of the text.
Various aspects of linguistic and stylistic analysis of literary texts occupy an important place in linguistic investigations. Analysis of the literary text is considered to be the necessary component of the whole study of any text because the content and linguistic form of the text form a dialectical unity. According to Vinogradov (1980) linguistic and stylistic analysis is the analysis which studies how the graphic structure is expressed in imaginative verbal system of the text. Its object is the text as the structure of verbalisms in their aesthetic organization. Linguistic and stylistic analysis of the text is the analysis which includes determination of the extra-linguistic factors preceding the description of linguistic elements either neutral or stylistic and stylistically coloured words. The aim of such analysis is the determination of stylistic text organization conditions, finding out its linguistic, verbal, functional, style and stylistic devices.
This paper shares the definition given by a Russian linguist Shanskiy (1990) who treats linguistic and stylistic analysis of the literary text as a research method aimed at studying linguistic means of different levels in a literary text system from functional and aesthetic points of view, from the point of view of their compatibility with the author’s intention and individual author’s writing manner. This method supposes the studying of a literary text as a skillful organization of linguistic means reflecting a certain ideological, thematic and imaginative content stimulating reader’s aesthetic effect.
At present there are certain approaches to literary texts analysis:
Literary approach suggests the analysis and interpretation of a literary text as a unit of literature. Such analysis serves as the main method of scientific comprehension of a literary work. It includes the study of the context and genre of the literary work, analysis of its structure, plot and contexture, study of the conflict and problematic, the main idea and also analysis of the author’s image, main and minor characters, analysis of stylistic devices and imaginative details.
Linguistic approach to a literary text analysis pays special attention to the system of the text and its structural characteristics. This approach originates in the middle of the XXth century. It can be applied to analysis of the text understood either as “a sequence of language units of any order” or “an abstract language unit of highest level” or “the maximum language unit”.
Psycholinguistic approach presupposes the analysis in its activity aspect, i.e. from the point of view of its production and perception where the system of the text and its structural characteristics are also taken into account. Psycholinguistic approach based on the theory of speech activity gives the start to the communicative approach of the literary text analysis. Studying the text as a whole speech product linguists focus on the central element of communicative model: author – text – addressee. Text as a speech product serves a universal form of communication.
Communicative approach to the authentic literary text analysis is based on communicativeness as an integral key feature of the text. It is explained by the fact that everything in the text is referred to the addressee. Thus, conceptual importance and opportunism are treated as system text characteristics.
To sum it all up we should conclude that the complexity of text structural, semantic and communicative organization, its correlation as a component of literary and aesthetic communication with the author and reader, its dependence on the reality and its significant character are the reason for plurality of approaches to its analysis. The approaches and directions can be used together complementing one another.
Our watching the process of learning the course of foreign literature by philology students of the Orenburg State University showed that about 50% of students face the problem of conducting linguistic and stylistic analysis of authentic literary texts. They consider it difficult to find out the main idea and the message conveyed by the author; understand words having no equivalents in a target language; point out lexical, stylistic or syntactic devices providing expressiveness and imaginative value of the text. The results of watching and testing students as well as our personal experience proved reasonability of working out a certain procedure including a logical scheme helping students overcome difficulties.
Using a psycholinguistic approach as a methodological foundation in our research work we worked out the procedure of teaching students linguistic and stylistic analysis of authentic literary text including three consecutive stages: preparatory, analytical and reflexive (Osiyanova & Kuleshova, 2018). At preparatory stage students first of all are given a general scheme providing logical guidelines of the analysis ahead (Osiyanova & Hrusheva, 2016). It includes such items as getting acquainted with the author’s biography and personality, a literary genre the text belongs to, time and locality in which the action proceeds, the main idea and the message conveyed by the author. All these things are discussed at the analytical stage of the analysis. The given scheme also supposes picking up already known lexical, stylistic and syntactic devices. At analytical stage students read and analyze various abstracts from authentic literary works of contemporary British literature (Vraštilová, 2018; Pavlick, Rastogi, Ganitkevitch, Van Durme, & Callison-Burch, 2015). Firstly, the analysis is conducted by the teacher in class as a group oral work and further students carry it out individually in a written form. Reflexive stage is devoted to evaluation and self-evaluation of the work done.
Authentic text is a text which native speakers produce for native speakers to perform a certain social function in the linguistic community where it has been produced considering peculiarities of the national culture. Linguistic and stylistic analysis of authentic literary text implies the analysis of the text from its inner side, the search for lexical, stylistic and syntactic devises providing its authenticity. It serves as a research method aimed at studying linguistic means and stylistic devices of different levels according to the functional and aesthetic point of view as well as from the point of view of their correspondence to author’s intention his individual manner of writing. Linguistic and stylistic analysis of an authentic literary text carried out by philology students will be perfect and relevant if it is based on the integration of literary; linguistic; psycholinguistic and communicative approaches (considering psycholinguistic as a leading one) and the procedure including preparatory, analytical and reflexive stages. This conclusion has been proved by the results of our observations and students’ tests.
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20 April 2020
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Discourse analysis, translation, linguistics, interpretation, cognition, cognitive psychology
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Osiyanova, A. V., & Kuleshova, A. S. (2020). Authentic Literary Text As The Subject Of Linguistic And Stylistic Analysis. In A. Pavlova (Ed.), Philological Readings, vol 83. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 480-486). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.04.02.54