“Stylistic Characteristics of
Lexical Expressive Means”
♦ Basic Lexis
-It can be classified according to different
•standard vs. non-standard words,
•abstract vs. concrete words,
•colloquial vs. literary(bookish),
•colloquial vs. technical terms, etc.
♥The overlap of all these categories
creates a group of neutral words which are
commonly known as standard vocabulary.
-abounds in nouns
-The long sentences prevail in this style
because many facts and data have to be
-abounds in verbs
-The lexis used in this style denotes
processes (processual lexis)
-They are mainly adjectives, adverbs and
-They are mainly used to modify nouns
and verbs, and to express qualities of
persons, things and processes.
-Some adjectives, being part of a nominal
phrase, undergo interesting changes
within the process of language
development. What is known as
univerbalisation can be compared with the
word-forming process in English called
♥In univerbalisation, the main idea is to
reduce a noun phrase into a single word
expression (mainly) in spoken colloquial
language which brings about a change of
stylistic characteristics (e.g. wise
=wisdom; strong = strength).
♥In the case of English conversion the
change of stylistic characteristics does not
always take place (e.g. to call = a call, to
go = ago, empty = to empty, carpet = to
-It is present in every language and its
main function is to enable the
construction of (smaller or bigger units
of) utterances which are in accordance
with the grammar of particular
♦ Historically Marked
-It always brings expressiveness to the
-The following groups of words are always
stylistically marked, that is they create
expressiveness in the text.
-It is not common to use these terms in
Discussing archaic lexis, I. Galperin refers
•Obsolescent words - gradually passing
out of use.
•Obsolete words - already gone
completely but still recognized by the
•Archaic proper - no longer recognizable
in modern English.
♥Thee, thou, thy/thine from Old English
→ OLD 2nd person singular pronoun
→ Still used in
Biblical/Shakespearian/poetical language. Also
- It is a word or phrase which are
outdated, obsolete and out of use.
♥ enow - enough
♥ aye - yes
♥ nay - no
♥ ruth - pity; sorrow
♥ twain - two
It is basically an error in chronology or
timeline in a piece of art or literature. A
better interpretation of the term is that
anything that seems out of the timeline or
out of place, is an anachronism.
♥ William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
Brutus: Peace! count the clock.
Cassius: The clock has stricken three.
-Words that have ceased to be used in
connection with the disappearance
they stand objects and phenomena:
bursa, caftan, burgomaster.
-Historicism found in the main text of
the past (as in science and in art).
- It is a newly coined term, word, or
phrase, that may be in the process of
entering common use, but has not yet
been accepted into mainstream
♥ noob – someone who is new to an
♥ racne – acne located at women‟s chest
♦ Professionally Marked
-It is represented by the group of
words called professionalisms.
-Professional expressions often create
a whole complex of language means
which is known as professional slang
or jargon (informal language of people
of the same profession or professional
•Jargons used by
♥ D.M. : Diabetes mellitus.
♥ O.D. : Right eye.
♥ O.S. : Left eye.
♥ VSS : Vital signs are stable.
♥ Schizophrenia: a mental disorder
marked by hallucinations
♦ Expressive lexis
- In stylistics, we often discuss the lexis
which creates expressiveness in
- Lexemes also have an emotional
function and can create emotiveness.
(Emotive Function means to show
or/and create emotions.)
“All emotive lexis is expressive, but
not all expressive lexis is emotional.”
It is a generally harmless word or phrase
that replaces an offensive or suggestive
♥ pass away / come to Jesus > die
♥ big boned > fat
♥ Wear apron high >Pregnant
♥ Comfort woman >Prostitute
♥ confirmed bachelor >Male homo
♥ bye-bye box >coffin, cask
♥ senior citizen, golden age >old, elderly
-It is a word or phrase that makes better or
improves the meaning.
♥ illegitimate child > love child
-It is a word or grammatical form that
connotes negativity and expresses
contempt or distaste.
♥ die = go West.
♥ Chicken = a coward
♥ Fruitcake = a crazy / eccentric
♥ Rat = a horrible, nasty person
-It is a colloquialism of an unpleasant
action or unrefined character, which
substitutes a coarse, indecorous word.
♥ Cunt - disliked female; "bitch".
♥ Mattress Topper – a prostitute
It is a word or grammatical form that
denote a positive affect.
♥ “He's a saint.”(for a helpful person)
♥ “This is ambrosia.”(for a meal)
♥ "What a house!"
-It is a formation of a word used to
convey a slight degree of the root
meaning, smallness of the
object, intimacy, or endearment.
♥ -ette/-et – kitchenette; wallet
♥ -ster – youngster; gangster
♥ -ie – doggie; Charlie; cookie
It is a word which expresses greater
intensity, often in size, but also in other
♥ -over - overlord and overseer.
♥ -grand -
grandmaster and grandparent.
♥ -super -
supermarket and superpower.
♦ Lexis of Foreign
-It is represented by borrowed and
loan-words. They are foreign terms
used in English language such as
those coming from French, Latin,
Greek, Chinese, etc.
-Some of these words are specific for
the language communities living in
Europe thus they are sometime called
♥ Boondocks(Tagalog) an out-of-the-
way place meaning „mountain‟
♥ Bravo(Breton) a cry of
♥ Typhoon(Mandarin) a very strong
♥ Shampoo(Hindi) a hair-cleaning
♥ Crochet(French) hook
♦ Phraseological lexis
-It is a powerful means of
expressiveness. The terms
collocation and idioms are most
frequently used to refer to different, the
same or multi-words expressions.
Idioms - is an expression consisting of
a combination of words that have a
♥ HIT BELOW THE BELT - To act in
an unfair matter
♥ PULL UP ONE‟S SOCKS - To make
an effort to improve
♥ TURN OVER A NEW LEAF -
Changing your better for the better
♥ BREAK THE ICE - Overcome initial
♥ THROW IN THE TOWEL - To
The use of flowery language
provides interesting material for
♥ Too many cooks spoil the broth
>Too great a number of culinary
assistan0ts may impair the flavour of
♥Univerbalization/Univerbalism - the
tendency to make expressions shorter.
Colloquial Speech exhibits towards
brevity, or shortened expressions.
→Clippings - spectacle =specs
→Acronyms - CD = Compact Disk
♥Multiverbalism - the tendency to use
more words instead of one.
sanitary engineer =garbage man
custodial engineer =custodian
Preowned car =secondhand car
6.2 Stylistic Value of
Particular Parts of Words
Particular parts of words, that is
prefixes, suffixes and infixes, can
exhibit various stylistic values.
○ The prefix ex- often brings about
•ex-president •her ex-
○ Infixes- It is an affix inserted inside a
word stem (an existing word).
♥ Hallebloodylujah / Singabloodypore!
6.3 Synonymy and
• Synonymy is a collection of synonyms
often defined from each other.
• Polysemy is a word, phrase, signs
etc. that tends to have multiple related
→a piece of a tree
→a geographical area with many
-It uses different words to say the
same thing, or a series of self-
reinforcing statements that cannot be
disproved because they depend on the
assumption that they are already
♥ A round circle
♥ A big giant
♥ An elephant is an animal.
-The relationship between one word
and another belonging to a different
syntactic category and production from
the first one by some process of
derivation. They are simply words with
the same roots.
♥ act / actor
♥ cook / cooker
Figura Etymologica /
-It is the intentional grouping of words with
the same roots but different morphological
•Combination of a verb and related noun :
♥ Fight the fighter.
♥ Hammer the hammer.
•Combinations of an adjective and noun :
♥ Actors act.
♥ Wimping wimp.
-It is an expression which also makes
sense (the same or different) when
♥ ave = eva
♥ murder / redroom (redrum)