Describe Diction Essay

Describe Diction Essay-79
But if we could trace the transformation of literary language in a detailed way, this instability might become interesting: we could use the changing characteristics that have marked language as literary to illuminate the transformation of literature as a social category.What does it mean to say that literature is not a stable category?This of course doesn’t mean that there was no distinction between poetry and prose in the early eighteenth century; writers like Alexander Pope certainly did employ a distinctive poetic diction. Loosely speaking, the diction of dramatic writing follows the same pattern as other literary genres, although the variation is less marked.

But if we could trace the transformation of literary language in a detailed way, this instability might become interesting: we could use the changing characteristics that have marked language as literary to illuminate the transformation of literature as a social category.What does it mean to say that literature is not a stable category?This of course doesn’t mean that there was no distinction between poetry and prose in the early eighteenth century; writers like Alexander Pope certainly did employ a distinctive poetic diction. Loosely speaking, the diction of dramatic writing follows the same pattern as other literary genres, although the variation is less marked.

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In each year, we have counted the number of words (tokens) that entered English before 1150, and divided it by the number of words that entered the language between 11.

(We consider only the most common ten thousand words in the collection, and exclude function words: determiners, prepositions, conjunctions, and pronouns.) Why do this? In English, etymology often has social implications, because the English language was for 200 years (1066-1250) almost exclusively spoken, while French was used for writing.

Berman have recently demonstrated that it remains true today.

So the graph above shows that, while all genres of writing tended to adopt a more learned diction in the eighteenth century, poetry, drama, and fiction decisively reversed course in the nineteenth.

Up to the middle of the eighteenth century, the word referred generally to writing or learning.

The modern definition, restricted to imaginative writing or , emerged only gradually between 17.

The learned part of the Old English lexicon didn’t survive this period.

Instead, when English began to be written again, literate vocabulary was borrowed from French and Latin.

Literary cultivation was therefore independent from other forms of refinement — so independent that it could find distinction even in the plain language of “low and rustic life.” William Wordsworth filed this concept under the name “poetry.” But the new model of literary cultivation he helped define was not restricted to poetry, or to the Romantic era.

Novelists similarly idealized fiction by claiming that it captured human experience at its most elemental; the novel was more universal than other forms of writing, according to D. Lawrence, because it alone grasped the immediacy of “man alive.” As a history of critical concepts, this is a familiar story.

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