Different classifications of expressive means
In spite of the belief that rhetoric is an outmoded discipline it is in rhetoric that we find most of the terms contemporary stylistics generally employs as its metalanguage. Rhetoric is the initial source of information about metaphor, metonymy, epithet, antithesis, chiasmus, anaphora and many more. The classical rhetoric gave us still widely used terms of tropes and figures of speech.
That is why before looking into the new stylistic theories and findings it's good to look back and see what's been there for centuries. The problems of language in antique times became a concern of scholars because of the necessity to comment on literature and poetry. This necessity was caused by the fact that mythology and lyrical poetry was the study material on which the youth was brought up, taught to read and write and generally educated. Analysis of literary texts helped to transfer into the sphere of oratorical art the first philosophical notions and concepts.
The first linguistic theory called sophistry appeared in the fifth century В. С Oration played a paramount role in the social and political life of Greece so the art of rhetoric developed into a school.
Antique tradition ascribes some of the fundamental rhetorical notions to the Greek philosopher Gorgius (483-375 В. С). Together with another scholar named Trasimachus they created the first school of rhetoric whose principles were later developed by Aristotle (384-322 В. С.) in his books «Rhetoric» and «Poetics».
Aristotle differentiated literary language and colloquial language. This first theory of style included 3 subdivisions:
Chapter 2. Expressive Resources of the Language
2.2. Different classifications of expressive means
• the choice of words;
• word combinations;
1. The choice of words included lexical expressive means such as foreign words, archaisms, neologisms, poetic words, nonce words and metaphor.
2. Word combinations involved 3 things:
a) order of words;
c) rhythm and period (in rhetoric, a complete sentence).
3. Figures of speech. This part included only 3 devices used by the
b) assonance of colons;
c) equality of colons.
A colon in rhetoric means one of the sections of a rhythmical period in Greek chorus consisting of a sequence of 2 to 6 feet.
Later contributions by other authors were made into the art of speaking and writing so that the most complete and well developed antique system, that came down to us is called the Hellenistic Roman rhetoric system. It divided all expressive means into 3 large groups: Tropes, Rhythm (Figures of Speech) and Types of Speech.
A condensed description of this system gives one an idea how much we owe the antique tradition in modern stylistic studies.
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