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 Ling 131: Language & Style

Topic 1 (session A) - Levels of language: Linguistic levels, style & meaning > Session overview

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Session Overview
How Writing Happens ...
Levels of language
Language levels - just a metaphor
Levels of language & advertising slogans
Useful Links
Grammar Website

What will we learn in this topic?

Linguistic Choices

We will explore how writing involves making a series of linguistic choices. By examining carefully the choices writers make, and comparing them with alternative choices which they could have made, we can relate those choices in a systematic way and detailed way to overall meaning and effect.

Language Levels

We will also explore the idea of languages having different levels of structure and the way in which even changing just one word can have effects on a number of different linguistic levels at the same time.

How to begin to apply what we know

We will explore textual choice and linguistic levels in a number of poems and advertising slogans. This will help you to get a 'hands on' sense of the relation between linguistic choice and meaning, style and effect. As a consequence, you should begin to get a sense of what full-blown stylistic analysis will be like, even though we have not yet learned enough analytical tools to do such an analysis really well. That, after all, is the purpose of the whole Language and Style course.

Although you can go through the various elements of this session in any order, we suggest that you use the ordering we have provided on the Menu. We think this ordering is the easiest and most effective way to learn what we are presenting. You don't have to do it all in one go, though. There is quite a lot of material, and its is a good idea to have a rest from time to time and let things sink in.

If you can, try to sit with one or two other students and do the work as a co-operative group. It should be more fun that way, and you will learn from one another as well as from us!

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