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About the course

Stylistics is the linguistic study of style in language. Watch Professor Dan McIntyre and colleagues explain more.
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Have you ever had that feeling of being engrossed in a book? When you read about politicians in the newspaper are you infuriated by them? Do you sometimes feel closer to literary characters than you do real people? What is it about the language of novels, poems, newspapers, plays, film scripts, text messages, emails, adverts, letters and much more besides that grabs our attention. What role does language play in shaping our emotions during the reading process? And how can we use linguistic theories and analytical frameworks to explain the reactions we have when we read? To answer these questions, you need stylistics.
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Stylistics is the linguistic study of style, and how this is manifested in language - and central to stylistics is the concept of choice. You can’t create stylistic effects in language unless you have a range of linguistic options to choose from. What stylisticians are interested in doing is describing those linguistic choices and identifying the effects associated with them. A lot of stylisticians are interested in the language of literature. Maybe you are, too. But stylistics is not restricted to the study of literary language. Any text can be analysed stylistically, and by doing this, we can start to explain how it is that certain kinds of texts attract our attention or cause us to have particular emotional reactions.
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On this four week course we’ll introduce you to some of the key concepts in stylistics. We’ll look at foregrounding theory, which predicts which elements of a text will stand out to readers. We’ll investigate the range of options writers have for presenting the speech of other people We’ll explore the linguistic aspects of the characterisation process and we’ll show you how you can use computer software to stylistically analyse large databases of language. We’ll do all of this using a variety of teaching methods from short lecture videos to interactive tasks to guided readings from leading stylisticians. Along the way, you’ll also get the chance to find out what it’s like to study at the University of Huddersfield.
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So I hope you’ll join us to explore the relationship between language, text and meaning.
Hello and welcome to this four-week course on stylistics!
In this first video you’ll meet the tutors on the course, Dan McIntyre, Lesley Jeffries and Louise Nuttall. You’ll hear an overview of the course and get a taste of what lies ahead over the next four weeks.
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Stylistics: Using Linguistics to Explore Texts and Meaning

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