Analysis of Diction and Syntax. Close reading strategy

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1 Analysis of Diction and Syntax Close reading strategy

2 What is diction? l In all forms of literature authors choose particular words to convey effect and meaning to the reader. Diction is employed to communicate ideas and impressions, to evoke emotions, and to convey an author s view of the truth to the reader.

3 Levels of Diction l High or formal diction usually contains language that creates an elevated tone. It is free of slang, idioms, colloquialisms, and contractions.

4 Levels of Diction l Neutral diction uses standard language and vocabulary without elaborate words and may include contractions.

5 Levels of Diction l Informal or low diction is the language of everyday use. It is relaxed and conversational and most often includes common and simple words, idioms, slang, jargon, and contractions.

6 Types of diction l Slang refers to a group of recently coined words often used in informal situations. These words or phrases pass in and out of use very quickly. l That is a groovy sweater!

7 Types of diction l Colloquial expressions are nonstandard, often regional, ways of using language appropriate to informal or conversational speech and writing. l Are ya ll going to the movies tonight?

8 Types of diction l Idiom - 1. A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., raining cats and dogs). 2. A form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people Ex: A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush: Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.

9 Types of diction l Jargon consists of words and expressions characteristic of a particular trade, profession, or pursuit. l I descended the poop and paced the waist. from The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad

10 Types of diction l Dialect is a nonstandard subgroup of a language with it s own vocabulary and grammatical features. l Sho, there s ticks a-plenty. I could have a thousand of em if I wanted to. Well, why don t you? Becuz you know mighty well you can t. This is a pretty early tick, I reckon. It s the first one I ve seen this year. from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

11 Types of diction l Concrete diction consists of specific words that describe physical qualities or conditions. l The tears came fast, and she held her face in her hands. When something soft and furry moved around her ankles, she jumped, and saw it was the cat. He wound himself in and about her legs. from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

12 Types of diction l Abstract diction refers to language that denotes ideas, emotions, conditions, or concepts that are intangible. l Freedom is a concept that is inconceivable to those who are oppressed, yet those of us who are fortunate to have lived a life free from oppression can not fathom life without it.

13 Types of diction l Monosyllabic words are one syllable in length. l Polysyllabic words have two or more syllables.

14 Types of diction l Euphonious words are pleasant sounding. l Languid, murmur l Cacophonous words are harsh sounding. l Raucous, croak

15 Types of diction l Denotation is the exact, literal definition of a word independent of any emotional association or secondary meaning. l Connotation is the implicit rather than explicit meaning of a word and consists of the suggestions, associations, and emotional overtones attached to the word. l Consider house and home. Although both indicate a dwelling in which one resides (the denotation), home has a much warmer feel or connotation.

16 What is syntax? l In much the same way that authors consider their word choice very carefully they also consider how the words are arranged. The construction of the sentences is referred to as syntax.

17 Sentence structure l Telegraphic-shorter than five words l Short-approximately five words in length l Medium-approximately eighteen words in length l Long and involved-thirty or more words in length

18 Sentence patterns l A declarative sentence makes a statement: e.g., The king is sick. l An imperative sentence gives a command: e.g., Cure the king! l An interrogative sentence asks a question: e.g., Is the king sick? l An exclamatory sentence expresses strong emotions: e.g., The king is dead! Long live the king!

19 Sentence patterns l A simple sentence contains one independent clause: e.g., The singer bowed to her adoring audience. l A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction or by a semicolon: e.g., The singer bowed to the audience, but she sang no encores. l A complex sentence contains an independent clause and one or more subordinate clauses: e.g., Because the singer was tired, she went straight to bed after the concert. l A compound-complex sentence contains two or more independent clauses and one or more subordinate clauses: e.g., The singer bowed while the audience applauded, but she sang no encores.

20 Sentence patterns l A loose or cumulative sentence makes complete sense if brought to a close before the actual ending. l We reached Edmonton that morning after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences, tired but exhilarated, full of stories to tell our friends and neighbors.

21 Sentence patterns l A periodic sentence makes sense fully only when the end of the sentences is reached. l That morning, after a turbulent flight and some exciting experiences, we reached Edmonton.

22 Sentence patterns l In a balanced sentence, the phrases and clauses balance each other by virtue of their likeness of structure, meaning, or length. l He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

23 Sentence patterns l Natural order of a sentence involves constructing a sentence so the subject comes before the predicate. l Oranges grow in California.

24 Sentence patterns l Inverted order of a sentence (sentence inversion) involves constructing a sentence so the predicate comes before the subject (this is a device in which normal sentence patterns are reversed to create an emphatic or rhythmic effect). l In California grow oranges.

25 Sentence patterns l Split order of a sentence divides the predicate into two parts with the subject coming in the middle. l In California oranges grow.

26 Sentence patterns l Juxtaposition is a poetic and rhetorical device in which normally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to one another, creating an effect of surprise and wit. l The apparition of these faces in the crowd; / Petals on a wet, black bough.

27 Sentence patterns l Parallel structure (parallelism) refers to a grammatical or structural similarity between sentences or parts of a sentence; in involves an arrangement of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs so that elements of equal importance are equally developed and similarly phrased l He was walking, running and jumping for joy.

28 Sentence patterns l Repetition is a device in which words, sounds, and ideas are used more than once to enhance rhythm and create emphasis. l government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth

29 Sentence patterns l A rhetorical question is a question that expects no answer; it is used to draw attention to a point and is generally stronger than a direct statement. l If Mr. Ferchoff is always fair, as you have said, why did he refuse to listen to Mrs. Baldwin s arguments?

30 Sentence patterns l A rhetorical fragment is a sentence fragment used deliberately for a persuasive purpose or to create a desired effect. l Something to consider.

31 Advanced syntax techniques l Anaphora is the repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses. l We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.

32 Advanced syntax techniques l Asyndeton is the deliberate omission of conjunctions in a series of related clauses. l I came, I saw, I conquered.

33 Advanced syntax techniques l Chiasmus/Antimetabole is a sentence strategy in which the arrangement of ideas in the second clause is a reversal of the first. l Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country

34 Advanced syntax techniques l Polysyndeton is the deliberate use of many conjunctions for special emphasis to highlight quantity or mass of detail or to create a flowing, continuous sentence pattern. l The meal was huge my mother fixed okra and green beans and ham and apple pie and green pickled tomatoes and ambrosia salad and all manner of fine country food but no matter how I tried, I could not consume it to her satisfaction.

35 Advanced syntax techniques l Stichomythia is dialogue in which the endings and beginnings of each line echo each other, taking on a new meaning with each new line. l Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended. / Mother, you have my father much offended.

36 Advanced syntax techniques l Zeugma is the use of the verb that has two different meanings with objects that complement both meanings. l He stole both her car and her heart that fateful night.

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