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Style & Voice adapted from Voice Lessons, Dean, 2000 We are beginning a series focusing on the following areas: –diction, –detail, –imagery, –syntax, –and.

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Presentation on theme: "Style & Voice adapted from Voice Lessons, Dean, 2000 We are beginning a series focusing on the following areas: –diction, –detail, –imagery, –syntax, –and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Style & Voice adapted from Voice Lessons, Dean, 2000 We are beginning a series focusing on the following areas: –diction, –detail, –imagery, –syntax, –and tone.

2 Diction Defined Diction refers to the author's choice of words. Words are the writer's basic tools: –they create the color and texture of the written work; –they both reflect and determine the level of formality; –they shape the reader's perceptions.

3 Diction, Continued Diction reflects the writer's vision and steers the reader's thought. To understand a writer’s voice, readers must both "hear" the words and "feel" their effects. This is why, in studying serious literature, you should rarely skip words they do not know.

4 Shaping Voice with Diction Effective voice is shaped by words that are clear, concrete, and exact. Good writers avoid words like "pretty," "nice," and "bad." Instead they utilize words that invoke a specific effect.

5 Specific Diction Specific diction brings the reader into the scene, enabling full participation in the writer's world. –A coat isn't "torn"; it is "tattered." –The United States Army does not "want" revenge; it is "thirsting" for revenge. –A door does not "shut"; it "thuds."

6 Topic Diction depends on topic, purpose, and occasion. The topic often determines the specificity and sophistication of diction. –Articles on computers are filled with specialized language: e-mail, e-shopping, web, interface. Many topics generate special vocabularies as a nexus to meaning.

7 Purpose The writer's purpose - whether to convince, entertain, amuse, inform, or plead - partly determines diction. Words chosen to impart a particular effect on the reader reflect and sustain the writer's purpose. –For example, if an author's purpose is to inform, the reader should expect straightforward diction. –On the other hand, if the author's purpose is to entertain, the reader will likely encounter words used in ironic, playful, or unexpected ways.

8 Audience Diction also depends on the intended audience. As with clothes (what you wear), level of formality influences appropriate choices.

9 Types of Diction Formal Diction is largely reserved for scholarly writing and serious prose or poetry, and business writing, and essays. Informal Diction is the norm in newspaper editorials, works of fiction, and friendly writings. Colloquial Diction and slang borrow from informal speech and are typically used to create a mood or capture a particular historic or regional dialect, found in song lyrics.

10 Formal Diction Language that creates an elevated tone (proper) Free of slang, idioms ( expressions familiar with its own language: a penny saved is a penny earned ), colloquialisms ( informal spoken words: wanna, aint, y’all ) It is more sophisticated, elegant vocabulary For example: Discerning the impracticable state of the poor culprit's mind, the elder clergyman, who had carefully prepared himself for the occasion, addressed to the multitude a discourse on sin, in all its branches, but with continual reference to the ignominious letter.

11 Informal Diction Language of everyday use Relaxed and conversational Often includes common and simple words Jargon, slang, idioms, colloquial *Keep in mind some language doesn’t fall in either formal or informal, so it is neutral diction (simple vocabulary-standard English- no slang, idioms, colloquial)-The majority of writing

12 Types of Informal Diction Neutral Diction: Every day vocabulary: The shark swung over and the old man saw his eye was not alive and then he swung over once again, wrapping himself in two loops of the rope. The old man knew that he was dead but the shark would not accept it. Slang refers to a group of recently coined words often used in informal situations. Slang words often come and go quickly, passing in and out of usage within months or years. “that's bad” “you just got dissed” (today we can add text language)

13 More types Informal Diction Colloquial expressions are nonstandard, often regional, ways of using language appropriate to informal or conversational speech and writing. The characteristic "ayah" of the Maine resident or the southern word "y'all" are examples of colloquialisms. Jargon consists of words and expressions characteristic of a particular trade, profession, or pursuit. Some examples of nautical (sailor) jargon from "cuddy," "taffrail," "mizzen," and "binnacle." –Think of pirate talk Idiom is a form of speech or expression of a given language that is peculiar; it's meaning is other than the literal meaning of the words that comprise the idiom: bad egg, back burner, in a pickle, in hot water, no-brainer.........

14 Connotation vs. Denotation When studying diction, you must understand both connotation (the meaning suggested by the word) and denotation (literal meaning). A word's power to produce a strong reaction in the reader lies mainly in its connotative meaning. When a writer calls a character "slender," the word evokes a different feeling from calling the character "gaunt."

15 Freshness & Originality Finally, diction can impart freshness and originality to writing. Words used in surprising or unusual ways make us rethink what is known and re-examine meaning.

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