The word style derives from Latin stĭlus, which referred to several kinds of long pointed instruments used to make marks or incisions on a number of materials. When those marks took the form of writing, the instrument resembled a modern pen. The contemporary sense of the term, then, is the result of a metonymic displacement from the object itself to the manner in which it was employed.
Style is the patterned choice of linguistic elements and structures that may be regarded as distinctive of a user or group of users. Choice must be seen against the backdrop of the extremely rich and varied set of resources offered by a linguistic system. Style is usually associated with literature because in literary genres expressive uniqueness is highly appreciated, and the work of individual authors often displays unique patterns. That is why the notion is mostly used in an individual sense, as applying to particular authors or works. But it may refer to a movement or group of writers sharing common features. Even so, this collective sense should stop short of overlapping with other well-established notions such as register or dialect. On the other hand, the individual sense of style can be distinguished from the notion of idiolect (an individual’s set of unconscious linguistic habits) on the basis of artistic motivation – even though in studies of translator style unconscious habits are also regarded as worthy of attention. Here, as elsewhere in the humanities, terminological consistency is far from being the norm and conceptual overlappings between neighbouring terms abound.
Stylistics is the discipline that deals with style mainly in literature from a linguistic perspective, although tools from other disciplines are also used. Its evolution since its inception in the 1960s mirrors theoretical and methodological developments in linguistics. These developments are also mirrored, to a lesser extent, by the study of style in translation studies. Two broad perspectives can be observed at this particular interface – the study of style in and of translation. Style in translation focuses on the source text style and how it is dealt with in translation. Style of translation focuses on translator style, i.e., the sum of the translator’s unconscious habits, motivated choices and translation strategies. The theoretical standpoints include systemic functional linguistics and cognitive stylistics. Methodological approaches range from manual to corpus-based analysis, the latter including the methods of stylometry in recent years. In any of these cases, translation-oriented stylistic analysis is at its most significant when patterns of linguistic choice are related to the socio-cultural or cognitive factors underlying the translator’s task, as established by the analyst.
|Josep Marco Borillo
|Marco Borillo, Josep. 2022. "Style" @ ENTI (Encyclopedia of translation & interpreting). AIETI.|