Traditional classifications of speech utterances

Traditional classifications of speech utterances

The problem of classification of speech utterances claims the immediate attention of many scholars. Classification as one of the applicable scientific operations presupposes bringing into light the system of subordinated concepts (classes, objects, phenomena) in any field of knowledge. Worked out on the basis of common features and characteristics, as well as relations between them, classification allows the scholars to find their way in the multitude of objects and is the source of knowledge about them.

Traditional typology of literary genres and linguistic classification of texts according to the functional styles are the most well-known in Philology. In Literary Criticism three literary genres are singled out: poetry, narrative literature and drama. Accordingly, poems, odes, ballads, sonnets etc. belong to poetry; short stories, novellas and novels – to the narrative literature; and comedy, tragedy, joke etc belong to drama.

Classification of functional styles of a language is based upon extra-linguistic factors, which are analyzed in close relation to linguistic principles. It may well seem that while classifying functional styles it is easiest to proceed from the functions of the language. However, as practice shows, it is useless to be guided only by the different functions of language in linguistic research. As M.N.Kozhyna suggests, the impossibility of clear definition of styles on the basis of language functions is connected with the fact that normally they are present in every speech act.

In this case it is necessary to be guided by such factor as the sphere of communication. This very factor lies in the basis of modern definitions of functional styles. According to these definitions, functional style is understood as “a variety of a literary language, in which a language appears in a certain socially-significant sphere of social-speech practice of people and the peculiarities of which are conditioned by peculiarities of communication in the given sphere”.