ERIC Number: ED175000
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Speaking of Style: How Objective Can One Be?
Hiatt, Mary P.
Objectivity in style description is desirable, but three elements of any literary work make objectivity difficult: subject matter, context, and audience. Keeping aware of these subjective factors can help in achieving a measure of objective description. Two methods of stylistic analysis can be conducive to objectivity: propositional reduction and the use of a computer. Propositional reduction is based on the tenet that any statement has a core or basic proposition that can be elaborated upon in a number of ways. It sifts out style from content--for the proposition is content and all else is style. Two limitations of propositional reduction are that it is slow and laborious and it applies only to sentence units. In dealing with larger quantities of text, the computer offers the closest approximation to objectivity: it does not make errors, it cannot like or dislike, it has no opinions, and it is itself totally objective. Limitations in computer use are that its use implies an objectivity that may not be present in the human programer, the text must be in machine-readable form, and it can deal only in formal matters. (TJ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (30th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 5-7, 1979)