ERIC Number: ED382966
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar-23
Reference Count: N/A
Some Explorations of the Synoptic and Dynamic Styles.
Vande Kopple, William J.
M. A. K. Halliday's continuum of linguistic styles or modes of representing experience employs two classifications of writing styles: (1) synoptic, and (2) dynamic. The synoptic style represents the world as a world of things, of products, of structures. This style is usually associated with carefully planned, formal writing. The chief characteristic of the style is lexical density, which is the proportion of lexical or content words to the total discourse. At the other end of Halliday's continuum is the dynamic style, which represents the world in terms of happenings, processes, and becomings. It is usually associated with speech, especially spontaneous speech. Its chief characteristic is grammatical intricacy; in other words, it contains many clauses, some hypotactically and some paratactically related to others. A study of student writing in two sections (34 students) of basic writing taught at a four-year college found that many of the sentences in this sample demonstrated a complexity typical of neither dynamic nor synoptic styles but that when some complexity was present it was usually the dynamic sort. This preliminary work raises the possibility that some college students, without kinds of special help, will not be able to move very far along the stylistic continuum toward the synoptic style in their writing. These results justify thinking on the part of literacy scholars about what might allow students to do the kind of scholarly work that seems to correlate highly with the synoptic style. (Contains 14 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Basic Writers; Composition Theory; Halliday (M A K); Writing Style
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (46th, Washington, DC, March 23-25, 1995).