Stylistics, Discourse, and Postmodernism

Juni 06, 2020

Oleh: Intan Retno Pinasty
(Mahasiswi Sastra Inggris FISIP UBB)

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In the twenty-first century, stylistics began to develop. It is taught in university on language, literature, and linguistics department. Stylistics can be defined as the style of language. It can analyze what kind of language in a text. The text that can be analyzed is spoken and written text. Stylistics has a sub-disciplines such as feminist stylistics, cognitive stylistics, discourse stylistics, contemporary stylistics, and etc. From those sub-disciplines, it can be concluded that stylistics can determine what style of language in a text that the writer or the author has. Language is important in stylistics because of its various forms and patterns. Language has levels and linguistics structure which is an important thing to do a stylistic analysis. Therefore, stylistics is intercorrelated with language as a function of texts in a context. The purpose of stylistics is to explore the creativity in language use. It can develop our ways of thinking about language also develop our understanding of a context in a text.

Discourse is a written or spoken communication with a social context. Discourse and stylistics is related to linguistics disciplines and cannot be separated. We can define discourse as a communication and stylistics as the pattern and style of what is being communicated. According to Kress (1985) in UK Essays’ article (2018), discourse is a statement which is systematically organized to give expression to the meaning of a context. Stubbs (1983) states discourse is related to language and social context. Fairclough (1995, 28-32) in Putra & Triyono (2018) states discourse constituted the social and cultural practice. Therefore, social context plays a big role in generating meaning in discourse.

A text in discourse can be a word, sentence, phrase, paragraph, or a whole chapter and conversation. The text has information that flows among sentences through coherence and cohesion. Coherence is concerned with the sense of a text. The sense of a text should be coherent and related to each other. It is created the flows or the idea of what is being discussed. Meanwhile, cohesion is a close relationship based on grammar or meaning in a piece of writing. Coherence in discourse can be related to a dialogue. Short in Simpson (2004) states there are two way of interaction in the context of drama dialogue. The first one is the message in conveyed by th eplaywright to the audience. The second one is the message conveyed by the character A to character B. The separation between those interaction can make it easier for the audience to understand the whole meaning in the dialogue. This is when coherence plays its part.

Language is unconsciously shaping how human thinks. It is also happened towards postmodernism form. Postmodernism shapes human attitude, knowledge, and how human understanding things around them. People express their way of thinking based on their observation towards something. Postmodernism opposes natural science as a system of knowledge. It means people construct their own idea on a reality in front of them. Gergen & Thatcherenkery (2004) states language is a system created by people as a social construction itself. This idea makes language as a way to communicate and shape our believes, even if it is not stick to the reality. In short, postmodernism theory discusses about the deconstruction of things and construct another belief of things.

This paper will compare a journal between stylistics & discourse and stylistics & postmodernism theory. The comparison of the journals is expected to help people understand the differences between stylistics, discourse, and postmodernism, also how they related to each other. The title of the journal is Modernism and Postmodernism Foregrounded: A Stylistics Analysis of E. E Cummings Poems by Riaz Hussain & Amjad Saleem (2017) and A Discourse-Stylistic Analysis of Mood Structures In Selected Poems of J. P Clark-Bekederemo by Ebi Yeibo (2011).

E. E Cumming’s poetry has been criticized since the first edition because of its unusual written style. The journal analyzed the written style of two Cumming;s poem through foregrounded deviation. It analyzed 5 types of foregrounded: typographical, grammatical, lexical, semantic, and morphological. The result of this study is about the prom feature of modernism and postmodernism in Cumming’s poem in terms of techniques, style, and meaning of the poem. Hussain & Saleem (2017) states there is a postmodern theory in the word order and the graphological distortions found in the poem. There is a large blank space with broken words. The poem also has misplaced parenthesis which resulted disjointed phrases. The writer of this journal states there is no specific forms in the poem. There is a disjunction, instability of meaning, groundless, and meaningless in this poem. This technique of writing is similar to postmodern thoughts.

A Discourse-Stylistic Analysis of Mood Structures In Selected Poems of J. P Clark-Bekederemo by Ebi Yeibo (2011) examined the mood structures in the poem. The journal discussed how language can express the manner of speaking, the roles, and the attitudes in a context. it is highlighted the nature of dialogue between interactants in the poetry and its relation to social context. The researcher used discourse-stylistics approach to examine what is being communicated and how it is communicated. According to Yeibo (2011), discourse-stylistic approach is concerned with the identification of stylistics feature in a text or in a discourse. Tis type of approach can investigate the stylistic forms and function of language in a specific discourse situation. Discourse-stylistic approach can describe the linguistics form in a sentence within the social context, cultural context, or historical context. The mood structure in this journal refers to the manners of how people speak or write. A speaker or writer can use indicative mood, interrogative mood, imperative mood, and optative mood. If a speaker is assertive, he will give a indicative mood. He will give interrogative mood when he ask about something. He will give a imperative mood when he orders someone to do something. He will give a optative mood when he indicates a wish or a hope. This type of mood also discussed by Simpson (2004) in dialogue and discourses (A9). Simpson states there are three patterns to make an utterances: directness, indirectness, and politeness. Simpson does not clearly stated that it is mood, however we can clearly seen it has a similar concepts of a speaker or writer’s mood.

From the explanation about those two journals, it can be concluded that stylistics in postmodernism and in discourse has distinctive differences. Stylistics in postmodernism discusses about how the style of language determine whether a context has postmodernism theory, meanwhile stylistics in discourse mainly talks about how stylistics can identified the form and the function of language in discourse situation. It can be connected with a lot of social context. Postmodernism theory in stylistics concerned with the written style of language which has a correlation with postmodernism forms of writing, meanwhile discourse in stylistics according to the journal mainly talks about how a speaker determine the mood in a context of discourse.



Essays, UK. (November 2018). Discourse And Discourse Analysis English Language Essay. Retrieved from

Gergen, K. J., & Thatchenkery, T. J. (2004). Organization Science As Social Construction: Postmodern Potentials. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 40(2), 228-249.

Hussain, R., & Saleem, A. (2017). Modernism and Postmodernism Foregrounded: A Stylistics Analysis of EE Cummings Poems. Putaj Humanities & Social Sciences, 24(2).

Putra, H. P., & Triyono, S. (2018). Critical Discourse Analysis on News:‘Gerakan#2019GantiPresiden’. LEKSEMA: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra, 2(2), 113-121.

Simpson, P. (2004). Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students. London: Routledge.

Stubbs, M. (1983). Discourse Analysis: The Sociolinguistic Analysis of Natural Language (Vol. 4). University of Chicago Press.

Yeibo, E. (2011). A Discourse-Stylistic Analysis of Mood Structures In Selected Poems of J. P Clark-Bekederemo. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sceience, 1(16), 197-203.


Intan Retno Pinasty, mahasiswi Sastra Inggris di Universitas Bangka Belitung. Gadis kelahiran tahun 2000 yang merupakan seorang makeup enthusiast dan Kpopers, Gemar menonton film di kala senggang dan disegala kesempatan.

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