Style as a Deviation from Norm (for special effect)

Style as a Deviation from Norm

Style is often related to deviation, meaning a variation that deviates from the standard or norm. The writer is said to deliberately recourse to the use of his/her own style, marked by the non-respect of grammar rules so as to better attract the attention of his/her readers. These devices he/she uses are the style markers and they help him/her to achieve the aim sought by attracting the attention of the readers. In fact, style as deviation can be linked to style as a choice for they practically have the same aim which is to convey in a very clear manner the author’s message. It is mostly marked by the author’s refusal of the use of standard language, by his/her non-conformism and the non-respect of grammatical rules. This non-conformism on his/her behalf can indeed be considered as style marker. In doing so, the author attracts the readers on matters that the latter did not find interesting at all.

The aim of an author using style deviation

The aim of an author using style deviation may differ according to the message he/she wants to convey. The refusal to use standard language for example may be related to the author’s need to describe the way of speaking of the people he describes. Any writing or material that has intentionally jettisoned the rule of language in some way is said to have deviated. Traugott and Pratt (1980) believe that the idea of style as deviance is favoured by the “generative frame of reference”. It is an old concept, which stems from the work of such scholars as Jan Mukarovsky. Mukarovsky relates style to foregrounding and says that violation of norm of the standard…“Is what makes possible the poetic utilization of language” (Traugott and Pratt.31).

Chinua Achebe,  the epitome of this kind of non-respect of grammar rules

Chinua Achebe for instance, can be taken as the epitome of this kind of non-respect of grammar rules in mostly all his novels. His main concern however is to reflect the social reality of his society, by showing the very way they express themselves without any respect of grammar rules or syntax illustrated in this passage extracted from his book Anthills of the Savannah: “you mean to say dem no tell you? Wonderful! Na for President Guest House for Abichi lake na there dem say make I take you and dat must correct because why? The president been de there since yesterday, he no dey for palace at all. Style is a deviation from the norm and not an error.

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