LOT Summer School 2018

Linguistic stylistics

Ninke Stukker



Title of the course: Linguistic stylistics

Teacher: Ninke Stukker (Groningen University)


Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK Groningen



Course info

Level: intermediate-advanced

Course description:

Two utterances are said to differ in style if they are ‘different ways of saying the same thing’. Style is what makes a text engaging, formal, vivid or dry. It also contributes to higher order cognitive effects such as the persuasive power of a text, creating interpretive frames or creating a specific corporate image.

Stylistic analysis aims at connecting individual linguistic choices to interpretive effects located at the discourse level of the linguistic structure. The present course discusses recent developments in the field and demonstrates how insights from cognitive and functional linguistics and the use of ‘checklists’ are helpful in creating a method of stylistic analysis that is both theoretically well-founded and methodologically sound. During the sessions, we will not only discuss literature, but also collectively perform a small-scale stylistic analysis. The course readings will serve as a resource for making analytical choices and interpretations, but at the same time, the analysis will serve as input for critical discussion of the concepts and procedures proposed in the literature.

Day-to-day program


Register, genre, style – or just: style?


The linguistic microlevel of style


From the microlevel to the macrolevel of discourse interpretation


Style across discourse contexts


Issues in stylistic research

Reading list

(Provisional!) background and preparatory readings:

  • Biber, Douglas & Susan Conrad (2009). Register, genre, and style. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jeffries, Lesley & Dan McIntyre (2010). Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In Dutch:

  • Anbeek, Ton, Arie Verhagen (2001). Over stijl. Neerlandistiek.nl 01.01., 1-26. (https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/28516)
  • Fagel, Suzanne. 2010. Gruwelen met Grunberg. Een stilistische analyse van tijd en aspect in De asielzoeker. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde (TNTL), 126(3). 242–263.
  • Fagel-de Werd, S. (2015). De stijl van gewoon proza. Proefschrift Universiteit Leiden.
  • Leeuwen, M. van (2015). Stijl en politiek. Een taalkundig-stilistische benadering van Nederlandse parlementaire toespraken. Dissertatie Universiteit Leiden: LOT.

(Provisional!) course readings:

Lecture 1:

  • Biber, Douglas & Susan Conrad (2009). Register, genre, and style. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapters 1-3.

Lecture 2:

  • Verhagen, Arie (2007). Construal and perspectivisation. In D. Geeraerts & H. Cuyckens (red.): Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. Oxford (etc.): Oxford University Press, 48-81.
  • Van Leeuwen, Maarten (2014). Systematic stylistic analysis. The use of a checklist. In: Kaal B., Maks I., Elfrinkhof A. van (Eds.) From Text to political Positions. Text analysis across disciplines. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 225-244.

Lecture 3:

  • Fludernik, Monika (2003). Chronology, time, tense and experientiality in narrative. Language and literature 12(2), 117-134.
  • Biber, Douglas (2012). Register as a predictor of linguistic variation. Corpus linguistics and linguistic theory 8(1), 9-37.

Lecture 4:

  • Bell, Allen (1998). News time. Time & society, 4(3), 305-328.
  • Stukker, Ninke (2016). The expressive potential of the Dutch Simple Present tense across narrative genres. In: Stukker, N., Spooren, W. & Steen, G. (eds.). Genre in language, discourse and cognition. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, p. 75-106.

Lecture 5:

  • Whiteley, Sara & Patricia Canning (2017). Reader response research in stylistics. Language and literature 26(2), 71-87.

Further readings: