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Characteristics of literary language

Connoisseurs of literary language will know that there are a wide variety of genres, but they all have a common goal: to capture the reader's attention through the beauty of words. We could say that literary language is a form of artificial expression, since it is used in an artistic way. It can be expressed in prose or verse but its ultimate goal is to convey ideas. It can even resort to colloquial turns if the type of text requires it, so we must not confuse it as a cultured language, although sometimes it could look similar. 

If you want to learn to write literature at Escuela Des Arts you will find different degrees with which you can acquire and develop the art of writing. Take a look at our Master in Creative Writing and Narration, with which you will learn to use literary language, create a plot and develop the personality of each of the central characters. 

Characteristics of literary language 

Literary language as a whole constitutes an aesthetic transmission of the word. The common thing is that it is done in writing, although the truth is that it is also possible to disseminate it verbally. The characteristics of this type of language are summarized in the ones that we will show below. 

1. Art and originality 

The writer distances himself from common language and chooses the subjective meaning of the words he uses. Hence, one of the most important characteristics of the language of literature is originality; that is, the artistic emission of the message that you want to convey to the reader. 

2. The rhetoric 

In the language of literature, rhetoric understood in its broadest concept is used, that is, the message is manipulated to give it persuasion, beauty and expression. It tries to attract the attention of the public and arouse their curiosity through the poetic function and the use of stylistic resources

3. The shape 

The form of the text is important, whether the writer is writing prose or writing verse. When you write, you must take care of the musicality of the words, the structure, the grammar and the lexicon. The form encompasses the entire message and must result in a harmonious set. 

4. Subjective intention 

One of the most wonderful features of literary language is the ability to play with the meaning of the message. The subjectivity and the choice of the connotation of words makes the speech is versatile. Thus, as a reader, you will see yourself reflected in the text according to your personal situation. Each person will find a different message. 

5. Fiction 

The fiction that literature offers allows the writer to play with all kinds of realities. A literary text may be more or less similar to real life, a story or true facts, but it will always be, in the end, surreal. For this reason, the writer can grant himself great freedom in this type of language. 

Uses and functions of literary language 

The uses of literary language are summarized in the emission of emotions, its connotation, the intention of transmitting content, the choice of words, the code and the channel. Each literary function of language collects this content. 

1. Expression 

Expressiveness towards the issuer is one of the most remarkable functions, because it does not only send information . Also, collect the attitude you have towards her. As a speaker, you choose the tone you want to give to what you communicate, as well as the correct words to make them assertive or provocative, among other options. 

2. Appeal 

It is the reaction of the person who receives the message from the sender. When you send a message to the recipient, you create a response, either with words or with acting. 

3. Referrer 

It is the use itself of the communicative act. The referent is linked to it because if a message does not have an purpose or intrinsic meaning, it will be meaningless. It is, therefore, the extralinguistic reality of the act of communicating. 

4. Code and channel 

The language transmission channel must work. That is, understand each other or that, indeed, our message reaches them. The code is very close, since it is about the type of communication we use: for example, when you learn a language and communicate in it with another person who also speaks it. 

Different types of genres in literary language 

The genres of literary language are the classification groups that we form to group literary texts according to the content of the works. In this way, without reading them, we can know what scheme it is going to have, what approach it will follow and know its theme, as well as its structure. Once you know them, you can choose them according to your literary tastes. 

1. The narrative 

The narrative genre includes texts with descriptions and dialogues, not just the pure narration of the work. Originally it was about mythical events that were based on a true story or that were posing as such. Today there is a wide variety of subgenres in storytelling. Depending on your tastes, you can go for the historical, horror, romantic narrative genre and much more. It is one of the genres of literature with the greatest breadth. 

2. The lyric 

The lyrical genre consists of the transmission of the sensations of the writer, his feelings or his emotions. It is taken as a reference to an object or a person, which serves as inspiration. Normally, when we speak of lyric we refer to poems. However, you can also read certain lyrical texts that are expressed in verse form and even prose. 

3. The dramatic 

As when we spoke of lyric we were referring essentially to poems, when we refer to the dramatic genre we are talking about the theater par excellence. It is one of the literary genres where the aesthetic purpose of language is most noticeable, by adding great passion and expressiveness to its dialogues. The dramatic genre has its own style of transmission. 

In short, literary language is an artificial way of transmitting a message, having been created by humans. However, this characteristic is not an obstacle to being able to reach another person, making him react in almost any way through the choice of words: joy, sadness, disappointment, fear, emotion, etc. Within literature, we thus find different functions and genres, which classify texts according to the type of message, the structure and the content. 

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Written by Golda Burke

Creative Writer, Tutor, Educator.

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