Language features are the speciﬁc language techniques that an author includes to create meaning. Literary elements are aspects of a text that the reader interprets, for example, themes and characterisation. Literary elements and language features both come under the umbrella of literary devices, along with the conventions of other genres (for example, dramatic or poetic conventions).
Literary elements and language features are closely linked, and it is essential that you are able to discuss how they work together to form complex analysis. A clear example of this is characterisation. Characterisation is how a particular character is constructed and represented – this is a literary element. However this construction is formed through language features, such as the selection of particular words (diction).
|Language Features/Literary Device||Description|
|Oxymoron||Two words used together that have, or seem to have, opposite meanings. Example: pretty awful.|
|Repetition||The act of doing or saying something again.|
|Alliteration||The repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables. Example: “Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran” uses alliteration.|
|Simile||An expression comparing one thing with another, always including the words “as” or “like”. Example: The lines “She walks in beauty, like the night…” from Byron’s poem contain a simile.|
|Metaphor||An expression, often found in literature, that describes a person or object by referring to something that is considered to have similar characteristics to that person or object. Example: “The mind is an ocean” and “the city is a jungle” are both metaphors.|
|Personification||When you associate a humanistic quality to an inanimate object.|
|Imagery||The use of pictures or words to create images, esp. to create an impression or mood.|
|Descriptive language||Descriptive language adds purpose, aesthetic value and emotion to a text. Example: adjectives, adverbs, similes, and metaphors|
|Figurative language||Figurative language refers to the use of words in a way that deviates from the conventional order and meaning in order to convey a complicated meaning, colorful writing, clarity, or evocative comparison. Example: This coffee shop is an ice box!|
|Hyperbole||Extravagant exaggeration. Example: Although he’s not given to hyperbole, Ron says we are light-years ahead of our time.|
|Puns||A humorous use of a word or phrase that has several meanings or that sounds like another word. Example: She made a couple of dreadful puns.|
|Double entendre||Ambiguity of meaning arising from language that lends itself to more than one interpretation.|
|Onomatopoeia||The naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it.|
|Emotive language||Emotive language is the term used when certain word choices are made to evoke an emotional response. Example: Adjectives – Appalling, Wonderful, Heavenly, Magical and Tragic.|
|Inclusive language||Inclusive language avoids biases, slang, or expressions that discriminate against groups of people based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Example: “We come in peace for all mankind” would likely now be “We come in peace for all humankind”|
|Exclusive language||Exclusive language is language that uses words specifically chosen with the intent to exclude an individual or a group. Example: if you said “that is so retarded” and the person has a disability or knows someone with a disability|
|Direct address||Direct address refers to any construct in which a speaker is talking directly to an individual or group. Example: “What time do you want to go to the game, Felix?"|
|Syntax||The way in which linguistic elements are put together to form constituents. Example: The president’s tortured syntax was often satirized.|
|Cliché||A saying or remark that is very often made and is therefore not original and not interesting. Example: The story is shamelessly corny, and grownups will groan at its clichés|
|Idiom||A group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own. Example: ‘She was over the moon’|
|Assonance||Repetition of vowels without repetition of consonants used as an alternative to rhyme in verse. Example: “Hear the mellow wedding bells”|
|Euphemism||A word or phrase used to avoid saying an unpleasant or offensive word.
Example: “Senior citizen” is a euphemism for “old person”.
|Metonymy||The act of referring to something using a word that describes one of its qualities or features.|
|Anthropomorphism||An interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.|
|Diction||The connotations of words used in a text.|
|Syntax and punctuation||Syntax- the grammatical arrangement of words in a sentence.
Punctuation- the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in written matter to clarify the meaning and separate structural units.
|Colloquial language||Informal and more suitable for use in speech than in writing.|
|Stylistic features||The ways in which aspects of texts are arranged and how they affect meaning.
Examples of stylistic features are narrative viewpoint, structure of stanzas, juxtaposition
|Cumulative listing||Increasing by one addition after another.|
|Asyndeton||Omission of the conjunctions that ordinarily join coordinate words or clauses. Example: “I came, I saw, I conquered”|
|Syndeton||Using conjunctions for effects. “He eats and sleeps and drinks”|