Terms used by literary critics in characterizing the style of novels are often impressionistic (‘baroque’, ‘austere’, ‘vivid’, ‘cerebral’ etc.). Foundations for such evaluations are usually not provided. A scientific way of studying and explaining style is lacking in present day Dutch Studies. This subproject aims to develop a scientific basis for discussing and explaining the style of literary novels.
What is the difference between a minister saying that something is possible or that it is not impossible? And what exactly is the rhetorical effect when someone says I don’t want to blame you for X, but… – thereby exactly blaming the addressee for X (a figure of speech called praeteritio)? Speechwriters do often have global ideas about the effect of certain stylistic devices, but a scientific basis for these intuitive judgements is lacking.
The linguistic project constitutes the connection between the two other subprojects. On the one hand, linguistic insights will be re-interpreted as instruments for stylistic analysis. On the other hand, results from the other two subprojects will be interpreted in the theoretical framework of cognitive linguistics.