What are the language techniques? These are special things authors use to make their writing more interesting for readers. As a result, people can read the book and imagine better everything that the author describes. The audience understands the entire story better. In this short guide, we will give you some definitions and examples of language techniques. Remember these techniques are important in writing, whether you're creating an essay or working on your book.
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What is a language technique?
Language techniques (also - literary techniques) - are the techniques and elements that writers use in their texts to help convey as well as to emphasize the topic and the meaning of their piece of content.
Literary / language techniques help writers to give more emphasis to their ideas to make them stand out, rather than writing in a plain language.
What are the effects of language techniques?
In general, the literary techniques are a collection of universal artistic structures that are so typical of all works of literature frequently employed by the writers to give meanings and a logical framework to their works through language. When such works are read by readers, they ultimately recognize and appreciate them. Because of their universality, they also allow the readers to compare a work of one writer to that of the other to determine its worth. They not only beautify the piece of literature but also give deeper meanings to it, testing the very understanding of the readers along with providing them enjoyment of reading. Besides, they help motivate readers’ imagination to visualize the characters and scenes more clearly.
Techniques are used by writers as an attempt to make the reader think in a certain way. These techniques can be used to intrigue, inspire, persuade or simply convey information to the reader.
Language techniques are used in a descriptive language to help the reader feel almost as if they are a part of the scene or event being described. Description is useful because it helps readers engage with the world of the story, often creating an emotional response. It can help a reader visualise what a character or a place is like.
10 Great Language Techniques to Improve your Writing
Let's discuss the most interesting and effective language techniques that will improve your writing and help to create interesting stories without stress.
It is a language technique in which an abstract idea is given a form of characters, actions or events. It also is explained as a story with a double meaning: one primary (on the surface) and one secondary. An allegory is an extended metaphor where objects, persons and actions in a narrative are equated with meanings outside the narrative. The meaning of an allegory can have moral, social, religious, or political significance, often relatable to the context of the author.
“Animal Farm”, written by George Orwell, is an example allegory using the actions of animals on a farm to represent the overthrow of the last of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Communist Revolution of Russia before WWII. In addition, the actions of the animals on the farm are used to expose the greed and corruption of the Revolution.
This technique is used to create an internal rhythm in sentences and phrases. It can be created with a repetition of the vowel sounds. Many writers use assonance to attract readers' attention. It helps to set the mood of reading.
Example of assonance - read the famous poem from Dylan Thomas sets the mood for readers:
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
These are phrases used by authors to make your writing more impressive for the audience. Read the most bright idioms below.
Example of idioms in sentences:
She was going to call it a night (she was going to bed)
Last year, I missed my boat in college (I missed my opportunity)
He said yesterday he missed a game because he felt under the weather (he was sick)
I go to parties with friends once in a blue moon (I go partying very rare)
She's sure that writing isn't her cup of tea (not a thing she can do successfully)
It is a language technique used by writers to draw an impressive and bright image in the minds of their audience.
Example of imagery - read William Shakespeare's poem "Romeo and Juliet" where the author uses imagery of darkness and light:
“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear …”
Writers use this language technique when they need to create a commanding tone in their texts. Usually, imperatives are used in books for heroes to give orders, instructions, or requests.
Example of imperative - read the following sentences:
Do not eat anything after 6 pm! (instruction or order)
Feel free to call me tomorrow (invitation)
Stop saying this way! (order)
Read the article to the end fast! (instruction or order)
It is the use of the words in such a way in which the intended meaning is completely opposite to their literal meaning. For example:
- The bread is soft as a stone.
- So nice of you to break my new PSP!
These are old phrases used by people and are very rare. It was invented by Shakespeare. We can find a lot of neologisms in his famous poems.
Examples of neologism - read a sentence from “The Taming of the Shrew”:
“Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes,
That have been so bedazzled with the sun
That everything I look on seemeth green.”
Shakespeare invented the word "bedazzled" to describe rhinestone-embellished clothing. You may read a lot of other neologisms in his poems.
Types of Neologisms
As there are a variety of ways to make new words, there are a variety of types of neologisms. Here are a few specific types of neologisms:
a) Portmanteaus or Blend Words
A specific type of neologism, portmanteaus do just what they say: blend together two words to create a new word which combines their meanings, e.g.:
- smoke + fog = smog
- spoon + fork = spork
- breakfast + lunch = brunch
b) Derived words
Derived words are words that use ancient Greek and Latin phrases naturalized to match the English language.
Here are a few examples of derived words:
- Latin word "villa"
Meaning: villa or house
Derived words: villa, village, villager
- Latin word "sub"
Derived words: submarine, subway
- Latin word "copia"
Derived words: cornucopia, copious
It means to copy sounds of a thing. It is used by authors in descriptive writings to make them more interesting and impressive.
Example of onomatopoeia - it is used by Edgar Allan Poe in his poem "The Bells":
“How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells, -
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells,
Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells -
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!”
Authors use personification to add non-human objects feelings and things from a human. This helps to turn the attention of the audience. Personification is used by many famous writers to make their stories more impressive.
Examples of personification - the poem by William Wordsworth "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud":
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”
In this poem, the author brings the beauty of nature to real life. He personalised daffodils as dancing people and describes himself as a cloud that enjoys the show.
10. Simile and Metaphor.
Both compare two distinct objects and draw similarity between them. The difference is that Simile uses “as” or “like” and Metaphor does not. For example:
- “My love is like a red red rose” (Simile)
- He is an old fox very cunning. (Metaphor)
In the following example King Hamlet uses simile to emphasise his sufferings in hell, declaring to Hamlet that the details of his tortures would:
"Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres;
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.”
What are Literary Devices
Commonly, the term Literary Devices refers to the typical structures used by writers in their works to convey his or her message(s) in a simple manner to his or her readers. When employed properly, the different literary devices help readers to appreciate, interpret and analyze a literary work.
Literary Devices have two aspects. They can be treated as either Literary Elements or Literary Techniques. It will be convenient to define them separately.
Literary Elements have an inherent existence in literary pieces and are extensively employed by writers to develop a literary piece e.g. plot, setting, narrative structure, characters, mood, theme, moral etc. Writers simply cannot create his desired work without including Literary Elements in a thoroughly professional manner.
Literary Techniques (we already know them as Language techniques), on the contrary, are structures usually as words or phrases in literary texts that writers employ to achieve not merely artistic ends but also readers a greater understanding and appreciation of their literary works.
Common Literary Elements
- Plot - It is the logical sequence of events that develops a story.
- Setting - refers to the time and place in which a story takes place.
- Protagonist - is the main character of story, novel or a play e.g. Hamlet in the play Hamlet
- Antagonist - is the character in conflict with the Protagonist e.g. Claudius in the play Hamlet
- Narrator - a person who tells the story.
- Narrative method - the manner in which a narrative is presented comprising plot and setting.
- Dialogue - where characters of a narrative speak to one another.
- Conflict - is an issue in a narrative around which the whole story revolves.
- Mood - a general atmosphere of a narrative. Theme: It is central idea or concept of a story.
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