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National style as a stylistic category

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The term and the category of national style was introduced in the period of pre-romanticism in Germany (Winckelmann, Herder, Goethe) in response to radical social and cultural transformations. At that time in Eu-rope, the modern understanding of the nation was being formed, with national societies being constituted and national identities dominating over other forms of collective identity. In the twentieth century, it was accepted that a nation is not a naturally formed community of people, but rather a cultural project – a construct based on ideology and realized in discourse (Gellner, Anderson, Hobsbawm).
The notion of national style requires a retraction from the rhetorical (elocutionary) conceptualization of style based on the opposition between language and thought (cf. res vs. verba). It is theoretically grounded in the monistic tradition (cf. Ganzeit). As a result, the category of nation-al style integrates various previous typologies of styles (e.g., formal / casual / colloquial register, functional styles).
According to the classical understanding of style, a given national style can be regarded as a repository of stylistic devices (marked or expressive linguistic elements or properties). In the new, holistic approach, where style is the highest organizing principle of expression (in terms of both content and form), national style is said to pervade national discourse (i.e. the textual realizations of national identity and national ideology). It can be postulated that specific nations are characterized by their unique percep-tion of social reality, organization of information and patterning of interaction, which is evidenced in what is accepted as socially appropriate textual (stylistic, gener-ic) forms. Slavic national styles can be researched from the perspective of individual nations, as well as from the comparative perspective.


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