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Metacommunicational Functions of Stylistic Deviations

Stylistic deviations, stylistic markedness, do not occur randomly in a discourse. There are types of films and particular places in cinematic discourse where the occurrence of stylistic deviations can be expected with high probability. Such places are beginnings and endings of a scene, transitions from scene to scene, places of higher importance within the scene, and change of the expository style within the film exposition.

Stylizations (deviations from some intradiscoursive regularity) tend to occur on a regular basis as metadiscoursive signals, i. e. as signals that enable the movie-viewer to deal with important changes in the discourse flow. Functionally, they appear as: discourse unit openings, closure signals, transition signals, evaluation signals, commentary, and shift signals (shifters). All these are demonstrated through the analysis of Hitchcock’s procedures in North by Northwest and Notorious.

Stylizations constitute specific (»parasitic«) metacommunicative regulatory system, i. e. the system that regulates (and enables) the recognition of the communicative structure of discourse; that helps regulate the communicative adjustment of the audience to the course of discourse. This regulatory system is specified and distinguished from the main body of the discourse (where the main trust of communication lies) both constitutively (it is based on a certain kind of exception elements, »deviations«, within the particular context of discourse), and functionally (it has a second order — meta — functions: to help manage successfully the main message functions realized within the discourse).

Hrvoje Turković

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