The affective, the conceptual and the meaning of ‘life’ in the stylistics of Charles Bally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The work in stylistics of Charles Bally (1865-1947) attempts to analyse that subset of a language system in which meaning is not purely conceptual or intellectual, but has an affective, emotional dimension. It is not concerned with literary language, but with everyday language used in the service of ‘life’, a word which is central for Bally. This paper adds to the definitive study of Bally’s stylistics (Taylor 1981) by bringing in material which came to light after its publication, including Médina’s (1985) study of Bally’s reliance on the work of Henri Bergson, who reconfigured the affective-conceptual dyad and whose writings are the source, Médina shows, of Bally’s use of ‘life’. This paper also adduces more recently published documents on Bally’s intellectual and professional relationship with Ferdinand de Saussure, which figures prominently in Taylor’s (1981) account, and which can now be reassessed in a new light.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-69
Number of pages10
JournalLanguage and Communication
Early online date24 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Charles Bally
  • stylistics
  • Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Henri Bergson
  • mind-body problem
  • theory of communication
  • history of linguistics


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