The expressive means of the language are studied respectively in manuals of phonetics, grammar, lexicology and stylistics. Stylistics, however, observes not only the nature of an expressive means, but also its potential capacity of becoming a stylistic device.
Stylistic device is a conscious and intentional literary use of some of the facts of the language including EM in which the most essential features both structural and semantic of the language forms are raised to a generalized level and thereby present a generative model. Most stylistic devices may be regarded as aiming at the further intensification in the corresponding EM.
Phonetic Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
The stylistic approach to the utterance is not confined to its structure and sense. There is another thing to be taken into account which in a certain type of communication plays an important role. This is the way a word, a phrase or a sentence sounds. The sound of most words taken separately will have little or no aesthetic value. It is in combination with other words that a word may acquire a desired phonetic effect. The way a separate word sounds may produce a certain euphonic effect, but this is a matter of individual perception and feeling and therefore subjective.
An example of onomatopoeia is: And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain» (E. A. Poe), where the repetition of the sound [s] actually produces the sound of the rustling of the curtain.
Lexical Expressive Means and Stylistic Devices
Words in a context may acquire additional lexical meanings not fixed in the dictionaries, what we have called contextual meanings. The latter may sometimes deviate from the dictionary meaning to such a degree that the new meaning even becomes the opposite of the primary meaning. What is known in linguistics as transferred meaning is practically the interrelation between two types of lexical meaning: dictionary and contextual. e. g. She is sly like a fox (simile).