A QUANTITATIVE METHOD OF CHARACTERISING PROSE STYLE (GYULA KRUDY'S THREE NOVELS AND TEN SHORT STORIES FROM 1913) (Prozastilus-jellemzes kvantitativ modszerrel)
The introductory section of this paper discusses the possibilities and limitations of the application of quantitative methods in stylistics. The author, backing up a dictum by Fonagy (1999), opines that statistical methods are indeed very appropriate tools in characterizing individual writers' styles. The core part of the paper compares three novels written in parallel by Gyula Krudy in the first months of 1913 'A pajzsos ember' (The Man with the Shield), 'Makviragok kertje' (A Bunch of Scamps), 'A voros postakocsi' (The Crimson Coach) and ten of his short stories, published in the same year, in terms of the length of the linguistic units (syllables, words, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs) making them up. The corpus consists of 54 120 running words (tokens). The results are summarised in tables, while the detailed data are given in the Appendix. On the basis of six characteristic measures (1. word length in syllables, 2. clause length in words, 3. sentence length in clauses, 4. sentence length in words, 5. paragraph length in sentences, 6. paragraph length in clauses), the author draws up the 'stylogram' of each of the four subcorpora (the three novels and the set of short stories). The figure shows that the hexagons illustrating the individual subcorpora are geometrically related as similars. The syntactic and textological analyses are complemented by those of the proportions of the three main parts of speech (adjectives, nouns, verbs) and of the frequency of linguistic figures. The proportions of adjectives vs. nouns, nouns vs. verbs, and adjectives vs. verbs, as well as that of the number linguistic figures vs. the number of clauses, are good indicators of the style of each subcorpus. The morals of the quantitative analysis based on a total of ten criteria are summarised as follows. Krudy reached a turning point in his writer's career in 1913, increasingly finding his real voice. (The author hypothesises that this turning point took place in 'The Crimson Coach' and especially in the short stories written subsequently.) That 'genuine' Krudy style is characterised by increasingly structured sentences and texts (growing proportion of clauses per sentence), increasingly saturated clauses and sentences (growing number of words in both), as well as an increasingly static and picturesque way of seeing things, and a growing number of linguistic figures.
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