Welcome back! In the above video, we can see the long journey the English language has taken to its contemporary usage in American Literature. For the linguists and English majors, language can often take a more formal context, and though, this linguistic foundation can be very helpful in determining one’s own literary language, syntax preferences, cadence grooves and general voice, formal linguistics has its limitations in creative writing. When writing fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and hybrid works, language is malleable. It is one of the writer’s most important tasks to find his or her own unique balance of language aesthetics, whether or not they follow the conventional linguistic rules.

At this point in your general English and writing education—secondary and undergraduate—you will have had enough training to know the basic linguistic rules of good writing; however, these rules will have formulated a number of formal habits and conventions that you will want to question as you write creatively. Review the below literary terms, vehicles and rhetorical devices and consider how you might further employ them in your own writing.


Literary Terms & Techniques for Building Language

Techniques such as alliteration, asyndeton, onomonotopeia and polysyndeton can give your textual language an artistic and three-dimensional experience that elevates the narrative from merely functional and informative to multi-layered in meaning as well as entertaining. Below are a list of literary terms and techniques, including a few with mini-lessons for your exploration.

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