The main difference between ordinary language and literary language is that ordinary language is the most common, everyday usage of the language among people while literary language is the figurative form of language that is often used in literature.
Language is the best creation of humanity to communicate with each other. Over time, this communicative tool has evolved into numerous languages around the world, with varied usage forms even within a single language. Both ordinary language and literary language are two forms of language usage. Therefore, almost every language consists of these two forms of usage.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Ordinary Language
– Definition, Features, Usage, Examples
2. What is Literary Language
– Definition, Features, Usage, Examples
3. What is the Difference Between Ordinary Language and Literary Language
-Comparison of Key Differences
Figurative Speech, Language, Literary Language, Ordinary Language, Poetic Language
What is Ordinary Language
Ordinary language is the general everyday usage of a particular language. It thus consists of common phrases and vocabulary, which makes it comprehensible to everyone. In other words, ordinary language refers to the language used by the general public on a daily basis. It also has subcategories such as formal usage, informal usage etc.
This form of language also differs from literary language in the grammar rules, syntax, vocabulary, and expressions.
For example; See the sentence structure or the syntax of this literary phrase taken from Sonnet 76 by William Shakespeare
‘Why with the time do I not glance aside’
This is grammatically incorrect and incomprehensible in ordinary language. Nevertheless, it is accepted correct and much comprehensive in the literary language.
On the contrary, see the syntax of the ordinary language taken from a daily news bulleting;
“The joint statement signed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim contains polite diplomatic platitudes but is otherwise largely empty.”
Moreover, it’s best to use this type of language in everyday contexts, and not the literary form of language, since this language does not create comprehension barriers during communication.
What is Literary Language
Given that literary Language is the language primarily used in the literature, this form of figurative language consists of literary aspects of a language such as various figures of speech, rhythm, etc
This language is mostly found in poems, novels, oral narratives, songs, and other literary texts. This form of language is different from ordinary language. Literary language differs from ordinary language in its lexicon, phonology and syntax, and may also present distinctive interpretive difficulties.
“Why is my verse so barren of new pride?
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?” – Sonnet 76 by William Shakespeare
At a glance, this form of language is difficult for the ordinary man who does not know the literary techniques and the particular syntax, to understand the meaning conveyed through this. Therefore, aspects like figures of speech, rhyme, connotation, literary techniques become essential parts of the literary language.
Furthermore, this kind of language can be defined as the most elevated form of a particular language. The terms such as poetic language, figurative language are synonyms for this form of language.
Difference Between Ordinary Language and Literary Language
Ordinary language is the most common language form used among the public whereas literary language is the elegant and figurative form of language often used in literature.
Ordinary language is used on a daily basis among public while literary language is used only in a literary context.
Ordinary language uses the formal standard syntax. However, the syntax of literary language may vary according to the writer’s style and the literary techniques used to enhance the figurative quality.
Language usage differs according to varied contexts. Ordinary language and literary language are two such main branches of language usage forms. Ordinary language is the most common, everyday use of language while literary language is the figurative form of language that is often used in literature. The context of usage is the main difference between ordinary language and literary language.
1.“Literary Language.” Quizlet, Available here.
2. “Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” SparkNotes, SparkNotes, Available here.
3. “William ShakespeareSonnets .” The Old Globe Theater History and Timeline, Available here.