Style of language

The style of language in Jane McLaughlin’s short story “Trio for Four Voices” is formal. The narrative lacks contractions and slang, and the narrator uses many complicated words that are rarely used in everyday speech, such as “counterpoint” (l. 119), “phlegmatic” (l. 113), “demented” (l. 61).

The dialogue is also mostly formal. Amelia’s parents, for example, talk in an exaggeratedly formal way: “ ‘You will withdraw everything you said to my wife. You will never repeat such things again. You will apologise to my daughter, who is likely to be permanently damaged by your accusations.’ ” (ll. 122-123). Even the expression “good sport” (l. 143) is old-fashioned and not often used nowadays. While Amelia uses contractions, she also uses words in French, such as “papa” (l. 30) and “Espèce de con” (l. 14), and in Spanish, such as “pueblos blancos” (l. 30). This indicates that she is well-traveled.

In terms of choice of words, we notice many...

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