4. Preliminaries to the experimental investigation of style in language.
This paper attempts to specify the notion of language style in a manner that will allow experimental investigation of it as a functional part of the communication process. Such specification is approached through the discussion of four questions: (1) What sort of evidence do we have that style is a regular and discernable part of language behavior? (2) What elements of language may consistently co-vary in externally defined sub-populations of language behavior, and may thus be candidates for markers of stylistic variation? (ə) What sorts of externally defined sub-populations of the total language corpus appear to be consistently distinguished by stylistic variation? (4) What role might style play in the communication process?