Diction (Latin: dictionem (nom. dictio) "a saying, expression, word"),[1] in its original, primary meaning, refers to the writer's or the speaker's distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression in a poem or story.[2] A secondary, common meaning of "diction" is more precisely expressed with the word enunciation—the art of speaking clearly so that each word is clearly heard and understood to its fullest complexity and extremity. This secondary sense concerns pronunciation and tone, rather than word choice and style.

Diction has multiple concerns; register—words being either formal or informal in social context—is foremost. Literary diction analysis reveals how a passage establishes tone and characterization, e.g. a preponderance of verbs relating physical movement suggests an active character, while a preponderance of verbs relating states of mind portrays an introspective character. Diction also has an impact upon word choice and syntax.

Diction comprises eight elements: Phoneme, Syllable, Conjunction, Connective, Noun, Verb, Inflection, and Utterance.

In Literature

Diction is understood to be the distinctive magic tone or tenor of an author’s writings that becomes immediately synonymous with his/ her name. Diction is usually judged with reference to the prevailing standards of proper writing and speech and is seen as the mark of quality of the writing. It is also understood as the selection of certain words or phrases that become peculiar to a writer. Example: Certain writers in the modern day and age use archaic terms such as ‘thy’, ‘thee’ and ‘wherefore’ to imbue a Shakespearean mood to their work.



See also