The Aesthetic Use of Language


Aesthetic language is used as an artistic medium. The emphasis here is on the senses, and the importance of imagery and sound. The language is sensuous to help the reader experience what is being described as if they were there.


The writer intends to:

  • Give the reader enjoyment
  • Communicate meaning
  • Use language as a means of artistic expression
  • Emphasise the beauty of language


This kind of writing is aimed at an audience that reads for pleasure and is open to emotional engagement with new experiences.


Aesthetic language can be found in almost all genres, but especially in:’

  • Poetry
  • Descriptive passages in narratives
  • Character creation

Language can be subjective or objective, emotive or factual. If we say that a tree in our garden is ‘a silver birch, 12 years old and 13 metres in height’ we are making an objective statement that can be proved to be either true or false. On the other hand, if we say that the tree is ‘a lovely tree that adds a pleasing variety to the garden’s greenery’ we are expressing how we feel about it. Another person may feel quite differently about the same tree.

Aesthetic language is noted for the importance of its shape and sound. Assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia and other forms of rhyme are frequently encountered in aesthetic texts.

Figurative language is also a feature of aesthetic texts. Similes, metaphors and symbols are important features of artistic language.

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