Diction: Definition, Types, Functions, and Their Characteristics

Understanding Diction  – Diction is the choice of words in writing that are commonly used to describe a story or give meaning according to the wishes of the author.

diction is the right choice of words and is aligned and aims to make the reader understand the text in writing.

In every sentence writing, it always requires diction. The choice of words or diction is important for stringing words, suitability in sentences and giving expression to the author’s sentences.

Diction can determine the style of language in a piece of writing. Every sentence, paragraph and even discourse requires language style. The style of language formed by diction can shape honesty, politeness, the official level of writing and even the atmosphere.

To make it clearer, here are the definitions, types, functions, and characteristics of diction.

Definition of Diction

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), diction is the choice of words that are appropriate and aligned in their use. Diction is used by the writer to express an idea so as to get a certain effect, as expected by the writer.

From the definition of diction according to the KBBI, it can be understood that diction is the selection of appropriate words and is used to choose words so that they can express certain ideas.

In poetry, diction is used by poets to obtain certain meanings. So, diction is not only a choice of words but also used to describe a story and even give meaning. Diction also includes expressions and language styles.

This will help the interlocutor and the reader more easily understand the message Sinaumed’s is trying to convey. To achieve the goal of using this diction, the writer must be able to choose the right and common diction. Improper diction can cause different messages and meanings in writing.

In writing, diction is included in the discussion of aspects of words in poetry which include connotation, denotation, semantics, morphology and etymology. The most basic application of diction is the disclosure of the author’s ideas.

In addition, the use of proper diction can also be applied when speaking in public as well as various types of writing.

The accuracy of diction can be influenced by the ability of language users related to the ability to master, understand, know and use a number of vocabularies.

Definition of Diction According to Expert Opinion

In order to better understand the definition of diction, the following is the definition of diction according to experts.

1. Gorys Keraf

Keraf argues that diction is divided into two, namely the choice of words or about the meaning of words used to convey an idea, the right expression and the style of delivery that is better and in accordance with the situation.

Second, Keraf defines diction as an ability to accurately distinguish the nuances of meaning from the ideas conveyed.

Apart from that, diction can also be in the form of the ability to find a form that is in accordance with the values, situations that are owned by groups of listeners, readers and society.

2. Susilo Mansuruddin

Diction is word choice. According to Susilo Mansurudin, the use or selection of correct, precise and careful diction can help the writer in assigning value to a word.

The choice of diction that is the same age, in other words, will prevent misinterpretation or different interpretations from writer to reader.

3. Widyamartaya

Widyamartaya defines diction as a person’s ability to correctly distinguish a nuance of meaning according to the idea conveyed.

A person’s ability to distinguish these meanings, according to the situation and the sense of value possessed by community groups and listeners and readers.

4. Enre

Not so different from the opinions of other experts, Enre defines diction as the appropriate use of words to represent thoughts and treatments to be conveyed in certain sentence patterns.

If conclusions are drawn, it can be interpreted that diction is the choice of words that can determine the style of language to express the contents of the thoughts, ideas of the author so that there are no misinterpretations in writing.

Function and Purpose of Diction

In general, diction has the function of beautifying a sentence as in poetry or stories, good diction is used to tell a story coherently, explain characterizations, describe time and setting and so on.

Diction Function

Here are some other functions of diction in writing literary works.

1. Helping readers understand the message of a literary work
Choosing the right and good diction in writing a literary work can make it easier for readers to understand the message the author wants to convey through his writing.

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Messages are any notifications, communications or words conveyed either orally or in writing that are sent from one person to another. This message becomes the core of the communication process that is established.

2. Effective communication
Choosing diction in writing literary works can help make communication more effective. A good understanding of the use and selection of diction is very important in order to create an efficient and effective communication.

In practice, diction can lead to a correct idea as well as a misunderstanding for readers and listeners. Then this can have an impact on society.

3. As a form of expression
In accordance with its meaning, diction functions as a form of expression that is present in the author’s ideas which can be expressed in writing or orally.

The use of harmonious and appropriate diction can help build the imagination of readers and listeners when reading or listening to a literary work.

Expression is a term that refers to something to show one’s feelings. Expressing feelings, can not only be shown through facial expressions but also through words in writing or when someone speaks through the selection of the right diction.

4. Entertainment
Choosing the right diction can serve as entertainment for the reader. This relates to every message and expression outlined in a literary work.

Entertainment is anything in the form of words, places, objects or even behavior that can entertain listeners, viewers and readers. In general, entertainment can be in the form of games, music, opera, drama, videos, films or even literary works.

In addition to the four functions of diction above, several other functions of diction are preventing misunderstanding or interpretation, creating the right atmosphere, forming the right style of expressing ideas according to the atmosphere of the event such as formal, informal so that it will be enjoyable for the readers.

Diction Purpose

The purpose of using diction is to obtain beauty in order to increase expressivity. Of course, a word will more clearly express the idea of ​​writing if the word used is precise, accurate and appropriate. Diction is used to refine words or sentences to make them feel more beautiful.

Types of Diction

In general, diction is divided into two types, namely diction based on meaning and diction based on lexical. The following describes the two types of diction.

1. Diction Based on Meaning

Types of diction based on their meaning are divided into two types which include connotative meaning and denotative meaning.

According to Chaer, differences in diction are based on connotative and denotative meanings according to whether or not there is a sense of value in a word. In short, the denotative is general while the connotative is specific.

a. Denotative meaning
Denotative meaning diction is diction with the actual meaning of a sentence or a word. Denotative meaning can also be interpreted as an objective meaning without bringing a certain feeling or pure.

Diction with denotative meaning has several characteristics, including having a straightforward meaning, because it is literal in nature and is usually the result of observations from the five human senses such as smell, hearing, sight, feeling and even one’s physical experience.

Here are some examples of diction with denotative meanings.

  • Acne can be caused by sebum that accumulates on the face.
  • Giraffes have longer necks than other animals.
  • Bagus works hard to achieve his goals.

b. Connotative meaning
Types based on connotative meaning are dictions, words or sentences that have meanings that are not real. That is, the connotative meaning is a figurative meaning related to the value of taste.

Diction with a type of connotative meaning is usually influenced by the norms and values ​​held by certain communities.

Even so, the meaning of this diction will usually change along with changes in norms and values ​​that exist in society.

Here are some examples of diction with connotative meanings.

  • Many heroes have fallen on the battlefield. (Aborted in the sentence has a connotative meaning, namely died.)
  • Tasya is the golden child in class, because she is very well behaved and diligent. (The golden child in this sentence means the most beloved child.)
  • After graduating from college, Abdul chose to work as an ink coolie. (Ink coolies can be interpreted as writers or more specifically as journalists and not as real coolies.)

2. Lexical Based Diction

Diction based on lexical is divided into eight kinds. The following is an explanation of the various dictions based on lexical.

a. Synonyms Synonyms
are two or more words that have the same meaning between one word and another.

The use of synonymous diction aims to make what is written more suitable, in accordance with the expression the author wants to express.

For example, when the author wants to describe death with the word dead.

However, the word mutilated is a diction that expresses rude things. So that mutilation can be replaced by other words such as died, passed away, nothing or others that have a more subtle expression to describe death.

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b. Antonyms
Antonyms are the opposite of synonyms, which means the choice of words or dictions that have different or opposite meanings.

Some examples of antonyms such as high – low, small – large, up – down, sad – happy, thrifty – extravagant and so on.

c. Homonym Homonym
is the choice of words or diction that have the same spelling or pronunciation as a word, but have different meanings.

Some examples of homonyms are like the moon which has two meanings, namely the first as a satellite of the Earth and the second as a month time indicator.

d. Homophones
Homophones are words or dictions that have different meanings and spellings but the pronunciation is the same.

For example, words based on the lexical homophones bang and bank. Both have different meanings and spellings, but the pronunciation of the two words sounds similar.

e. Homograph
Homograph is the selection of words or diction that have different pronunciations and meanings but have the same spelling.

An example of a homograph is tofu. In sentences like, “He likes fried tofu,” and “He knows about the news.”

These two sentences have the same word, namely know, but the meaning is different.

In the first sentence, the word tofu means the name of the food, while in the second sentence the word tofu means to know something.

f. Polysemy Polysemy
is a diction or phrase that has more than one meaning.

Examples include interest in the sentence “A person who saves at the bank will get interest every month,” and the sentence “Dinda is the flower of the village that many men are after.”

In these two sentences, the word bungan has many and different meanings, in the first sentence the word flower can mean profit or plants, while in the second sentence the word flower can mean beauty or desire or even a poet.

g. Hypernym
Hypernym is a diction that represents many other words or includes the meaning of other words.

Examples of choosing words or diction based on lexical hypernyms are perfect which have good, extraordinary, good, and other meanings.

h. Hyponym
Hyponym is diction that can be represented by the word hypernym. An example of choosing words based on hyponyms is in the following sentence, ‘wild animals in the zoo include crocodiles, lions, deer, elephants, horses and others.’

In this sentence the word wild animal is a hypernym, while the word elephant, crocodile, lion and others are hyponym.

Diction features

According to the book Appreciation of Poetry (Theory and Application), it is explained that diction has the following characteristics.

  1. Diction is used as a choice of words to express ideas or things mandated by the author.
  2. Can be used to distinguish nuances of meaning with a form that is appropriate to the situation, ideas and values ​​the reader feels.
  3. Using the vocabulary obtained by the community, the language used can move or empower wealth into a clear word.

In addition to the three characteristics of the diction, there are several accuracy requirements that need to be considered. According to Gorys Keraf, the following are the requirements for accurate diction.

  1. Using the word connotation and denotation carefully in a piece of writing.
  2. Using synonyms or words that have the same or nearly the same meaning carefully in a piece of writing to express ideas.
  3. Can distinguish words that have similar spelling, but the same meaning.
  4. Using the verb in the preposition and must be idiomatic.
  5. Able to distinguish special and general words in writing such as speech, so that the accuracy of diction can be guaranteed.
  6. Pay attention to the selection of words or diction correctly on an ongoing basis in writing or speech.
  • In order to understand diction more clearly, here are some examples of the use of diction that Sinaumed’s needs to know.
  • Rendi had been the director’s right-hand man for the past few years.
    The right hand means a trusted person.
    Rudi prefers to drain his father’s dairy business after graduating from school.
    The word dairy cow has real meaning, meaning cattle raised for milk.
  • Before leaving for the morning assembly, Dina always makes time for breakfast with apples.
    In this sentence, the word apple has a different meaning. The first means ceremony and the second means fruit. Both are words that have the same spelling, pronunciation but different meanings.

That is the explanation of diction, namely choosing the right and appropriate words to express the atmosphere, style of language and ideas from the author so that there are no misinterpretations.

Now Sinaumed’s has understood that diction is the right choice of words to express thoughts or ideas.