Language

Style of language

Anne Frank wrote her diary in Dutch, and in 1952 the publishing house Doubleday publishes the English edition. Although Anne Frank kept the diary between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, the language style she used is anything but childish and simple. The young author, who wanted to become a writer after the war, uses complex sentence structure, employs an extremely extensive vocabulary for her age, and uses numerous stylistic devices. Since the diary deals mainly with her thoughts and feelings, it is also characterized by emotional language that uses numerous raw descriptions.

Paratactic and hypotactic sentence structure

The hypotactic sentence structure predominates in Anne Frank`s diary. This is a structure in which the main clause is accompanied by one or more subordinate clauses. This makes her descriptions of the secret annex seem extremely lively. Nevertheless, individual sections are also characterized by a paratactic sentence structure, which is a stringing together of main clauses. Anne`s style thereby seems varied resulting in a flowing reading melody.

When Anne talks about her complex inner emotional world, she almost always uses a web of multiple subordinate clauses that illustrates the connections between her various trains of thought: 

Oh well. So much comes into my head at night [main clause] when I’m alone [subordinate clause], or during the day when I’m obliged to put up with people [subordinate clause] I can’t abide or who invariably misinterpret my intentions [subordinate clause]. That’s why I always wind up coming back to my diary—I start there and end there because Kitty’s always patient. (42%).

The hypotactic sentence structure ensures that the contexts are presented in their necessary complexity. It is not surprising that hypotactic sentence structure predominates in Anne's diary, since in it she expresses mainly her thoughts and feelings. But she also often describes people and cu...

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