Literary linguistics assumes the forms of literature emerge from the human capacity for language. In this view, the regularities and peculiarities of literary form can be captured by the machinery of linguistic theory. This paper argues against this assumption, considering evidence from literary forms that do not generalise to the formalisms of linguistic theory. Instead, we argue that literary forms are related to, but distinct from, the linguistic system, and that their diversity requires a clear-cut distinction between the different domains. To understand how literary forms may require specific systems, we first discuss a number of mismatches between metrical and linguistic form (here, mainly phonological and semantic form). In our proposal, they all constitute evidence for the domain specificity of meter. Following Fabb & Halle (2008), we then show that metricality is best captured by form-specific computations, rather than by regular phonological processes. The empirical advantages of this theory are finally shown by the scansion of loose meters, which the extra-linguistic metrical system explain in a way that strictly phonological systems cannot (Fabb 2008). We then consider whether syntax may be given a similar explanation. The syntax of poetic texts can be highly unusual, often contrived to meet the demands of formal characteristics like metricality or parallelism. As with meter, these literary forms are often analysed as products of a `poetic syntax' (Fowler 1966; Austin 1984; Fitzgerald 2007), a variation on the standard syntax; however, we show that these systems cannot generate the variety of syntactic forms found in literary texts. Instead we demonstrate that these forms are generated by a separate mental system which obeys general principles of mental computation. This system is shown to be removed from syntax just like the metrical system is removed from phonology. To conclude, we consider the possible relationship between these two extralinguistic mental systems. The evidence discussed provides a clear indication that literary linguistics need not assume that the forms of literature are a natural outgrowth of linguistic systems. The variety of forms in literature indicate an ontologically radical theory of how the mind processes literature has significant advantages, both empirically, in accounting for a greater range of forms, and theoretically, in opening the way towards a more coherent theory of literary form. We finally propose that a theory of literary cognition must develop into a modular approach to forms. References Austin, T., 1984. "Language crafted: a linguistic theory of poetic syntax." Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Fabb, N., 2008. "What is a line of verse?." Paper delivered at ESSE 2008, Aarhus. Fabb, N., M. Halle, 2008. "Meter in poetry: a new theory". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fitzgerald, C., 2007. "An optimality treatment of syntactic inversions in English verse", Language Sciences Vol. 29, pp. 203-217. Fowler, R., 1966. "Essays on style and language: linguistic and critical approaches to literary style". London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Hanson, Kristin & Paul Kiparsky. 1996. "A parametric theory of poetic meter", Language 72, 2: 287-335. Hayes Bruce. 1989. "The Prosodic Hierarchy in Meter". In Paul Kiparsky and Gilbert Youmans, eds., Rhythm and Meter, Orlando, FL: Academic Press, pp. 201-260. Hayes, Bruce. 2000. "Faithfulness and Componentiality in Metrics". To appear in The nature of the word: Essays in honor of Paul Kiparsky, ed. by Kristin Hanson and Sharon Inkelas. Cambridge: MIT Press. Nespor, M., I. Vogel. 1986 "Prosodic Phonology". Dordrecht, Foris.

How Does the Mind Do Literary Work? / G. Thoms, S. Versace. ((Intervento presentato al 1. convegno Bi-Directional Perspectives in the Cognitive Sciences tenutosi a Marburg nel 2009.

How Does the Mind Do Literary Work?

S. Versace
Ultimo
2009

Abstract

Literary linguistics assumes the forms of literature emerge from the human capacity for language. In this view, the regularities and peculiarities of literary form can be captured by the machinery of linguistic theory. This paper argues against this assumption, considering evidence from literary forms that do not generalise to the formalisms of linguistic theory. Instead, we argue that literary forms are related to, but distinct from, the linguistic system, and that their diversity requires a clear-cut distinction between the different domains. To understand how literary forms may require specific systems, we first discuss a number of mismatches between metrical and linguistic form (here, mainly phonological and semantic form). In our proposal, they all constitute evidence for the domain specificity of meter. Following Fabb & Halle (2008), we then show that metricality is best captured by form-specific computations, rather than by regular phonological processes. The empirical advantages of this theory are finally shown by the scansion of loose meters, which the extra-linguistic metrical system explain in a way that strictly phonological systems cannot (Fabb 2008). We then consider whether syntax may be given a similar explanation. The syntax of poetic texts can be highly unusual, often contrived to meet the demands of formal characteristics like metricality or parallelism. As with meter, these literary forms are often analysed as products of a `poetic syntax' (Fowler 1966; Austin 1984; Fitzgerald 2007), a variation on the standard syntax; however, we show that these systems cannot generate the variety of syntactic forms found in literary texts. Instead we demonstrate that these forms are generated by a separate mental system which obeys general principles of mental computation. This system is shown to be removed from syntax just like the metrical system is removed from phonology. To conclude, we consider the possible relationship between these two extralinguistic mental systems. The evidence discussed provides a clear indication that literary linguistics need not assume that the forms of literature are a natural outgrowth of linguistic systems. The variety of forms in literature indicate an ontologically radical theory of how the mind processes literature has significant advantages, both empirically, in accounting for a greater range of forms, and theoretically, in opening the way towards a more coherent theory of literary form. We finally propose that a theory of literary cognition must develop into a modular approach to forms. References Austin, T., 1984. "Language crafted: a linguistic theory of poetic syntax." Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Fabb, N., 2008. "What is a line of verse?." Paper delivered at ESSE 2008, Aarhus. Fabb, N., M. Halle, 2008. "Meter in poetry: a new theory". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fitzgerald, C., 2007. "An optimality treatment of syntactic inversions in English verse", Language Sciences Vol. 29, pp. 203-217. Fowler, R., 1966. "Essays on style and language: linguistic and critical approaches to literary style". London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Hanson, Kristin & Paul Kiparsky. 1996. "A parametric theory of poetic meter", Language 72, 2: 287-335. Hayes Bruce. 1989. "The Prosodic Hierarchy in Meter". In Paul Kiparsky and Gilbert Youmans, eds., Rhythm and Meter, Orlando, FL: Academic Press, pp. 201-260. Hayes, Bruce. 2000. "Faithfulness and Componentiality in Metrics". To appear in The nature of the word: Essays in honor of Paul Kiparsky, ed. by Kristin Hanson and Sharon Inkelas. Cambridge: MIT Press. Nespor, M., I. Vogel. 1986 "Prosodic Phonology". Dordrecht, Foris.
domain specificity ; meter ; syntax ; poetic grammar ; modular approach
Humboldt Universitaet Berlin
Philipps Universitaet Marburg
How Does the Mind Do Literary Work? / G. Thoms, S. Versace. ((Intervento presentato al 1. convegno Bi-Directional Perspectives in the Cognitive Sciences tenutosi a Marburg nel 2009.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/64061
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