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  Sentence judgments and the grammar of poetry: Linking linguistic structure and poetic effect

Blohm, S., Wagner, V., Schlesewsky, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2018). Sentence judgments and the grammar of poetry: Linking linguistic structure and poetic effect. Poetics, 69, 41-56. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2018.04.005.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-1917-9 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-72CF-5
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Blohm, Stefan1, 2, Author              
Wagner, Valentin1, Author              
Schlesewsky, Matthias2, Author
Menninghaus, Winfried1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society, ou_2421695              
2external, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Poetry, Sentence judgments, Acceptability, Deviation, Parallelism, Processing fluency
 Abstract: The present article aims to show that the elicitation of intuitive literary-aesthetic sentence judgments taps into readers’ poetry-specific linguistic register, and how such judgment methods can be used to support and constrain future theory formation in experimental poetics. In two experiments, we examined effects of deviant and parallelistic linguistic features on readers’ grammatical and literary-aesthetic evaluation of single sentences. In Experiment 1, participants rated carefully selected and modified lines of German poetry for either acceptability or poeticity (n = 40 each) on a 7-point scale; original lines featured grammatical deviations that were absent in modified versions. All investigated deviation types reduced the acceptability of the lines, but only routine licenses of German poetry increased their perceived poeticity and showed moderate to strong correlations between poeticity and deviance (i.e., low acceptability). In Experiment 2, participants made forced acceptability (n = 120) or poeticity (n = 120) choices regarding two (out of four) syntactic variants of a single sentence; variants crossed syntactic canonicity (canonical/non-canonical) and sentence rhythm (alternating/non-alternating). Acceptability choices favored only canonical syntax; poeticity choices were sensitive to both variables, and favored non-canonical syntax and alternating sentence rhythms. Our results indicate that poeticity judgments reflect categorical and gradient genre-specific well-formedness (Exp. 1), and that poeticity criteria are similar for traditional verse and for regular sentences without salient genre cues (Exp. 2). The observed prosodic and grammatical preferences suggest that perceptual fluency and conceptual challenge are prototypical characteristics of poetry reading. We conclude that sentence judgments can reveal whether and to which degree specific features of linguistic structure contribute to poetic effects.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-04-232018-06-282018-08
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Degree: -

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Title: Poetics
Source Genre: Journal
 Creator(s):
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 69 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 41 - 56 Identifier: ISSN: 0304-422X