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Emotional effects of poetic phonology, word positioning and dominant stress peaks in poetry reading

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Kraxenberger,  Maria
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Menninghaus,  Winfried
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kraxenberger, M., & Menninghaus, W. (2016). Emotional effects of poetic phonology, word positioning and dominant stress peaks in poetry reading. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 298-313. doi:10.1075/ssol.6.2.06kra.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-E011-8
Abstract
This study tested the hypothesis that features of linguistically non-mandatory phonological recurrence (rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and consonance), parameters of word positioning (position within a line and line position) and dominant stress peaks are related to readers’ identification of distinctively joyful and sad words in poetry. To this end, forty-eight participants read eight German poems, completed an underlining task, and filled out a brief questionnaire. Results show that these target features are clearly of importance for readers’ perception of pronounced levels of joy and sadness. Words featuring alliteration, assonance or consonance were significantly more often underlined as distinctively joyful than were words that lack these features. Our study shows also that words that feature a dominant stress peak and are placed in more advanced positions within the poems were more likely to be identified as emotional (distinctively joyful and sad) when compared to words in earlier and unstressed positions.