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The emotional and aesthetic powers of parallelistic diction

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

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Wagner,  Valentin
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Wassiliwizky,  Eugen
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Knoop,  Christine A.
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Wassiliwizky, E., Jacobsen, T., & Knoop, C. A. (2017). The emotional and aesthetic powers of parallelistic diction. Poetics, 63, 47-59. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2016.12.001.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-D9A3-3
Abstract
Parallelistic features of poetic and rhetorical language use comprise a great variety of linguistically optional patterns of phonological, prosodic, syntactic, and semantic recurrence. Going beyond studies on cognitive facilitation effects of individual parallelistic features (most notably rhyme, alliteration, and meter), the present study shows that the joint employment of multiple such features in 40 sad and joyful poems intensifies all emotional response dimensions (joy, sadness, being moved, intensity, and positive affect) and all aesthetic appreciation dimensions (beauty, liking, and melodiousness) that we measured. Given that parallelistic diction is also used, to different degrees, in ritual language, commercial ads, political slogans, and everyday conversations, the implications of these findings are potentially far-reaching.