Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Arts. Simon Gábor. Foundations of a cognitive poetic theory of rhyme - PDF

Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Arts ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS Simon Gábor Foundations of a cognitive poetic theory of rhyme Doctoral School of Linguistics Leader: Dr. Bárdosi Vilmos Csc, university professor

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Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Arts ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS Simon Gábor Foundations of a cognitive poetic theory of rhyme Doctoral School of Linguistics Leader: Dr. Bárdosi Vilmos Csc, university professor Doctoral Program of Hungarian Linguistics Leader: Dr. Kiss Jenő MHAS, university professor Members of the critical committee Chairman of the committee: Examiners: Secretary of the committee: Additional members: Dr. Szathmári István DSc, professor emeritus Dr. Tátrai Szilárd PhD, hab. senior lecturer Dr. Pethő József PhD, college professor Dr. Csontos Nóra PhD, senior lecturer Csekéné Dr. Jónás Erzsébet DSc, university professor Dr. habil Domonkosi Ágnes Phd, college professor Dr. Kulcsár-Szabó Zoltán PhD, university reader Supervisor: Dr. Tolcsvai Nagy Gábor CMHAS, iniversity professor Budapest, 2012 poetics. 1 From the perspective of cognitive poetics it becomes possible to explain the 1. Theme and structure of the thesis If one discusses the theoretical investigations about rhyme, one finding can be no doubt adoptable: everybody feels that rhymes do something important to words, and so little is known about what they do to them (Tsur 1996). Viewing from the central question of the present thesis this statement is a suitable starting point for it directs our attention to the fact, that no one of the previous rhyme theories can be regarded as a comprehensive explanation of rhyme: the approaches of metrics, poetics and literary studies in the 20 th century were not be able to form a holistic interpretation about the functioning of rhyme covering all the substantial aspects. This thesis does not strive for elaborating completely such a theory, but it makes every effort to establish it, approaching the phenomenon of end rhyme from the viewpoint of functional and cognitive linguistics and with the methodology of cognitive functioning of rhyme comprehensively, since from this theoretical starting point we can put the question concerning the mutual relationship between rhyme, meaning creation and sound in a new way. Since meaning is construed in accordance with the presuppositions of functional linguistic theory not as a mental object given a priori, but as the act of intersubjective interpretation of linguistic symbols, during which the main goal is forming accommodated conceptual representations (l. Tátrai 2011). The linguistics symbols function in the course of dynamic meaning creation, so they can be explained concerning this functionality, i.e. their semantic motivation. Thus the main question of cognitive poetics on rhyme is not whether rhyme plays an important role in the formation of the meaning of a text (since it is known for a long time), nor even how affects rhyme the meanings of the rhymewords (since meaning is not given a priori, isolated from the utterance). The central problem of the thesis can be wording as follows: how contributes the rhyme (as a structure functioning in the text) to the interpretation of the text, how initiates it the structuring of the mental representation of the text, how makes it (as a semantically motivated linguistic structure) the meaning of the text more complex, and how makes it the experience of the reception of lyric texts possible. This complex problem is relevant, because the foregrounding of semantic motivation is not results in disregarding the sound. The harmonization of sounds initiates the 1 The rhyme term refers int he Hungarian metrics primarily to the rhyming of the line ends, although the internal rhyme, the alliteration (stave-rhyme) and the rhyming prose are also known. The definition of Hungarian functional stylistics can be regarded as influential with reference to rhyme: harmonizing of sounds at the boundary of rhitmical parts: at their beginning or more frequently at their end (Szathmári 2004: 186). This thesis discusses only the end rhyme, without the examination of the application or the extension of the presented cognitive poetic theory to the other subtypes of rhyme. interpretation of rhyme as a semantic structure on the one hand, and on the other it symbolizes the joining of the components of rhyme in meaning creation. It is the semantic-conceptual and the phonological processing, or with a more generic term, the construal process, in which the rhyme becomes significant as a structure of both sound and meaning. So a cognitive poetic theory of rhyme can not only detail and tinge the previous findings, but also it can integrate the aspects of rhyme separated before. The goal of the thesis is to put the rhyme in the central of the attention not as a device of the poetic language, but as a symbolic structure of specific, nevertheless essentially human way of cognition, namely of literature (cf. Gadamer 2003: 190). In harmony with the linguistic theoretical background assumptions of the research the structure of the thesis is organized along a theoretical and a methodological principle. The train of thought is structured first by the principle of semantic motivation. Since the most important starting point of a functional linguistic theory of rhyme is that it regards rhyme as such a poetic structure which initiates meaning, consequently it consider motivated both the relation of rhyming words within the rhyme and their connection system within the text in the course of dynamic meaning creation. The aim of chapter 2 is to detail the relationship of formal and functional approach to rhyme, on the on hand in accordance with the linguistic theory of rhyme presented in the thesis (i.e. along its linguistic theoretical background assumptions), and on the basis of the findings of certain schools of literary studies and poetics in the 20 th century on the other hand (i.e. in the historical dimension of the concept of rhyme). In this regard the explanation is linked directly to the central problem of the thesis, to the need of a rhyme theory in linguistics, as it shows that the discourse about the rhyme in literary studies in the 20 th century have not elaborated the comprehensive explanation of rhyme, considerably because it have not join the aspect of meaning to the aspect of sound from a consequently adopted linguistic theoretical perspective. The structure of the thesis is specified on the other hand by the discourse of the perspectives of linguistic disciplines. The train of thought presented here is starting from the idea that the aspects of rhyme can be modelled in one unified and complex model, applying consequently the functional linguistic presuppositions and the approach of cognitive linguistics, as well as harmonizing the research domains being separated traditionally. In this approach the distinguishable but not rigidly separable fields of linguistic description are integrated partly on the basis of the common presuppositions, partly by the methodological and terminological harmonization of the explanations, foregrounding one or another phenomenon. So the goal of the chapters is not to show in a mosaic-like manner the diversity of rhyme, but to direct the attention to the specific function of rhyme: initiating such processes, which develop in joining, supporting each other during the process of interpretation. Since in the explanation of linguistic structures in consequence of the functional linguistic presuppositions it is the meaning which becomes significant, the subtle definition of theoretical vantage points is also required, in addition to their linking, for the remarkable complexity of the semantic motivation of rhyme can be showed with great subtlety. The distinction of scientific perspectives becomes possible in the thesis by the separated discussion of the sub-processes and aspects of meaning creation: thus pragmatics direct the attention to the contextual surroundings of dynamic meaning formation, semantics foreground the knowledge about linguistic structures as schemas, as well as the procedural dimension of the realization of these schemas, text linguistics focus on the questions of the coherent representation of the text s meaning, phonology discusses the organization of the phonological pole of linguistic symbols, in relation the structure of semantic pole, while stylistics demonstrate the meaning creating function of verbal structures through the phenomenon of foregrounding. The analysis of meaning creation begins with the investigation of the pragmatic motivation of rhyme in chapter 3, in which I approach the meaning initiative role of rhyme from a functional cognitive pragmatic point of view: the rhyme is discussed as a structure being processed in the direction of attention and in the referential interpretation, within the frame of discourse conceived as a joint attentional scene. The significance of the chapter comes from the introduction of the concept of scaffolding: I apply the term connecting with the traditional interpretation of the notion elaborated in social psychology and language acquisition theory to the function by which the rhyme contribute to the interpretation of the utterance, that is to the conceptual elaboration of the referential scene, as well as to the formation of the text world and to wander it repeatedly. The analyses from the pragmatic perspective can demonstrate the motivatedness of the meaning of rhyme. But the explanatory potential of the notion of scaffolding is not limited only to pragmatic questions, since it is applicable productively by the discussion of other aspects of rhyme. To such an extent that it can become a concept of central significance in the functional cognitive theory of rhyme: all phenomena assigned traditionally to rhyme (e.g. the harmonization of sounds, the approach of meanings and the prominence of the rhyming words in the text) becomes analyzable as scaffolding process, namely as such processes, by which the rhyme contributes to the reception and interpretation of the text. Consequently we can investigate the textual, the semantic, the phonological and the stylistic scaffolding processes the further chapters of the thesis discuss these processes in details. Chapter 4 approaches the formation of rhyme-meaning from the coherence relationships of the text, considering that for the language user the meaning creating function of rhyme is entrenched in and abstracted from the interpretative experiences of rhyming texts. That is the primary environment of the functioning of rhyme is the text. I relate the meaning connection of the rhyming words with the model of coherent mental representation of the text in Givón (2008), and explain it with more subtlety by the results of Van Hoek (1997, 2003, 2007), which makes the interpretation of rhyme as anaphoric grounding structure possible. The indirect anaphoric relationship demonstrated from textual linguistic perspective is detailed in chapter 5, from the cognitive semantic point of view, which aims at the basic structural and procedural modelling of relations analysed previously in the holistic environment of the text. The chapter discusses the fundamentals of the anaphoric semantic structure of rhyme, so it elaborates further the textual semantic approach from the theoretical and methodological vantage point of cognitive semantics. The analysis of rhyme as sound structure is discussed relatively late in the thesis, after the multi-perspectival semantic investigation. This follows from the foregrounding of the semantic motivatedness, which determines the relationship between phonological and semantic scaffolding. Chapter 6 attempts the phonological modelling of Hungarian rhyme, investigating the scaffolding function of rhyme from the theoretical viewpoint of cognitive phonology. Chapter 7 discusses again the semantic motivation of rhyme, although not from the connection of rhyming words, but from the semantic character of rhyme position, returning to the textual functioning of rhyme. The theoretical vantage point of the corpus researches demonstrated in the chapter is the theory of lexical priming, but it is adopted specifically, being accommodated to the perspective of cognitive poetics, and on the other hand this lexical priming theory is linked with the findings of cognitive semantics. Thus the investigations on priming apply and integrate the most important theoretical and methodological presuppositions of corpus linguistics to the cognitive poetic theory of rhyme. The stylistic aspects of rhyme are discussed in chapter 8, putting the stylistic potential, the process of style attribution and the formation of identity in the central of attention. The precondition of the stylistic characterisation of rhyme is the distinction of semantic and stylistic investigation: while the former examines the conceptual structures foregrounded by the linguistic structures, the later makes the foregrounding of the linguistic structure analysable, on the basis of comparing it to other linguistic structures. The stylistic issue of rhyme is that what structural and procedural factors make the foregrounding of the rhyme possible in the style creation, as well as what functions has the rhyme as stylistic device in meaning creation. In connection with the later problem also the style definition of social constructivist sociolinguistics and the sociolinguistic model of identity formation can be brought in the research. I demonstrate the explanatory potential of the stylistic model of rhyme through the detailed analysis of a Hungarian slam poem. This analysis also demonstrates the interpretative efficacy of the cognitive poetic theory of rhyme elaborated in the thesis. The thesis is finished by a conclusion, which draws some lessons of a linguistic theory of rhyme, summarizes the results of the research, and reflects on the general potential of the cognitive poetic investigation of linguistic structures, from the perspectives of rhyme, language and poetics as well, proposing a general definition of the notion of poeticity. 2. The abstract of the thesis According to the above the most important findings and statements of the thesis are as follows. 1. The most important statement of the thesis is that the organization of rhyme can be discussed primarily from its semantic structure, in other words the formulation of a rhyme is motivated by the semantic connection of the rhyming words. This principle does not deny the rhythmical and sound-function of rhyme, nor the significance of its phonological prominence, but these are not the main functions of rhyme. In the cognitive poetic theory of rhyme the phonological harmonization and the development of semantic connection are in symbolic relationship, these are the structural and procedural characteristics of the phonological and semantic pole of the rhyme as a symbolic structure. 2. The rhyming organization of the words in a text can not be derivable from the realization of rhythmical division and sound structure, and it can not be regarded as a result of these processes, since the organization of rhyme develops in the semantic and phonological construal process of the whole text. Consequently the main characteristic of the good rhyme is not the appropriate organization of one or another pole (that is, the development of a good sound-harmonization or a coherent rhyme-meaning), but the common development of the construal processes in both pole. In this later case the similar sound structure marks iconically the connection of the semantic structures, and the developing rhyme-meaning makes the rhyme (the sound-harmonization) motivated in the direction of the attention, in the conceptual elaboration of the referential scene and in a coherent conceptual representation. 3. From the perspective of the speaker the semantic motivation becomes significant in the process of selection from the numerous potential rhyme variations. In the course of construal a rhyming text the speaker makes a proposal about the conceptualization of the scene observed jointly, thus the formation of the appropriate rhyme that is the selection of the best variation from the possible ones can be explained in this complex process. 4. From the perspective of the recipient the semantic motivation stands out during the interpretation. The general purpose of the linguistic activity is to create intersubjective meanings, accordingly the process of linguistic symbols results in meaning. Thus the process of the phonological and the semantic pole happen parallel, with a strong relation between them, and the recipient attributes meaning to any linguistic structure because of their intentional nature conceived as their directionality to the observed scene and to the joint cognition of it. For this reason the functioning of rhyme can not be made independent from the processes of developing and forming the meaning of the text. 5. The semantic motivation of the rhyme gains its significance during the joint conceptual representation of the referential scene. Functioning as a scaffold it is instrumental in the conceptualization: it directs the attention of the conceptualizer by the backward process of phonological structure (i.e. by the elaboration of the schematic phonological substructure of rhymelikeness), as well as it preserves the activation degree of the conceptual representations (utilizing the capacity of the working memory), and it increases the coherence of the mental representation of the text as an indirect anaphoric semantic structure. 6. On the other hand the rhyme makes the developing conceptual organization more complex: it initiates such conceptual integrations as conceptual backgrounds, which motivate the connection of the rhyming semantic structures as reference point configurations, i.e. their frame based grounding. It is a non canonical anaphoric structure which is established as a result. It increases not only the coherence of the mental representation of the text, but also its referential density and complexity. 7. The rhyme scaffolds not only the reception and interpretation of the text, but the lyric experience as a specific way of cognition. To realize this twofold functioning of rhyme is the most important result of the cognitive poetic research. 8. The rhyme direct the recipient also in the creation of the utterance s cultural context, which makes it suitable for contributing in the processes of the creation of cultural identity. 9. On the grounds of the cognitive poetic investigation of rhyme as a structure of figurative language the notion of poeticity can be defined schematically as the non conventional, non canonical usage of linguistic structures in order to move away from the habitual relations of the everyday cognition, or to multiply it discursively. The notion of poeticity can be based primarily on the scaffolding functioning of poetic structures, which contributes as a general pragmatic function to provide a coherent mental representation of the text in the one hand (demonstrating the general linguistic nature of poetic structures), but on the other it makes such a complex and concentrated representation of the referential scene possible, which goes beyond the everyday sharing of meanings and the joint construal. Thus both pragmatic and poetic scaffolding is typical of the poetic usage of linguistic symbols, during which the conceptualizers can not only share the conceptualizations about the world, but also they can poeticize them, moving away from the everyday world. 3. The significance and the novelty of the investigated subject, the motives of the research The previous explanations of the Hungarian rhyme (Horváth 2004: 596, Szepes Szerdahelyi 1981: 80, Szepes 1989: 740) apply formal linguistic presuppositions, they approach rhyme from a rhetoric point of view, i.e. as a component of a poetic structure peculiar to the poetic use of language. Thus the main problem of these approaches is not to disregard meaning, nor even the atomistic analysis of rhyme, taking it out from the relation system of the t
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