What Is Literary Linguistics

“Literary linguistics” discusses the application of linguistic theory to literary studies. The debate over whether or not to carry out studies using linguistic parameters of literary texts was answered by linguistic experts at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Style in 1958. The enthusiasm of this linguistic expert reached its peak at the publication of a collection of papers at the conference as a result of Editing by TA Sebeok with the title Style in Language (Cambridge, first published 1960). 

In that book, Roman Jakobson said that for the first time there was a section of the conference which linked linguistics and poetry, namely that a study of poetry was accepted as an integral part of linguistics and as a task related to it. The focus of literary linguistics itself lies in the use of language and language style of a literary text. This study aims to examine specific aspects of the use of language in literary texts, such as the use of phonological aspects (matrix, rhyme, and rhythm), morphology, syntax, diction, use of concrete words and figurative language (figure of speech), or word assessment ( imagery ). (in Sebeok, 1971).

There are two main objectives of language theory which relate to the special characteristics of literary texts. The first objective is to model cognitive processes in the form of verbal behavior. Literary linguistics adapts this purpose to the question of whether literature involves any special cognitive processes. The second objective is to explain how language forms can be used to communicate meaning. Literary linguistics for this purpose questions how the distinctive characteristics of literary communication can be understood in terms of a general theory of language communication.

Language and literary cognition

Verbal behavior is orderly: we can make predictions and generalizations about it. Order is “generated” rules. Some of the rules are cognitive, in the sense that they represent a special cognitive system that underlies behavior. Another rule is culture or convention, in the sense that people acquire and use it as part of their common knowledge; it has no special cognitive status. In language, generative rules of grammar present cognitive rules, whereas prescriptive traditional rules of grammar represent cultural rules or conventions.

Literary texts have the same regularity as verbal behavior in general, but they also have special regularities that can be described by literary rules, such as meter rules, parallelism, narrative form, rhyme and alliteration, and so on. What is interesting in this regard is the question of “whether literary rules are cognitive rules or cultural rules / conventions (or both are used simultaneously)”. Since literary linguistics is concerned with cognition, the central question is whether any literary rule represents a specific cognitive process or not? If this is the case, our next step should be to ask: what is the link between cognitive processes and cognitive processes of language in general? On the one hand, there is a general resemblance between the rules of literature and language. For example, metric rules are part of the cognitive subcomponent by phonological rules. On the other hand, are the rules of literature related to the rules of language?

As an example, of the issues involved, we should consider the manner in which Irish alliteration operates, showing both where a specific cognitive process operates and where these processes are related to the language process. The Irish words ” white “, ” cow “, and ” great ” have  bán ,  , and mór   as their respective forms to a basic degree, but are pronounced like  mbán, βó, and mór. as surface shapes (Basic level and surface shapes are related to language rules). In Irish poetry, alliteration relates to words starting with a consonant, the alliteration of words in the first and second words is the same and the third does not. This shows that what underlies the presentation of words is determined by the alliteration rule, and not the surface appearance (Malone, 1988). The fact that alliteration is related to the “hidden” aspect of the linguistic form, regardless of the effect of the phonological rules, suggests that alliteration rules must be cognitive rules since they can interrelate with cognitive rules.

Language and Literature Communication

One of the main problems of formal linguistics is how to explain the form of language in relation to meaning. Linguists recognize these as two distinct problems. The first problem is how to relate phonological forms to logical forms. Logical form is the product of phonological and syntactic processes — as accessible representations of interpretive rules. For example, the logical form would identify words used in conversation, matching expressions, and grammatical relationships (subject, predicate, object, etc.).

The second problem is explaining how in communication a logical form is used to determine what information is behind the speaker’s speech? The first problem is in the realm of syntax (and maybe in the realm of semantics), and it is certainly not relevant to the study of literary texts, because literary texts are likely to be like other types of text when they are derived from logical to phonological forms. The second problem lies in the pragmatic realm and is very relevant to the study of literary texts because literary texts have the characteristics of unusual interpretations and have indirect, graded, and indeterminate interpretations. In addition, the metaphorical and irony aspects that are often used in various literary texts are related to the types of indirect interpretation, ambiguity, and unspoken characteristics. This is an example of a situation that cannot be ascertained and gives rise to various interpretations. Therefore, literary linguistics must question the problem of interpretation in literary texts: do the characteristics of interpretation in literary texts involve cognitive theory mechanisms that are different from cognitive mechanisms in non-literary text interpretation?

Features of a Literary Text

Literary text is a vehicle in which we can find various rules regarding dimensions, parallelism, narrative structure, and so on. In this respect, the fact that texts which typically have such rules are called “literature” is irrelevant, since we are talking about rules and not the type of text in which the rules occur.

Language in literary works is a special use of language. The characteristics and existence of this special literary language are due to the language patterns that are used specifically as a basic material. Therefore, literary texts have a special status as a verbal art, where language as the core of human semiotics is a meaningful activity in its communication (Cumming and Simons, 1986: vii).

The patterning of language in literary texts implies that the use of literary language must be considered as a separate discourse, namely literary discourse, which can be understood with the correct understanding and conception of language. Its use must be distinguished from the use of everyday language in general, the use of language in the mass media (both visual and auditory), scientific books, legislation or regulations, in official or non-official speeches (Teeuw, 1983: 1 ).

The problem of language differences in literary and non-literary texts actually lies in the characteristics of literary language which are not always consistent . This means that there is a language in a non-literary text that is characterized by literary language, and conversely, there is a literary language that is characterized by a non-literary language. Even the characteristics of the language of poetry with other literary works, such as prose and drama, overlapping ( overlapping ).

 The difference between literary text and everyday language can also be explained by the existence of two systems in literary language. The first system, namely the primary system, is a system related to natural language (everyday language). Second, the secondary system, namely the literary language coding system itself which is developed based on the primary system. This primary system can be explained as a linear relationship while the secondary system is a non-linear relationship and from this non-linear (paradigmatic) relationship, metaphorical symptoms will emerge. For example, in the poem “I” by Chairil Anwar, there is an expression that I am a bitch   who in addition to using language material that has everyday sentence patterns, like I am a model student., but in terms of the secondary system the line of poetry shows peculiarity; besides it can be seen that there are sounds between words and the presence of array breaks, so that the array from the collection is wasted   not written on one line. In addition, the language of poetry in its secondary convention shows condensation, enrichment of meaning, chord patterns, and variations in the arrangement of syntagmatic relationships.

The two language systems above will be clearer if we look at the six language functions displayed by Jakobson. Roman Jakobson (1987: 71) characterizes language in literary texts (especially poetry) as a form of poetic communication by distinguishing or showing the existence of various language functions, as shown in the following chart.

Poetry Charts as a Form of Poetic Communication

                                  EMOTIVE ——————— Fatis Poetic —————— CONATIVE

From the chart above, we can see the three functions of language as factors of verbal communication, namely the emotive ( emotive ), conative ( conative ), and referential ( referential ), as well as three function correspondence languages, namely Phatic ( phatic ), metalanguage ( metalingual ), and the poetic ( poetic ). The emotive function expresses the feelings of the speaker or author ( addresser ), the conative function refers to the reader or listener ( addressee)), for example a call or command, and a referential function is a function for context (pointing, referring or explaining). The phatic function is to establish, confirm, extend, terminate communication, or check the existence of a communication relationship, the metilingual function is to discuss code (language or linguistic function), while the poetic function is a poetic function, an attitude which refers to the message for the sake of that message. alone.

The use of language in general includes the six functions above, but in literary texts the poetic function is more dominant than the other five functions. This poetic function is what makes the language message from a work of art. The poetic function projects the principle of equality, the juxtaposition of the selection process (parataxis) onto the axis of the combination (syntactic). In this case, communication in poetry can be said to be a form of poetic communication and the emotive function is related to the expression activities of the poet. In this context, the language of poetry is functioned to form and express expressions directly at the same time accompanied by the nuances of the speaker’s own attitude.

Seen from the point of view of the language of communication, the language in literary texts – like the language used by other media, has elements that build the language, namely the sounds of the language, words, groups of words (phrases) and sentences. These language elements have several specificities in their use.

Richard Bauman (1984) adapts Jakobson’s approach to literary form and puts it in a context where literary texts are introduced to the listener, that context as display (Bauman focuses on oral appearance, but literary publication can be seen as an outcome). Bauman states that what is needed in communication is appearance because it requires the presenter (author) to show the listener / reader that he is maintaining a set of rules, and expects the listener / reader to evaluate it. Therefore, the rules must appear on the surface, such as when a literary text is communicated as a description of its form.

Jakobson and Bauman explore the possibility that literature is a particular verbal communication, and thus attracts the attention of linguists. In addition, linguists are also interested because literary experience provides an “aesthetic” quality that is different from our experience with other types of texts. Literary texts evoke aesthetic experiences. Aesthetic experiences are a psychological problem, related to affective and physiological components as cognitive components. A key question for literary linguistics is whether or not the way in which the distinctions of language form is exploited in literature contribute to aesthetic experiences.

by Abdullah Sam
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