COGNITIVE STYLISTICS PDF

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PDF | On Nov 7, , Habeeb Al-Saeedi and others published A Cognitive Stylistic Analysis of Simon's Lyric "THE SOUND OF SILENCE". Cognitive stylistics, at the interface between (cognitive) linguistics, (stylistic) literary theory and cognitive science, is no doubt a rapidly expanding research. 13 Cognitive stylistics Peter Stockwell Cognition and style When stylisticians of literature talk about 'style', they have traditionally referred to the textual patterns.


Cognitive Stylistics Pdf

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Semino, E. and Culpeper, J. (eds) () Cognitive Stylistics: Language and Cognition in Text Analysis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Table of contents. This collection seeks to represent the state of the art in cognitive stylistics - a field at the interface between linguistics, literary studies and cognitive science. A Cognitive-Stylistic Response to Contradictions cognitive stylistics as well as empirical approaches such as reader response may be useful.

What all of these associated approaches have in common is a concern to account for literature as a natural human capacity, and for reading as an activity that can be understood and explained in a disciplined way. Drawing on those same language capacities, and sharing what might broadly be called their human condition, readers also engage in creative reconstruction and imaginative construction when reading literature.

Cognitive stylistics or cognitive poetics I will use the terms interchangeably is thus centrally and inherently a discipline that explores literary creativity in all its aspects. Key areas in cognitive stylistics The fundamental principles of cognitive stylistics are largely drawn from the cognitive sciences in general. They can be summarised as follows.

Language is therefore natural in origin, rather than artificial, or technological, or part of culture; these aspects emerged interconnectedly and later.

Patterns in language are thus continuous with these other aspects of experience. These broad principles can easily be applied to literary reading. In this section, I can very briefly sketch some of the different aspects of the field. It is important to remember, though, that almost every literary text and reading can be analysed along every one of these dimensions. In essence, everything connects with everything else. It will become apparent that creativity is a basic design feature in all of these concepts.

Figure and ground A fundamental human capacity is our ability to distinguish different objects in our perception, and to pay attention to one or a single group of them with more care and intensity than other, backgrounded objects.

This capacity is clearly evident in the visual field, but also in our ability to filter in and out different sounds, tastes, smells, and physical textures We can delineate objects from their backgrounds, discern nearness and distance, observe and predict spatial movement, conceptualise one thing being hidden by another thing, and understand agency when an object acts on another.

There are textual equivalences for all of these figure and ground relationships. The process can be automatic and habituated, whereby a particular reader simply makes sense of the text and does not notice certain elements being placed into the foreground of attention.

Alternatively, the process of foregrounding can be increasingly active and self-aware, as readers notice certain aspects of the text, or are aware of their own reading process. This can reach its ultimate expression in a case in which a reader deliberately pays more attention to parts of the text that appear not to have been stylistically foregrounded by the author.

This sort of resistant, or dispreferred, reading is an important part of the range of responses available to literary readers. I will return to the notion of resistant reading below, but here we must notice that figuring and grounding seem to be fundamental to language itself. Many forms of cognitive grammar distinguish between the different prominence given to named objects in a textual field.

It is possible, for example, to regard the agent of a clause typically as having figural prominence and the other referents in the sentence such as direct and indirect objects, other circumstances, instruments, and patients and beneficiaries of the verb, for example as being relatively backgrounded.

Action and agency are thus matters of figure and ground relationships, and although the text provides the framework for generating these relationships, the imagination of them happens in the creating mind of the reader.

Figure and ground are not simply crucial matters of clausal grammar that enable cognitive stylisticians to explore prominence, significance, agency, ambience, and texture in literary works see Harrison et al. The human capacity for attending to one thing in preference to another operates at every level of cognition. So certain characters have more prominence or significance than others; certain objects in a described room, or aspects of an imagined landscape, or certain striking descriptions in themselves will offer themselves for readerly figuration.

In short, the entire texture of feeling across a literary reading can be explored and analysed based on figure and ground descriptions see Stockwell, Prototypicality The emphasis on figure and ground might look at first like a simple binary pattern of the sort that informed much of the literary criticism arising from early structuralism. However, it is important to remember that figure and ground are attentional phenomena: a figure is a thing, but a ground is simply not-a-thing — that is, you cannot look at, imagine, picture, point at, or be aware of the ground, because as soon as you do that, it ceases being backgrounded and becomes a figure in your attention.

Figure and ground are therefore not binary objects, but instead operate along a scale of attentiveness. The process of reading is online and dynamic, so a figure at one moment in a text can quickly be occluded by another and the first object can fade from attention to form part of the background. Such a scaling of attention draws on the cognitive linguistic notion of prototypicality see Lakoff, In other words, a poodle is not simply a type of dog, but is a good example of a dog.

Some people think that big dogs are better examples of dogs than lapdogs. Prototypicality says that every concept is scalable. Our notions of prototypicality are situated in the particular circumstances in which they occur and are experientially based. So your own sense of the best examples of dogs will depend on your own life experience of dogs and on the situation at hand.

Isolated on an ice lake in the Arctic with a sled, a Siberian Husky is a better example of a dog than a Yorkshire Terrier.

Dining in an exclusive Parisian bistro, a Pekingese is a better example of a dog than a St Bernard. It is this flexibility and adaptability in categorisation that allows us to imagine personification, for example: the dog that talks, wears clothes, has emotions, expresses a consciousness, has memory and ethics.

Our emotional proximity to or distance from a character can depend on how good an example of a person that character is. He or she might be fully and richly realised, or merely a type or token. Across this scale, different readers will have different relationships with fictional people. Resonance and ambience Together and as mentioned briefly above , the notions of figure and ground and prototypicality form the basis for a model of cognitive grammar that has been used by cognitive stylisticians to account for a range of literary effects.

Cognitive stylistics:language and cognition in text analysis.

A clause acts like a sort of action chain, sending energy from the item with agency towards the other participants. This approach to grammatical form encompasses the creative imagination that is required of a reader as an inherent part of the theoretical apparatus.

Different readers might construe the same sentence or passage of text in different ways, because their simulation of the meaning is likely to be different: they will pay more or less attention to certain elements, foregrounding some over others, and drawing on their own experience not only for meaning, but also for the feelings associated with the sense. A cognitive grammatical stylistic analysis can thus begin to account for aspects of literary reading that have traditionally eluded rigorous literary critical analysis because those aspects have been very delicate, subjective, or difficult to articulate.

Matters of the perceived atmosphere and tonal qualities of a passage of literature, for example, are especially difficult to describe precisely — and yet this literary ambience can be explored in cognitive grammatical terms see Deggan, ; Stockwell, The strikingness of a literary work, its memorability, how it resonates with your own life in either a phrase, or a powerful image, or how the voice of a narrator or character has an emotional impact: all of these common literary experiences can be explored from a cognitive grammatical perspective.

Of course, literary commentators have been able to discuss these sorts of impressions for centuries, but for the most part the discussion has not been very analytical or connected systematically with an overarching theory until recently.

A cognitive stylistic approach allows the researcher to understand how resonance and ambience work at a very particular clausal level, but also at a discourse level and all points in between. These discussions, until now, have been purely intuitive and impressionistic, appealing to common experience with shared cultural presumptions.

Cognitive stylistics allows a discussion of the variability of readerly creativity, while keeping cultural and personal experience to the forefront of awareness. Metaphor in cognitive linguistics is not only the textual realisation of a rhetorical trope, but also is treated as a fundamentally important aspect of human conceptualisation. Some of this is conventional and some is innovative, and together the effect is to draw the audience into the sense of doom in the last few lines of the play.

Metaphors are thus neither simply linguistic forms nor mere ornamentation in cognitive linguistics, but have been regarded more importantly as textual manifestations of underlying shared, or perhaps even universal, properties of human perception.

The cognitive stylistic treatment of conceptual metaphor manages to capture this balance between the particular stylistic uniqueness of the expression and its cultural value and wider resonant power see Freeman, Metaphors, in this approach, activate domains, or frames, of knowledge and experience, with the new domain serving creatively to restructure the familiar domain.

These conventional metaphors are often so familiar that we barely notice them as metaphors at all, although they tap into a set of ideas and assumptions that underlie the language of a literary text. Striking and innovative, and deviant and dissonant, metaphors operate with the same mechanism, but they are often noticeable and resonant, and involve a greater demand and engagement of the reader.

Such metaphors are often encountered in highly wrought poetic writing: lyricism, surrealism, imagism, for example.

A metaphorical practice can become normalised even with a single text, so that it seems to establish a frame of understanding. For a reader to engage with the text then involves repeated activation of that conceptual metaphor, and the framing discourse comes to seem reasonable and normal.

This is a powerful political technique see Lakoff, , , but it is also the basis for engaging a reader in a fictional world. Simulation and deictic projection One of the key insights from cognitive science has been that conceptualising an event or experience, and articulating it, or even reading about it, seems to activate the same faculties at second-hand as are exercised during first-hand experience.

Language and cognition in text analysis

So the difference between, say, catching a ball and reading about catching a ball is not as great as you otherwise might imagine. This also goes for all activations generated by texts.

It seems that we simulate the original perception offered by a text and recreate it in mind in order to experience it again or virtually for the first time see Gibbs, Literary reading generates a range of emotions, moods, and other effects that are actual emotions and moods: we do not feel fictional sadness, or imaginary melancholy, or pretend laughter during literary experiences.

In cognitive stylistics, we can trace the close textual patterns that allow for such experiences, for example by analysing the deictic aspects of a text.

These are all those parts of a text that set out the different positionings of fictional, narratorial, authorial, and readerly minds. This deictic projection is the stylistic means by which a reader can populate the imagined scene and keep track of all of the people in it. However, other aspects of character positioning can also be found. Any element that delineates the interpersonal relationships between characters is an aspect of social deixis that can also be analysed. This includes not only terms of address and styles of speech, but also markers indicating the perception of social relations.

Even the word choices that are associated with particular characters can draw a social deictic relationship in the world of a literary text. Of course, those choices are attached to characters, but are imagined to be the mediated words of narrators, and they are also the actually composed words of the author — and by exploring these textual and compositional deictic markers, the cognitive stylistician can trace all of the relationships established in a literary work. These include the author— reader relationship.

For example, in reading David Copperfield, I understand the relative positions of all of the characters physically, socially, and emotionally. Furthermore, I know that the narrating mind and the arrangement of the entire novel are part of the creative choices made by Charles Dickens. And I can see, for example, in the character of Mr Dick, an ironic counterpart of Charles Dickens and an in-text parallel commentary on the autobiographical aspects of the story.

My picture and experience of all of this has been co- created with Charles Dickens, but the world that represents it finally is created in my readerly head.

And it will be both similar to, and different from, your own picture of David Copperfield in many ways. Text worlds In processing the deictic centres of all of the different entities and characters that make up the minds within the novel David Copperfield, as a reader I direct my attention into and out of an imagined world. Across the boundary of that world, I have to keep track of different states of knowledge and experience, and the different properties of the fictional world compared with my own situation.

The text itself does not provide enough denotative information to account for the richness of my sense of the fictional world, so I am clearly filling out the sense of the world as an act of my own imaginative creation.

My mental representation of the fiction is modelled as a text world in cognitive stylistics Gavins, ; Werth, The text world that a reader co-creates with an author is not a static representation, but instead is conceived as a working heuristic tool that readers use as a fundamental means of reading.

I build a world and use my model to keep track of who is where, who knows what, who remembers what has happened, what else is in the scene, and so on. The framework usefully allows us to discuss aspects of fictionality, plot development, and the landscapes of fictional works in systematic ways. It allows us to understand how we can hold metaphors, negations, flashbacks and flashforwards, speculations, and other unrealised possibilities in our minds as part of the rich texture that we create as readers of literature.

However, text world theory has also been used as a means of analysing the emotional engagement of readers with literary worlds. The spatial metaphor underpinning the idea of motion into and out of a text world has also been shown to work in terms of the emotional closeness and distance between reader and character. Mind-modelling In all of this process, it is clear that readers imagine versions of authorial, narratorial, and character minds, and are able to have relationships with them.

This is possible because of our capacity for mind-modelling — that is, we imagine other people to have a consciousness like our own, and we fill in further details about their lives, thoughts, and perspectives.

Under application to literary and fictional characterisation, our basic human capacity for imputing essential person-ness to other people is extended into a rich model of a fully rounded character see Zunshine, We can imagine their beliefs, feelings, emotions, aspirations, goals, and so on, on the basis of the text-driven information that we are given as readers.

It should be clear again that any given text cannot possibly provide all of the denotational information sufficient for the richly textured sense of character that the vast majority of readers routinely create in literary reading. Mind-modelling is an active, creative, and productive process that goes beyond the basic information of the text. Mind-modelling is an everyday process that we use to keep track of our different relationships with every person in our lives.

Literary mind-modelling is no different. This means that cognitive poetics has a theoretically grounded and systematic principled means of discussing and analysing authorial intention — not as telepathy, nor as the sort of speculative biographical criticism that I outlined at the start of this chapter, but as part of a stylistic account of language and its creative production. The practice of cognitive poetics It should be apparent by now that the discipline of cognitive stylistics or poetics has rapidly developed a rich toolkit for literary analysis.

Text worlds In processing the deictic centres of all of the different entities and characters that make up the minds within the novel David Copperfield, as a reader I direct my attention into and out of an imagined world. Across the boundary of that world, I have to keep track of different states of knowledge and experience, and the different properties of the fictional world compared with my own situation.

The text itself does not provide enough denotative information to account for the richness of my sense of the fictional world, so I am clearly filling out the sense of the world as an act of my own imaginative creation.

cognitive stylistics

My mental representation of the fiction is modelled as a text world in cognitive stylistics Gavins, ; Werth, The text world that a reader co-creates with an author is not a static representation, but instead is conceived as a working heuristic tool that readers use as a fundamental means of reading.

I build a world and use my model to keep track of who is where, who knows what, who remembers what has happened, what else is in the scene, and so on. The framework usefully allows us to discuss aspects of fictionality, plot development, and the landscapes of fictional works in systematic ways.

It allows us to understand how we can hold metaphors, negations, flashbacks and flashforwards, speculations, and other unrealised possibilities in our minds as part of the rich texture that we create as readers of literature. However, text world theory has also been used as a means of analysing the emotional engagement of readers with literary worlds. The spatial metaphor underpinning the idea of motion into and out of a text world has also been shown to work in terms of the emotional closeness and distance between reader and character.

Mind-modelling In all of this process, it is clear that readers imagine versions of authorial, narratorial, and character minds, and are able to have relationships with them. This is possible because of our capacity for mind-modelling — that is, we imagine other people to have a consciousness like our own, and we fill in further details about their lives, thoughts, and perspectives.

Under application to literary and fictional characterisation, our basic human capacity for imputing essential person-ness to other people is extended into a rich model of a fully rounded character see Zunshine, We can imagine their beliefs, feelings, emotions, aspirations, goals, and so on, on the basis of the text-driven information that we are given as readers.

It should be clear again that any given text cannot possibly provide all of the denotational information sufficient for the richly textured sense of character that the vast majority of readers routinely create in literary reading.

Mind-modelling is an active, creative, and productive process that goes beyond the basic information of the text. Mind-modelling is an everyday process that we use to keep track of our different relationships with every person in our lives. Literary mind-modelling is no different. This means that cognitive poetics has a theoretically grounded and systematic principled means of discussing and analysing authorial intention — not as telepathy, nor as the sort of speculative biographical criticism that I outlined at the start of this chapter, but as part of a stylistic account of language and its creative production.

The practice of cognitive poetics It should be apparent by now that the discipline of cognitive stylistics or poetics has rapidly developed a rich toolkit for literary analysis. Regarded as a branch of literary criticism, we are able to address many of the topics that interest literary scholars, but with a renewed sense of principled confidence and cross-disciplinary validity. It would be impossible to demonstrate an example of the discipline in this short chapter that would be anything other than partial, but perhaps a few illustrative observations will serve instead.

Here, for example, is perhaps and arguably one of the most famous poems in the English language… What would a cognitive stylistic account of it look like? Shakespeare, Although there is a great deal of discussion around the context and circumstances of the sonnet, there is a general critical consensus on its meaning.

What has the surface appearance of a love poem praising the appearance and constancy of the addressee also gives the strong sense that this is a literary work about literary art itself, and the power of poetry not only to immortalise human lives and relationships, but also to outlast them.

Setting aside historiographic and biographical discussions of the original addressee whether a woman or a male youth, which then generates both heterosexual and homosexual romantic readings , the vast majority of non-scholarly readings regard this as a straightforward love poem: There are several aspects of the poem that lend themselves to a cognitive poetic exploration. First, there is an obvious metaphorical analysis to be sketched out that, sure enough, produces a primary set of meanings and also a subtext possibility.

The emphasis within the conceptual domain of the year is on the seasons, the natural scene, and the temperature, so the other metaphors in the poem have particularly apposite qualities primed: This combination of day to year to life, of course, mirrors the theme of the poem as one referring to an extended period of time beyond the current moment. The metaphor structures also mirror the iconic lengthening in the clausal syntax. Short, completed action chains typify the first four lines.

These lines match the profiling of the long ending of the day that the metaphorical patterning echoes. Even the opening act of calm, cogitating comparison is an act of measurement and accountancy. The final phrasing reiterates this precise measurement: Aside from the metaphorical domains, there is an interestingly doubled deictic patterning in evidence in the poem. The intimacy is echoed in proximal deixis throughout: Note, though, that these two final deictics refer to the poem itself.

There is a final sense, of course, in which a reader could model the authorial mind here as self-promoting and egocentric, and then the second-person address can be taken as a rhetorically circular self-reference: Shakespeare is self-satisfiedly reassuring himself.

If this begins to seem too tenuous, then there is some support if we consider the text world structure of the poem.

Rather than a straightforward text world construction, the poem begins with a swift deflection into a modalised world-switch: The sonnet is the equivalent of a dramatic soliloquy, in this sense. In that switched text world, the reference even then does not remain stable for long. Negations also create a texture of world-switching: These grammatical, morphological or lexical semantic negations all — in text world theory — suggest their negative qualities even when they are raised in an overall positive context.

Overall, the text world patterning seems to suggest a stable and consistent state on the surface at the initial matrix text world level , but a subtext of deflection and alternative perception. Of course, these observations certainly do not exhaust the possibilities that a cognitive stylistic account can bring. For example, there is a schematic analysis of the knowledge structures that different readers bring to the sonnet, conducted by Yang Steen and Gibbs analyse the metaphors in the sonnet for their parallel effects.

Steen And in an earlier, different analysis, I explored the attention-resonance power of the sonnet Stockwell, All of these represent a variety of cognitive stylistic frameworks and approaches, but they illustrate the range of possibilities of analysis even over only fourteen lines.

New territories and directions for exploration Cognitive poetics, or cognitive stylistics, the associated discipline of cognitive narratology, and the broader area of cognitive literary studies are fields still in their infancy, although they have come a long way in a short time. Their future development is tied to two impulses.

First, there remains a great deal of work to do to apply what we already know about language and mind to literary writing and reading. As literary linguists, we have now a reasonably good account of how meaning is creatively generated by readers during an encounter with a literary text. We have made good progress in exploring the aesthetic effects, the emotions, feelings, and dispositions, which are created within readers by literature. We have the basis of an understanding of delicate matters of ambience, tone, and voice.

We have even begun to engage with questions of readerly and authorial ethics from a cognitive narratological perspective. All of these developments are ongoing, and we can see that they will be further productive, because we already know about the unmined work in cognitive science that will allow this work to progress. Secondly, there is an impulse from what we do not as yet know. Cognitive stylistics depends on the evolution of cognitive science, and as new insights and methods arise in that broad field, so they will be taken up within cognitive poetics.

Furthermore, within cognitive stylistics itself, there has been, and will continue to be, theoretical refinement and innovation, some of which is particular to the literary context and some of which is generalisable back to the field of cognitive science. We have a good understanding of textual mechanics, but it could be better.

We have a lot of work on readerly psychology and effects, but there is far more to learn. We have begun to talk rationally about creative authorial choice and the accidents of literary history, but we lack the means properly to do so yet.

I am confident, though, that we will be able to explore areas of literary reading that we could not even have imagined, to find answers to the oldest questions about literature and artistic expression, and to discover new questions that, at this moment, we cannot even formulate.

Related topics language, creativity, and cognition; literariness; literary stylistics and creativity; poetry and poetics Further reading Cook, A. Palgrave Macmillan. Amy Cook draws on cognitive science to explore textuality and performance in the theatre. Dancygier, B. Cambridge University Press. Barbara Dancygier takes a sweeping overview of the conceptual patterns in narrative.

An Introduction, London: This remains the only textbook in the field and still stands as a good hands-on introduction. A new edition is forthcoming. Turner, M. Oxford University Press. Zunshine, L. Ohio State University Press. Lisa Zunshine develops the notion of mind-reading that readers undertake when they encounter fictional narratives. References Carter, R. Deggan, M. Borkent, B. Dancygier, and J. Hinnell eds Language and the Creative Mind: Freeman, D.

Weber ed. The Stylistics Reader, London: Arnold, pp. Gavins, J. Edinburgh University Press.

Gerrig, R. Yale University Press. Gibbs, R. Harrison, C. John Benjamins. University of Texas Press. Lakoff, G. University of Chicago Press. Chicago University Press. Chelsea Green Press. Langacker, R. A Basic Introduction, New York: Semino, E. Steen, G. Littlemore and J. Bloomsbury, pp. Stockwell, P. A Cognitive Aesthetics of Reading, Edinburgh: Stockwell and S.

Whiteley eds The Handbook of Stylistics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. Tsur, R.

A Cognitive Approach, Jerusalem: Israel Science Publishers. Werth, P. Representing Conceptual Space in Discourse, Harlow: Wimsatt, W. University of Kentucky Press, pp. Yang, J.

Johns Hopkins University Press. Download pdf.The poetics of mind. Dancygier, and J. Schema and Image Schema 5. Having thus come closer and closer to literature, let us also say that an image schema is a recurring pattern in our cognitive process and, according to Mark Johnson The Body in the Mind and George Lakoff Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things image schemata emerge from our bodily interactions, linguistic experience and historical context; these two authors look at an image schema as being an embodied prelinguistic structure of experience that motivates conceptual metaphor mappings; there are several concepts here, except for image schema, that need exemplification at least, since the theory is too extensive.

Stylometry and Computational Stylistics 5. Such metaphors are often encountered in highly wrought poetic writing: lyricism, surrealism, imagism, for example. Metonymy and conceptual blending. Edinburgh University Press. Oxford Introductions to Language Study.

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