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Language and literature

Fabb, Nigel (2001) Language and literature. In: International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences. Elsevier, pp. 8282-8287. ISBN 0080430767

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Abstract

Literary linguistics investigates whether the form and use of language in literature differ from language in general. Literary linguistics defines literary texts as texts which are constructed and performed in ways which draw attention to their own form, and thus invite evaluation. Metrical form is a way of organizing language by rules which are related to, but distinct from, the rules of language in general. Canonic parallelism exploits pre-existing language structures to build literary form. Literary narrative exploits the conventions of narrative as a general discourse genre, and also has distinctively complex kinds of constituent structure, which may be implied rather then encoded by the text. Literary creation may involve privileged access to underlying linguistic form. Literary meaning exploits the looseness of verbal communication, with pragmatic processes enabling metaphor and irony. Many kinds of literary form may be derived pragmatically, similar to literary meaning. The complexity of linguistic form in literature, whether it arises by specialized rules or by inferencing, may be a source of aesthetic experience.