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Syntax in experimental literature: a literary linguistic investigation

Thoms, Gary Stewart (2008) Syntax in experimental literature: a literary linguistic investigation. Masters thesis, University Of Strathclyde.

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Abstract

This dissertation uses the methods of literary linguistics to investigate experimental uses of literary language. I consider what kinds of formal experimentation are possible with natural language, examine how the unusual forms of experimental literature are interpreted, and ask what these kinds of experimentation show us about the nature of language. To begin with, I will discuss the goals of this study in detail, outlining the theoretical basis for a linguistic study of experimental literature and what may be learned from such a study. Literary linguistics is concerned with understanding how literary texts use language, focusing on formal aspects of literary texts and how they are related to the formal features of language. Language is the medium of literary texts, and the formal aspects of these texts - such as metre or genre - are in part enabled by using this medium. To understand regularities in the formal aspects of literary texts, literary linguistics research explores regularities in linguistic form and the ways in which the literary form exploits linguistic form.