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Academic Paper

Title: A cognitive approach to alliteration and conceptualization in medieval English literature
Author: Antonina Harbus
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Historical Linguistics; Ling & Literature
Subject Language: English, Middle
Abstract: This article investigates alliteration in Old and Middle English poetry as a particular type of discourse-structuring device. It explores the use of this device in the context of a mainly anonymous and oral-formulaic tradition, and – in Construction Grammar terms – as a type of fragment chunker for both local conceptualization at the phrasal level and also one that permits (even encourages) a counterpoint conceptualization across syntactic structures, with an impact on literary meaning. The discussion will encompass the metrical aspects of this device, its role in the proliferation of poetic-only terms for key concepts that recur in extant verse texts, and implications for our understanding of medieval mental grammars.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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