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to the language of "great literature." Perhaps a misunderstanding of the pre- cise task of the linguist underlies these criticisms. A linguist usually is con-. guistics and literary criticism, on the one hand, and the relation between language and example, Sumner Ives, after noting the major grammatical divisions. linguistic critic might say about Yeats's 'Who Goes with Fergus?' and replies that ' it contains a great many repetitions of sound and stress, many more than would 'physical' parts of a text comprise its structure, that is, relations between words.
The aspects of literature of most interest to linguists have included the ways in which language cues the structuring of texts particularly narrativesthe indirect meanings such as irony or metaphor characteristic of verbal art, and the types of repetition seen in parallelism and in rhyme and alliteration. The most intensive theoretical work has been devoted to poetic meter, the counting-and-rhythmic patterns seen in many kinds of verse.
General Overviews and Theories The modern study of the language of literature begins with Russian formalism that appeared in the early 20th century and as described in Erlichwith Jakobson and Jakobson providing continuity from that period up to recent times, and that connects also with the structuralist tradition in literary studies as described in Culler The study of universals in the language of literature is discussed in Hoganwhile the history of a specific but large tradition is exemplified in Watkins Banti and Giannattasio and Fabb summarize a range of linguistic approaches to different kinds of literature.
Literary Linguistics « The Virtual Theorist
Banti, George, and Francesco Giannattasio. With regard to the study of literature, literary linguistics highlights links between theoretical linguistic models and literary texts.
As a consequence, it builds on the assumption that the study of literature and language need not be regarded as mutually exclusive but rather as significantly related to each other. Today, literary linguistics is an established discipline that approaches literary texts through linguistic frameworks.
However, this was not always the case, especially in the early days of literary linguistics. There was for instance a famous controversy between the linguist Roger Fowler and the literary critic F. Bateson in the s which took the form of contributions and responses in the journal Essays in Criticism, in which they discussed the academic validity of this new discipline.
The argumentation at the time was sometimes far removed from an objective approach, which is reflected in the following example from Batesonwho said: It is a good question. Now, the focus of stylistics is on the study of the linguistic features of a text in order to arrive at its interpretation and these linguistic features can relate to different levels of language.
For example, from the fact that English—unlike French, German, Russian, and many other languages—distinguishes lexically between monkeys and apes, one cannot conclude that there is an associated difference in the cultural significance attached to these animals by English-speaking societies. Some of the major grammatical distinctions in certain languages may have originated in culturally important categories e.
But they seem to endure independently of any continuing cultural significance. Anthropologists continue to draw upon linguistics for the assistance it can give them in the analysis of such topics as the structure of kinship. A later development, but one that has not so far produced any very substantial results, is the application of notions derived from generative grammar to the analysis of ritual and other kinds of culturally prescribed behaviour.
Computational linguistics By computational linguistics is meant no more than the use of electronic digital computers in linguistic research. At a theoretically trivial level, computers are employed to scan texts and to produce, more rapidly and more reliably than was possible in the past, such valuable aids to linguistic and stylistic research as word lists, frequency counts, and concordances.
Theoretically more interesting, though much more difficult, is the automatic grammatical analysis of texts by computer. Considerable progress was made in this area by research groups working on machine translation and information retrieval in the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet UnionFrance, and a few other countries in the decade between the mids and the mids.
But much of the original impetus for this work disappeared, for a time at least, in part because of the realization that the theoretical problems involved in machine translation are much more difficult than they were at first thought to be and in part as a consequence of a loss of interest among linguists in the development of discovery procedures.
Whether automatic syntactic analysis and fully automatic high-quality machine translation are even feasible in principle remains a controversial question.