A cognitive approach to alliteration and conceptualization in medieval English literature

Antonina Harbus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-219
Number of pages17
JournalEnglish Language and Linguistics
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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