What Makes Sound Patterns Expressive?: The Poetic Mode of Speech Perception

Front Cover
Duke University Press, 1992 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 174 pages
Poets, academics, and those who simply speak a language are subject to mysterious intuitions about the perceptual qualities and emotional symbolism of the sounds of speech. Such intuitions are Reuven Tsur’s point of departure in this investigation into the expressive effect of sound patterns, addressing questions of great concern for literary theorists and critics as well as for linguists and psychologists.
Research in recent decades has established two distinct types of aural perception: a nonspeech mode, in which the acoustic signals are received in the manner of musical sounds or natural noises; and a speech mode, in which acoustic signals are excluded from awareness and only an abstract phonetic category is perceived. Here, Tsur proposes a third type of speech perception, a poetic mode in which some part of the acoustic signal becomes accessible, however faintly, to consciousness.
Using Roman Jakobson’s model of childhood acquisition of the phonological system, Tsur shows how the nonreferential babbling sounds made by infants form a basis for aesthetic valuation of language. He tests the intersubjective and intercultural validity of various spatial and tactile metaphors for certain sounds. Illustrating his insights with reference to particular literary texts, Tsur considers the relative merits of cognitive and psychoanalytic approaches to the emotional symbolism of speech sounds.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

How Do Sound Patterns Know They Are Expressive?
1
On Musicality in Verse and Phonological Universals
52
Some Spatial and Tactile Metaphors for Sounds
89
A Reading of Rimbauds Voyelles
111
Psychoanalytic or Cognitive Explanation
136
References
163
Index
169

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information