Playing by Ear and the Tip of the Tongue
In our everyday life we are flooded by a pandemonium of information which consciousness organizes into more easily manageable phonetic and semantic categories. In poetry reading, however, the total effect of a poem is not only obtained by some of these categories but also by precategorial information, for which there is a growing body of empirical evidence of its psychological reality. In the Tip of the Tongue phenomenon, a great amount of diffuse precategorial information is present but fails to “grow together” into a compact word, generating a feeling of some dense, undifferentiated mass. Poetic language typically exploits such precategorial information for its effects. By way of theoretical considerations and close readings, this book explores the semantic and phonetic strategies by which a text may increase or decrease the impact of such information. It investigates the conditions that boost or inhibit overtone fusion in rhyme and alliteration. By seeking empirical evidence for the claims he makes in different fields such as music, art, literature, linguistics, experiments in the speech laboratory, the author provides ample and sound examples (ambiguity intended) in an almost conversational tone, which makes us really anticipate reading each new chapter.