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 Ling 131: Language & Style

Topic 3 (session A) - Patterns, Deviations, Style and Meaning > Parallelism: non-literary examples

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Session Overview
Overview of foregrounding, deviation and parallelism
Deviation: non - literary examples
Deviation: literary examples
Parallelism: non-literary examples
Parallelism: literary examples
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Parallelism: non-literary examples

We have seen in the pages on deviation that linguistic deviation foregrounds (makes prominent) particular parts of texts and helps us to infer new aspects of meaning for the deviant text-parts. Another way in which parts of texts can be foregrounded is by the use of local patterning. A good example of such patterning is when two or more structures are parallel one another. In other words, they are structurally similar in some way, but not exact repetitions of one another.

Besides foregrounding the parts of texts they occur in, parallel structures also affect meaning. They often (but not always) induce readers to perceive a 'same meaning' or 'opposite meaning' relationship between the parallel parts. We like to call this the 'parallelism processing rule', though it is important to notice that it is not a hard and fast rule - it applies pretty regularly, but not always, by any means. Let's have a look at this rule working with a made-up example before exploring its use more generally.



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