On the Interpretive Effects of Double Perspective in Genitive Constructions

  • Helen de Hoop
  • Kim Schreurs


The question we address is whether the use of genitive constructions such as her husband, in which both the possessor and the possessed may refer to characters in a literary story, affects readers’ degree of identification or empathy with one of the two characters or their immersion in the story. We report on a corpus analysis of a poly-perspective novel that makes use of this construction in a meaningful way, as well as on a reading experiment investigating the relation between the genitive construction and the shift in perspective elicited by the use of this construction. The results of the experiment indicate that the genitive construction indeed gives rise to a shift in perspective, which may in turn affect readers’ narrative engagement.


Corpus analysis Corpus linguistics Empathy Genitive constructions Identification Immersion Narrative engagement Narrative perspective Reading experiment Real readers 



This study has been supported by the Radboud Honours Academy, which is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Anneke de Graaf for her invaluable advice concerning the methodology of the reading experiment, and Sebastian Collin for his indispensable help with the statistical analysis of the data. For detailed comments on an earlier draft of this chapter, we are grateful to Taki Bremmers, Jos Muyres, and the editors of this volume.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen de Hoop
    • 1
  • Kim Schreurs
    • 1
  1. 1.Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenNetherlands

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