On the Interpretive Effects of Double Perspective in Genitive Constructions

  • Helen de Hoop
  • Kim Schreurs
Chapter

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Boon, L. P. (1955a) Menuet. In: Menuet en andere verhalen, 80–175. Seventh edition (1988). Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  2. Boon, L. P. (1955b) Minuet. English translation of Menuet (1974). Translated by Adrienne Dixon. Persea Books, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Brunyé, T. T., Ditman, T., Mahoney, C. R., Augustyn, J. S. and Taylor, H. A. (2009) ‘When You and I Share Perspectives: Pronouns Modulate Perspective Taking During Narrative Comprehension’, Psychological Science 20(1): 27–32.Google Scholar
  4. Brunyé, T. T. Ditman, T., Mahoney, C. R., and Taylor, H. A. (2011) ‘Better You than I: Perspectives and Emotion Simulation During Narrative Comprehension’, Journal of Cognitive Psychology 23(5): 659–666.Google Scholar
  5. Comrie, B. (1989) Language universals and linguistic theory, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. de Graaf, Anneke (2010) Narrative persuasion: The role of attention and emotion, PhD dissertation, Radboud University Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  7. de Graaf, Anneke, Hans Hoeken, José Sanders and Johannes W.J. Beentjes (2012) ‘Identification as a mechanism of narrative persuasion’, Communication Research 39: 802–823.Google Scholar
  8. de Graaf, Anneke and Lettica Hustinx (2015) ‘Transported into a story world: The role of the protagonist’, in Lardinois, A., Levie, S., Hoeken, H., and Luthy, C. (eds.), Texts, transmissions, receptions: Modern approaches to narratives, Leiden; Boston: Brill, pp. 114–132.Google Scholar
  9. de Rover, F. C. (1975) ‘De boodschap van de vent achter de vorm (2). Een retorische interpretatie van Louis Paul Boon, Menuet’, Spektator 5: 479–528.Google Scholar
  10. de Swart, P. (2007) Cross-linguistic variation in object marking, PhD dissertation, Radboud University Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  11. Field, A. (2013) Discovering statistics using SPSS (and sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll), Fourth edition, London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Genette, G. (1980) Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method [‘Discours du récit’, Figures III, 1972], Trans. J.E. Lewin, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Givón, Talmy (1983) Topic continuity in discourse, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  14. Hartung, F., Burke, M., Hagoort, P. and Willems, R. M. (2016) ‘Taking perspective: personal pronouns affect experiential aspects of literary reading’, PLoS ONE 18 May 2016: 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154732.
  15. Hogeweg, L., de Hoop, H., and de Schepper, K. (2014) ‘Person and Perspective in Language’, Journal of Literary Semantics 43(2): 81–86.Google Scholar
  16. Kuijpers, M. M., Hakemulder, F., Tan, E. S., and Doicaru, M. M. (2014) ‘Exploring absorbing reading experiences: Developing and validating a self-report scale to measure story world absorption’, Scientific Study of Literature 4: 89–122.Google Scholar
  17. Levie, S. and Wildschut, P. (2014) ‘Narrating the unspeakable. Person marking and focalization in Nabokov’s short story “Signs and Symbols”’, Journal of Literary Semantics 43: 87–108.Google Scholar
  18. Muyres, J. (1999) Louis Paul Boon. Het vergeefse van de droom, Nijmegen: Uitgeverij SUN.Google Scholar
  19. Nabokov, V. (1995 [1948]) ‘Signs and symbols’, Collected stories. Vladimir Nabokov, London: Penguin Books, pp. 598–603.Google Scholar
  20. Postma-Nelemans, H. (1974) Het perspectief in ‘Menuet’, H.D. Groningen: Tjeenk Willink.Google Scholar
  21. Rimmon-Kenan, S. (1983) Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics, Second edition, London; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Rosenbach, A. (2008) ‘Animacy and grammatical variation—Findings from English genitive variation’, Lingua 118: 151–171.Google Scholar
  23. Sanford, A. J. and Emmott, C. (2012) Mind, Brain and Narrative, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Sato, M. and Bergen, B. K. (2013) ‘The case of missing pronouns: does mentally simulated perspective play a functional role in the comprehension of person?’ Cognition 127: 361–374.Google Scholar
  25. van Bergen, G. (2011) Who’s first and what’s next. Animacy and word order variation in Dutch language production, PhD dissertation, Radboud University Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  26. van Dalen-Oskam, K. (2013) ‘Names in novels: an experiment in computational stylistics’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 28: 359–370.Google Scholar
  27. van den Oever, A. (2008) Life itself: Louis Paul Boon as innovator of the novel, Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press.Google Scholar
  28. Vogels, J. (2014) Referential choices in language production: The role of accessibility, PhD dissertation, Tilburg University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations