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Journal of Literary Semantics

An International Review

Founded by Eaton, Trevor

Ed. by Toolan, Michael

CiteScore 2017: 0.38

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.122
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.575

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Volume 43, Issue 1


The role of cognitive coherence in non-expert processes of literary discourse reception

Pilar Alonso
Published Online: 2014-04-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2014-0001


This study focuses on the role played by cognitive coherence in non-expert readers' comprehension of structurally complex cases of literary discourse, both poetry and prose. Based on evidence from classroom-acquired data, it supports the claim made by mainstream sources that, in authorial creative uses of structural coherence, non-expert readers may invoke alternative mental patterns of coherence from non-specific cognitive domains to fill up difficult portions of text (cf. Grabe 2009). The search for cognitive coherence is thus used as a default comprehension strategy to satisfy non-experts' needs for mental model construction, especially when there are failures in the implementation of other linearity-based coherence-related comprehension strategies, such as early topic establishment (Giora 1997), reference based on proximity as a builder of discourse coherence (Hobbs 1996), and comprehension based on relevance and the achievement of cognitive effects at low processing cost (Wilson and Matsui 2000).

Keywords: cognitive coherence; non-expert readers; literary comprehension

About the article

Published Online: 2014-04-03

Published in Print: 2014-04-01

Citation Information: Journal of Literary Semantics, Volume 43, Issue 1, Pages 1–23, ISSN (Online) 1613-3838, ISSN (Print) 0341-7638, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2014-0001.

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