Essay On Equivalence In Poetry

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“Equivalence in difference is the cardinal problem of language and the pivotal concern of linguists" where the equivalence is a relational equivalence based on sameness within a system. While the choices in a selection set are bound by various types of equivalence relations – for example, the synonymous expressions ‘ill’, ‘sick’, ‘indisposed’, ‘not healthy’, ‘ailing’, etc. - it is generally not the case in referential speech that the elements combined are related to each other by any strong and striking equivalence relation – for example, with ‘Joe was too ill to eat dinner last night’, the relation between Joe and dinner is hardly describable in any strong way by equivalence, except in so far as they are both concrete nouns. In poetry, the projection of the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into…show more content…
In the referential speech, the relation between the linguistic sign and extra-linguistic 'objects’ would seem to be a close and almost automatic one. In other words, in the referential or emotive use of language, the linguistic sign and the non-linguistic sign are in interpretive relation with one another. In the poetic function of language, it is the interpretative relationship between linguistic signs which is important. In poetry, the relation between word and object is called into question. In the poetic text, a given word may be chosen not only because of its paradigmatic associations with other words in the linguistic code, but also because of its equivalence relations with other words in the text itself. The choice of one word may dictate the rest of the poem, whereas in non-poetic discourse, the words must 'make sense ' in terms of external factors. In poetry, the "internal relationships of the component parts are far more significant than their external references". In poetry, the word has to 'fit ' with other words, in prose; the word has to fit with the
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