Publication details [#17628]

Pinder, Daniel William. 2022. Line divisions as stylistic devices in poetry: Relevance, procedural encoding and ad hoc concepts. Journal of Pragmatics 190 : 45–59.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


This article adopts a relevance-theoretic approach to the study of line divisions in non-metrical free verse poetry. The article argues that, when positioned at particular points within a poetic text's constituent structure, line divisions can take on procedural-like qualities, in that they perceptually highlight particular elements of the text's linguistically encoded material, thus steering the inferential interpretation process in particular directions. The article also argues that the procedural-like qualities of line divisions can interact with relevance-driven inference, and with the generic convention for interpreting poetic texts in a non-spontaneous fashion, to produce arrays of cognitive effects, which likely would not have been derived had the text been arranged in a less visuospatially segmented manner. Furthermore, the article suggests that the conceptual material relating to these effects may map back onto and adjust the text's lexically encoded content, affecting how particular elements of this content are narrowed and/or broadened, and thus the nature of the resulting ad hoc concepts.