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Zeman, Sonja (2016): Orality, visualization, and the Historical Mind. The 'visual present' in (semi-)oral epic poems and its implications for a Theory of Cognitive Oral Poetics. In: Antović, Mihailo and Pagán Cánovas, Cristóbal (eds.) : Oral Poetics and Cognitive Science. Linguae & litterae, Vol. 56. Walter De Gruyter. pp. 168-195

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With the aim of bringing together oral poetics and cognitive linguistics, this chapter addresses the present tense as one of the most prominent patterns of both visualization and oral narratives. By examining present tense usage in Middle High German (semi) oral epic poems, it will be argued that its main function cannot be accounted for in terms of 'vividness' or 'concreteness'. Rather, it lies within its meta-narrative usage as it simulates a complex relationship of simultaneity between narrator, audience, and the story world, and thus contributes to establishing a shared experience in the sense of a common ground. Through a comparison of the medieval and Homeric tradition, the analysis leads both to a specification of parameters for cross-linguistic comparisons of oral poetic texts and to significant modifications with respect to 'orality' and 'visualization' as key constructs for a Theory of Cognitive Oral Poetics.

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