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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) |Volume VI, Issue X, October 2022|ISSN 2454-6186

A Cognitive Stylistic Analysis of Selected Poems of Abba Gana Shettima

Dr Muhammad Aliyu SAJO1*, And Dr Armiya’u Malami Yabo2
1Department of English and Literary Studies, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
2Department of Academic Services, National Teachers’ Institute, Kaduna, Nigeria
*Corresponding Author

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Interpretation of poetry has been very challenging to its readers especially students of language (Regis, 2013, p.1). Cognitive stylistics is an approach to the study of texts which entails the application of theories and concepts in cognitive linguistics to enhance the understanding of poetry which compresses information in few words. Therefore, cognitive stylistics “focuses on hypothesising how the reading process facilitates the interpretation of texts” (Jeffries & Mclntyre, 2010, p.126). The aim of this paper is to conduct a cognitive stylistic analysis of two selected Nigerian poems in order to highlight how cognitive stylistic features are calibrated in the texts to construct meaning. The objectives are to: (i) identify the types of cognitive stylistic features in the poems; and (ii) determine how cognitive stylistic concepts enhance the understanding of the poems. Among the findings of the study were that 22 cognitive stylistic features were identified in the two texts studied. The study employed descriptive and analytical methods through identification, description and interpretation of the data from the selected texts. The study concluded that cognitive stylistics is effective in the study and interpretation of poetry hence, it could be used in the study and teaching of poetry to enhance better understanding and appreciation of poetic texts.


Interpretation of literary texts especially poetry requires an understanding of various theories and concepts to help a reader to fully understand writers’ messages and intentions in the texts. Cognitive stylistics appears to be an aspect of cognitive linguistics which employs various concepts in human discourse processing. Jeffries and McIntyre (2010, p.126) argue that cognitive stylistics focuses on hypothesising about what happens during the reading process and how this influences the interpretation that readers generate about the texts they are reading. Stockwell (2002a) states that cognitive stylistics is all about reading literature. It is based on the assumption that readers also engage in creative reconstruction and imaginative construction of meaning from reading literary texts. Therefore, cognitive stylistics as a discipline which this study employs, explores literary creativity in most of its aspects (see Stockwell, 2015). This work is an approach to the assumption that reading is an active process and that readers consequently play an active role in constructing the meaning of texts which is one of the tenets of cognitive stylistics. The study is being conducted to ease readers’ difficulties in the decoding of literary texts specifically poetry. It is being carried out to add to available scholarly works in the study and teaching of poetry by using cognitive stylistic concepts. It is expected that the findings from this study would lead to