Poetic means in Polish literature

Poetic means, also called stylistic means or means of artistic expression, are most often found in poetry, although they are also very common in prose. These are the elements of language that affect the imagination of the recipient.

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Poetic means are intended to evoke specific emotions in the reader. They also help to convey certain content that cannot be conveyed outright.

In Polish, poetry is divided into five groups:

  • phonetic,
  • inflectional,
  • word formation,
  • lexical,
  • syntactic.

1. Poetic means - phonetic

Among the phonetic means of poetry, the following are distinguished:

  • onomatopoeias - imitating natural sounds using words that sound similar to them, e.g. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes ("Locomotive" by Julian Tuwim)
  • repetition - helps to emphasize important content and emphasize it in a poem,
  • anaphora - starting successive sentences or stanzas with the same word or words, e.g. Quick, wake up, quick, get up. || Quickly, quickly, the coffee is cooling down! || Quickly, wash your teeth and hands! (...) ("Quickly" by Danuta Wawiłow)
  • epifora - repeating the same word or words at the end of successive lines or sentences, e.g. a sonnet by Sebastian Grabowiecki

2. Poetic means - inflectional

The inflectional means of poetry include:

  • archaisms - words, phrases and grammatical forms typical of old eras, unused today, e.g. godly, travel, support, works, inn (examples of lexical archaisms in "Bogurodzica")
  • neologisms - newly formed words in accordance with the grammatical rules of a given language, e.g. flavor (wish someone tasty), screening, give (provide)

3. Poetic means - word formation

Word-forming stylistic means include:

  • diminutives - most often express tenderness, sympathy, although they may also indicate malice, irony, e.g. kids, Christmas tree,
  • thickenings - most often indicate people or objects that we refer to with contempt, reluctance, e.g. old man.

4. Poetic - lexical means

Among the lexical stylistic means are:

  • synonyms - synonyms whose meanings are similar, e.g. house - building - building,
  • animation - assigning features of living creatures to objects, natural phenomena, e.g. the wind is moaning,
  • hyperbola - deliberate exaggeration in the description of a phenomenon or object, e.g. mad with blood,
  • personification - assigning human characteristics and activities to animals, objects, phenomena, e.g. weeping willow,
  • euphemism - a word or phrase used to soften vulgar, drastic expressions, e.g. you are missing the truth instead you lie
  • metonymy - replacing the proper word with another one in a specific relationship with that word, e.g. I read Mróz, we will discuss Mickiewicz,
  • periphrase - replacing a word denoting an object, activity, feature with a metaphor, e.g. sun - fire star,
  • synecdoche - using the name of a whole to designate a part (and vice versa), e.g. novel instead prose,
  • symbol - a linguistic sign that has, apart from its literal meaning, other, hidden, e.g. torn pine (S. Żeromski),
  • comparison - a word connection whose parts are connected by a conjunction or an adverb, e.g. pitch black,
  • epithet - a description of a noun, emphasizing the characteristics of an object, e.g. mighty oak (constant epithet), Golden Heart (figurative epithet), azure sky (decorative epithet).

Animization, personification, metonymy, periphrase, synecdoche, oxymoron, euphemism, and hyperbola are types of metaphor.

5. Poetic means - syntactic

The syntactic means of poetry are:

  • rhetorical question - a question that is not expected to be answered,
  • apostrophe - a direct return to the described person, object or phenomenon in an exclamation point, e.g. Lithuania! My fatherland!
  • anacoluty - sentences that do not have the correct syntax structure,
  • inversion - a conscious change of words.

A syntactic poetic means is also the way of joining sentences (conjunctional or non-conjunction).

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