1932

Abstract

Generative metrics studies versification as a stylization of phonological form. This review article outlines its main goals, hypotheses, and findings and presents a template-matching version of it, which models meters as mappings of abstract verse patterns to their permissible linguistic instantiations. It lays out the key features that verse rhythm shares with rhythm in other cognitive domains and distinguishes it from biological rhythms, offering evidence suggesting that these features are rooted in the language faculty. After a review of the typology of stress-, weight-, and tone-based meters, the predictions of the theory are illustrated in more detail with an analysis of Shakespeare's blank verse. The theory is extended by modeling conventions of setting poems to music as an interface between composition and delivery. English text-setting, which privileges natural phonological stress and phrasing, even at the expense of the poem's meter, lineation, and caesuras, is contrasted with other traditions in which text-setting is more faithful to meter. The negotiation of phonology and meter in song provides a sensitive probe into the prosodic organization of language.

Keyword(s): meterprosodyrhythmstresstext-settingverse
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2020-01-14
2024-06-24
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