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In general, phonetics studies the characteristics and potential utility of human vocal noise (D.Crystal, 1990). Varieties of spoken English tend to be primarily differentiated through non-segmental phonological features as:

· stressed and unstressed syllables variation;

· variations in pitch (normal, widened, narrowed, monotone pitch-ranges);

· variation in loudness (from pianissimo to fortissimo including piano and forte in between);

· variations in speed (clipped, drawled and held syllables; lento-lentissimo-allegro-allegrissimo, accelerando and rallentando);

· pause variations (unit, brief, double, treble pauses);

· variations in rhythmicality (rhythmic v arrhythmic, spiky v glissando, staccato v legato utterences).

There is also a number of paralinguistic features which are vocal effects caused by different configurations of the glottal and supraglottal organs: whispery voice, breathy voice, husky voice, creaky voice, resonant voice, spread voice.


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3. Арнольд И.В. Стилистика современного английского языка.- Л.,1981

4. Y. M. Skrebnev “Fundamentals of English Stylistics” – M., 2003

5. A.N. Morokhovsky O.P. Vorobyova, N.I. Likhosherst and Z.V. Timoshenko “Stylistics of the English Language” – Minsk, 1987

6. Виноградов В.В. «О языке художественной литературы» - М., 1989

7. Шуверова Т.Д. Стилистика английского языка: конспект лекций для студентов филологических специальностей Чебоксары: ЧГУ, 2002

8. Кухаренко Практикум по стилистике английского языка М.1973

9. Казарцева О.М. Культура речевого общения. Теория и практика обучения. М., 2001.

10. Soshalskaya E.G., Prokhorova V.I. Stylistic Analysis. Moscow: High School, 1976

11. V. A. Kukharenko Seminars in Style – Mосква, 1971

12. Maltzev V.A. Essays on English Stylistic. - Minsk, 1984


Theme 7.




Prosody as a theory of poetry

I. Rhythm and its characteristic features.

Metre and its types.

Number of feet.

The Stanza. Number of verse lines.

II. Rhyme.

Types of rhyme.

2. The functions of rhyme.

Prosody as a theory of poetry.Prosody is a theory of poetry – the systematic study of versification, metrical structure, the rhythmic and intonational aspect of language.

Prosody (from Greek προσωδία) is the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech. Prosody may reflect the emotional state of a speaker; whether an utterance is a statement, a question, or a command; whether the speaker is being ironic or sarcastic; emphasis, contrast and focus; and other elements of language which may not be encoded by grammar.

Poetry can be analyzed as to its form and its content. Ideally, the two should reflect and reinforce each other in expressing the message of the poem.
Form is seen in rhythm, metre, number of feet, number of lines, and rhyme.

I. Rhythm and its characteristic features. The flow of speech presents an alteration of stressed and unstressed elements. Rhythm exists in all spheres of human activity and assumes multifarious forms. It is a mighty weapon in stirring up emotions whatever its nature or origin, whether it is musical, mechanical or symmetrical as in architecture. The pattern of interchange of strong and week segments is called rhythm (Y.M.Skrebnev). Rhythm is a flow, procedure, characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features, as beat, or accent, in alternation with opposite or different elements or features. (Webster’s New World Dictionary). Rhythm is primarily a periodicity, which requires specification as to its type.

Rhythm reveals itself most conspicuously in music, dance and verse. In language it necessarily demands oppositions that alternate: long, short; stressed, unstressed; high, low, and other contrasting segments of speech. It is flexible and sometimes an effort is required to perceive it. If rises and falls occur periodically at equal intervals, the text is classified as poetry. On the other hand, if there is no regularity, no stable recurrence of stressed and unstressed segments, the text is an example of prose.

Blok’s opinion of rhythm: “The poet is not one who writes verses, but the barer of rhythm”. As we know, verse has its origin in song, so the musical element has assumed a new form of existence – rhythm.

Rhythm has meaning – it intensifies and specifies emotions. It contributes to the general sense.

The most obvious rhythmical patterns in prose are based on the use of certain SDs: enumeration, repetition, parallel constructions and chiasmus. As the emotion becomes tenser, the rhythmical beat shows itself more evidently:

“…there passed the thought confused and difficulty grasped that he had only heard her use it,…” (S. Maugham. The Painted Veil).

/ ─│/ ─│/ ─│/ ─│//│/ ─│//│/ ─│/ ─│/ ─│/,

Where / represents an unstressed syllable, ─ a stressed one, │means a pause.

Almost any piece of prose, though in essence arhythmical, can be made rhythmical by isolating words or sequences of words and making pauses between each.

1. Metre and its types. The smallest recurrent segment of the line, consisting of one stressed syllable and one or two unstressed ones is called foot. The structure of the foot determines the metre, i.e the type of poetic rhythm of the line. In classical verse rhythm is perceived at the background of the metre. Rhythm in verse as a SD is defined as a combination of the ideal metrical scheme and the variations of it, which are governed by the standard.

Metre is any form of periodicity in verse, its kind being determined by the character and number of constitutuent syllables (V.M. Žirmunsky). In accented verse rhythm manifests itself in the number of stresses in a line, and in prose by the alternation of similar syntactical patterns. The metre is a strict regularity, consistency and unchangeability.

English has stressed and unstressed syllables. English is considered a stress-timedlanguage. In poetry, stressed and unstressed syllables are often put together in specific patterns. In poetry these patterns are called meter, which means 'measure'. The meters you find in poetry are the same ones we use in everyday speech. The main difference is that in speech these patterns tend to occur spontaneously and without any special order; in poetry they are usually carefully chosen and arranged.

Types of metres. There are 5 possible combinations of stressed and unstressed syllables – two disyllabic varieties of feet and three trisyllabic ones. Disyllabic metres are called trochee and iambus, trisyllabic are dactyl, amphibrach and anapest.

Disyllabic metres.

trochee (Gk. trochaios 'running'). The foot consists of two syllables; the first is tressed: / _ . Disyllabic words with the first syllable stressed demonstrate the trochaic metre: duty, evening, honey, trochee, etc.

Iambus (Gk iambos a pre-Hellenic word). Two syllables, where the first is unstressed _ / . E.g. mistake, prepare, enjoy, behind, etc.

Trisyllabic metres.

Dactyl (Gk. daktylos 'finger' with one long, two short joints). The stress is upon the first syllable; the subsequent two are unstressed: / _ _. E.g. wonderful, beautiful, certainly, dignity, etc.

Amphibrach. The stress falls on the second (medial) syllable of the foot, the first and the last are unstressed, _ / _ , e.g.: returning, continue, pretending, etc.

Anapest (Gk. ana 'back' + paiein 'to strike', i.e., a reversed dactyl). The third (last) syllable is stressed _ _ /, e.g.: understand, disagree, interfere, etc.

There are still other meters, but these are mostly from Greek and Latin poetry (spondaic (spondee; Gk sponde 'solemn libation', which was accompanied by a solemn melody) and consists of two consecutive long, stressed syllables:/ /; and pyrrhic (from a word for an ancient Greek war dance); this is a metrical foot having two short or unstressed syllables _ _), and they are not applicable to English poetry.
Often the same rhythm will not be used throughout a whole poem, or even a whole line; there may be an extra beat here, one omitted there; or the meter may simply change. Poets often seem to establish a regular pattern, but then put in something 'unexpected' to startle the reader, or to achieve some special effect.
2. Number of feet. Each group of symbols containing just one long, stressed syllable / is called a foot, and counting the number of feet is one way of determining the length of a line of poetry. The metrical characteristics of a verse line depend on the number of feet in it. Here are the literary terms for each line length as regards number of feet, e.g. trochaic lines:

monometer one foot /-;

dimeter two feet /-/-;

trimeter three feet /-/-/-;

tetrameter four feet /-/-/-/-;

pentameter five feet /-/-/-/-/-;

hexameter; six feet /-/-/-/-/-/-;

heptameter seven feet /-/-/-/-/-/-/-.

The number rarely exceeds eight. In some English poetry the metre is irregular. Feet may also be hypometric (incomplete), as /-/-/ or hypermetric (with superfluous syllables), as /-/-/--.

e.g.: …And the dawn comes up like thunder

On the road to Mandalay. (R. Kipling).

--/---/-|--/---/ Anapestic dimeter hypermetric in the second foot.

If not only the number of feet in a line is irregular, but also the quality is varied, we can call it free verse.

3. The Stanza. Number of verse lines. Two or more verse lines make a stanza (also called a strophe). It is the largest unit in verse. It is a verse segment composed of a number of lines having a definite measure and rhyming system which is repeated throughout the poem.

The number of lines may be a clue that a poem belongs to a special verse form, for example, a sonnet, a limerick, which normally has five lines. A poem or stanza with one line is called a monostich, one with two lines is a couplet; with three, tercet or triplet; four, quatrain. six, hexastich; seven, heptastich; eight, octave.

E.g. of a limerick:

There was a young lady of Niger

Who rode on the back of a tiger

They came back from the ride

With the lady inside

And a smile on the face of the tiger.

II. Rhyme.Rhyme is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sound combination of words. Rhyming words are generally placed at a regular distance from each other. In verse they are usually placed at the end of the corresponding lines. Identity and similarity of sound combinations may be relative.

1. Types of rhyme.

We distinguish between:

a) complete/exact/full/identical rhymes (might-right) and incomplete/slant/half/ approximate/imperfect/near/oblique. The first provides an approximation of the sound: cat, cot; hope, cup; defeated, impeded. rhymes (vowel - flesh-fresh-press; consonant – worth-forth), and eye-rhyme (love-prove, Niger-tiger). The full rhyme repeats end sounds precisely, e.g. cap, map; rhymes.

Incomplete rhymes can be divided into two main groups: vowel rhymes and consonant rhymes. In vowel-rhymes the vowels of the syllables in corresponding words are identical, but the consonants may be different as in flesh - fresh -press. Consonant rhymes, on the contrary, show concordance in consonants and disparity in vowels, as in worth - forth, tale - tool -treble - trouble; flung - long.

Eye rhyme looks as though it should rhyme, but does not, e.g. great, meat; proved, loved.

b) single (masculine)–double(feminine) - apocopated - triple.
The first ends up with a stressed syllable, another includes two syllables, of which only the first is stressed. Apocopated rhyme pairs a masculine and feminine ending, rhyming on the stress: cope, hopeless; kind, finder. The third involvesthree syllables with two unstressed (dactylic) syllables after a stressed one, e.g.: dreams-streams; duty-beauty; tenderly-slenderly.

c) simple (eye-rhyme)-compound (mosaic). Modifications in rhyming sometimes go so far as to make one word rhyme with a combination of words; or two or even three words rhyme with a corresponding two or three words, as in "upon her honour - won her", "bottom –forgot them- shot him". Such rhymes are called compound or broken. The peculiarity of rhymes of this type is that the combination of words is made to sound like one word - a device which inevitably gives a colloquial and sometimes a humorous touch to the utterance. Compound rhyme may be set against what is called eye - rhyme, where the letters and not the sounds are identical, as in love - prove, flood - brood. It follows that compound rhyme is perceived in reading aloud, eye - rhyme can only be perceived in the written verse.

According to the way the rhymes are arranged within a stanza, certain models have crystallized:

1. couplets – the last words of two successive lines are rhymed – aa;

2. triple rhymes – aaa;

3. cross rhymes – abab;

4. framing/ring rhymes – abba.

There is still another variety of rhyme – internal, which breaks the line into two distinct parts consolidating the ideas expressed in them.

The functions of rhyme.Thefunctions of rhyme are essentially four: pleasurable, mnemonic, structural and rhetorical. Like meter and figurative language, rhyme provides a pleasure derived from fulfillment of a basic human desire to see similarity in dissimilarity, likeness with a difference. As a mnemonic aid, it couples lines and thoughts, imprinting poems and passages on the mind in a manner that assists later recovery. As a structural device, it helps to define line ends and establishes the patterns of couple, quatrain, stanza, ballad, sonnet, and other poetic units and forms. As a rhetorical device, it helps the poet to shape the poem and the reader to understand it. Because rhyme links sound, it also links thought, pulling the reader's mind back from the new word to the word that preceded it.

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