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Open Access A Linguistic Analysis of the Modern Greek Dekapentasyllavo Meter

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A Linguistic Analysis of the Modern Greek Dekapentasyllavo Meter

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Dekapentasyllavo (DPS), the dominant poetic meter in the Modern Greek poetic tradition since several centuries, has barely received any attention by modern linguistic theories. Basing our discussion on the analysis of several dimotiká tragoúdia (folk songs), we seek to understand the structure underlying the meter. Our investigation reveals which patterns are frequently attested, which are less frequent and those which are (virtually) inexistent. DPS verifies the oft-cited L-R asymmetry in verselines (cf. Ryan 2013), which renders L-edges looser than the stricter R-edges. It also tolerates stress lapses much more than stress clashes. Our ensuing account captures this distribution by referring to, primarily, the relation of phonological phrasing to counting of metrical positions and, secondarily, to rhythm. These components are then integrated within a formal analysis along the lines of the Bracketed Grid Theory (Fabb & Halle 2008). We conclude by outlining how DPS poses a challenge for theories of poetic meter and by contemplating its contribution to the field.

Affiliations: 1: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki topintzi@enl.auth.gr ; 2: Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main versastef@gmail.com

10.1163/15699846-01502004
/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-01502004
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Dekapentasyllavo (DPS), the dominant poetic meter in the Modern Greek poetic tradition since several centuries, has barely received any attention by modern linguistic theories. Basing our discussion on the analysis of several dimotiká tragoúdia (folk songs), we seek to understand the structure underlying the meter. Our investigation reveals which patterns are frequently attested, which are less frequent and those which are (virtually) inexistent. DPS verifies the oft-cited L-R asymmetry in verselines (cf. Ryan 2013), which renders L-edges looser than the stricter R-edges. It also tolerates stress lapses much more than stress clashes. Our ensuing account captures this distribution by referring to, primarily, the relation of phonological phrasing to counting of metrical positions and, secondarily, to rhythm. These components are then integrated within a formal analysis along the lines of the Bracketed Grid Theory (Fabb & Halle 2008). We conclude by outlining how DPS poses a challenge for theories of poetic meter and by contemplating its contribution to the field.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-01502004
2015-01-01
2017-11-22

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