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Generated metrical form and implied metrical form

Fabb, Nigel (2006) Generated metrical form and implied metrical form. In: Formal Approaches to Poetry. Phonology and Phonetics . Mouton De Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 77-91. ISBN 978-3-11-018522-5

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Abstract

Metrical verse is characterized by rules and by tendencies. In English iambic pentameter, a stressed syllable must be in an even-numbered position or first position if it is in a polysyllable; it will tend to be in an even-numbered position or first position if it is a monosyllable. This example demonstrates that there is an apparent relation between rule and tendency (they relate similar phonological characteristics to the same positions in the line), which raises the possibility that they should be explained together, and indeed this has generally been assumed. Howe¬ver, I will argue in this paper that rules and tendencies require completely different kinds of explanation. Rules are explained by a generative theory (specifically Bracketed Grid theory, Fabb and Halle (forthcoming)); tendencies are explained by a pragmatic theory (specifically Relevance Theory, Sperber and Wilson (1995)).