Linguistic Approaches to Poetry
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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This paper deals with the metrical and rhythmical foundations of the formulaic style of ancient Arabic poetry. It is first shown how proper formulas can match different verse-patterns, by means of slight modifications such as the adjunction, deletion or substitution of conjunctions, prepositions, interrogative pronouns or aspectual markers, which partly behave like “stop-gaps”, keeping the meaning unchanged while modifying the metrical pattern of the formula. The analysis is then extended to “rhythmical formulas”, i.e. to combined metrical and word-stress patterns which serve as models for a great number of “formulaic expressions”. Word boundaries may be specified, as well as some morphological and syntactical informations, so that expressions derived from a same rhythmical formula can be classified into a number of more or less abstract subcategories. Finally, the syntagmatic combination of rhythmical formulas into lines leads to the identification of a small number of prototypical verse-instances underlying the various actual instances of a same verse-pattern.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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