Linguistic Approaches to Poetry
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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This is a study of some metrical peculiarities of a corpus of 159 Egyptian-Arabic quatrains. The light CV-syllable, accepted in all metrical positions, is the exclusive type in three of the eleven positions of the standard line, but it figures together with heavy syllables in the eight remaining positions. Does quantity, therefore, matter in a restricted number of cases only? The riddle is solved by distinguishing between two classes of CV-syllables, depending on whether the vowel is lax or tense: CVlax is always light, CVtense is generally heavy, but light in a weak metrical position. Other findings concern CVCV, which may fill several strong positions in the metre, and CVVC, which may be either heavy or superheavy. Superheavy CVVC can fill a strong + weak position, or, together with CVlax, two strong positions. Nothing of the sort occurs in classical Arabic; still, classical and vernacular Arabic metrics are related to a point where the existing differences are easily overlooked. Only a thorough investigation of the vernacular metres on their merits can establish the exact relationship between classical and vernacular prosodic systems.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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