Linguistic Approaches to Poetry
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Current theories of meter tend to rely exclusively on stress-based properties. This paper argues that certain phenomena in Spanish metrics — some well-known, some neglected — should be accounted for in terms of intonational primitives. Any standard stress-based metrical pattern will be compatible with several Pierrehumbert-style intonational configurations, but there can also be alignment conflicts between stress and tone which cause metrical tension and/or unmetricality. As a case in point, the Spanish (hen)decasyllable, which has two possible stress patterns, discourages lines in which the intonational structure corresponds to the pattern that is not actually instantiated by them. Intonation-based treatments are also proposed for assonance and for the caesural features of the Spanish alexandrine.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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