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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1338  Saturday, 18 May 2002

From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 May 2002 06:28:05 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 13.1325 Re: Accents
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1325 Re: Accents

> I do wonder quite what we are trying to prove in this thread.  To take
> one example that has been offered as some sort of test case:
>
> > > Disconsolate friends of Bill and Elaine
> > >  w  s  w s     w     s   w   s   w  s
>
> This is not an 'iambic pentameter' because it is unambiguously a
> four-beat line, and its dominant pattern is X//  (or 'dactylic' if you
> must).
>
> It's not  'unmetrical'; or at least it's only 'unmetrical' in a context
> of expectation where it is either assumed that ten syllables 'ought' to
> be iambic pentameter, or where it is surrounded by lines that are
> five-beat lines with a norm of alternating stress and unstress.  It
> would be easy to imagine it as a perfectly 'metrical' line in another
> context.
>
> Professor David Lindley
> Head, School of English

Sorry, I must have been unclear.  I'm using "unmetrical" in a relative
and perhaps technical sense, not in some absolute sense.  Given that we
were talking about i.p., I used it to mean "ruled out as a possible i.p.
because of its prosodic structure", a judgment you appear to agree with.
A classicist from Adelaide once complained that the motto of my
university, "ancora imparo", was "ungrammatical", meaning "ungrammatical
Latin"; he was right, of course, but he overlooked the fact that it was
perfectly grammatical Italian ("I'm still learning").  I shall try to
dot mu "i"s and cross my "t"s in future.

Dr Peter Groves
Left Big Toe, Department of English

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