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Re: Conlang Poetry, was Re: language change

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Monday, January 10, 2000, 5:05

You might want to look at Colleen Fitzgerald's paper in IJAL from last
year or the year before on Tohono O'odham (Papago) meter. This
language's poetic (song) tradition is also characterized by widely
differing line lengths, but she shows that there really are metrical
generalizations to be had. Something similar may be at work in Classical
Aztec (they're both Uto-Aztecan, after all!).

Some preliminary work I've done on Shoshoni poetry songs (Beverly Crum's
term) shows that it is mora-based. One common pattern has lines arranged
into couplets which total 13 (!) moras--the first line of any couplet
being longer than the second. I'm going to put together a grant proposal
to work on Gosiute songs (collecting, analyzing, and, if consultants are
willing, publishing). I'll keep you up to date if you're interested.


On Thu, 6 Jan 2000, Brad Coon wrote:

> Ed Heil wrote: > > > > Something like meter is a near universal. If you look at poetic forms > > worldwide you find "lines" -- units of speech and thought -- a few > > seconds long. They're the building blocks of poetic forms worldwide, > > whether they are defined in terms of feet, of units of parallelism, of > > numbers of morae, of numbers of syllables, of stress units, etc. > > > > Lines I won't argue with, what I had mind though was more along > the lines of patterned stressed syllables. I am supposedly working > with what are likely the oldest Aztec songs/hymns and line length is > quite variable. There are a lot factors at work here including > the fact that the Nahuatl is so archaic that a later commentary > by native speakers includes words to the effect of "we don't know > what these words mean" :) There are a number of so-called vocables, > meaningless syllables, usually after words but sometimes inserted > in words, that may or may not indicate some kind of rythmn. And there > is at present, no way of knowing just when the vocables were introduced > and if they messed up a regular pattern of line length. Or for that > matter how or if they were stressed. > > There is evidence the songs were accompanied by dancing but just about > anything dealing with Aztec music is wildly speculative. > -- > Brad Coon > > (My conlang and > conculture pages) > > If its tourist season, why can't we shoot them? >
-- Dirk Elzinga