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Morae (was: Re: Lurkers, poetic forms)

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 25, 2000, 16:51
On Tue, 25 Apr 2000, Raymond Brown wrote:

> At 5:41 pm -0400 24/4/00, Nik Taylor wrote: > >Shreyas Sampat wrote: > >> Incidentally, is mora a purely Japanese term? > > > >Nope, I've also seen it used of Ancient Greek (I'm not sure if it > >applies to Modern Greek), where it's important for stress, something > >like the stress can never be any further than the third mora from the > >end. > > Not stress - pitch. The ancient Greek word accent was a pitch accent. > > In discussing this, W.S. Allen makes a distinction between the Greek use of > morae in determining the pitch accent, and the Latin use of syllabic > quantity in determining its stress accent. But his use of the term is IMHO > misleading.
It is now generally recognized that syllable weight can be based on the length of the vowel as well as on the presence of a coda consonant (creating a closed syllable); languages will vary with respect to this option. Latin, as you pointed out in your message, allows consonants to fill morae, while other languages do not (Shoshoni is an example of such a language). Dialects of Eskimo have the peculiar property of allowing consonants to fill morae only in the first two syllables of the word; after that, it's all vowels.
> >However, I believe that the exact definition varies from language > >to language, but it's basically a rhythmic unit. > > Or maybe from linguist to linguist :)
:-) Among researchers in the generative tradition, I believe that there is consensus now that a mora is a unit of syllable weight, regardless if that unit is filled by a vowel or a consonant. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga