Rhythm Manipulation of Read Poetic English

Erika Moreno, University of Texas at El Paso


Spoken English and poetic English are different. Spoken English is divided into sentences which can be further divided into smaller units such as words and individual sounds within those words. This hierarchical structure has clear marks of emphasis that we may or may not be conscious of in our production. In written English these divisions can be represented by commas or semicolons where there is a break in speech stream. In spoken English, strong breaks are represented by pauses or silences. English speakers have an internalized sense of divisions and links that order the language (Attridge, 1995). It is also true that poetic English, like spoken English, is divided into the same hierarchical structure. The fact that English itself is carried on a stream of syllables (Attridge, 1995) is important. These syllables may be stressed differently in order to give emphasis to a word in a line of a poem. This emphasis gives deeper meaning to the semantics of a poem. Stress in syllables can be identified as intensified or produced with more energy, indicated by being longer in duration, louder in volume, unique in pitch, or a combination of the three (Attridge, 1995). Poetry has a structure that is followed and kept consistent. This structure is called meter, which gives poetry rhythm and melody (Hobsbaum, 1996). Meter is made up of different patterns of feet, or combinations of stressed and unstressed syllables. This particular rhythm that is established varies depending on how a writer wishes their poems to sound. This research seeks to answer the following questions: RQ1:Can stress be influenced by reading a previous poem in a different rhythm? RQ2: Is there a default rhythm of poetic English? (Shortened by ProQuest.)

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Recommended Citation

Moreno, Erika, "Rhythm Manipulation of Read Poetic English" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28089042.