Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose

Wagner P (2012)
In: Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication. Niebuhr O (Ed);Berlin/New York: de Gruyter: 219-236.

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Book Chapter | Published | English
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Niebuhr, Oliver
Abstract
This paper examines the durational and perceptual properties of iambic, trochaic and dactylic meter in a large corpus of read German poetry and prose. Prominence patterns - e.g. alternations of stressed and unstressed syllables - are metrically underspecified since they lack information of foot boundaries. Such boundaries differentiate poetic meter, e.g. by specifying whether a foot starts or ends with a stressed syllable. Psychoacoustic evidence related to foot boundary placement is not straightforwardly applicable to speech. It is still possible that metrical grouping in poetry (and possibly prose) is merely an artefact of listeners's expectations based on rhythmic alternations previously heard. Our study reveals small but significant differences of the durational characteristics between iambic and trochaic feet. Furthermore, it was found that stressed and unstressed syllables are produced with a fairly stable phase relation of 3:2, independent of meter. Dactyls show the same relative timing patterns as trochees, but reverse phase relations. Experience in poetry reading and musical training plays a role in the poetic production style. Prose reveals similar, albeit less regular phenomena. On the level of prosodic prominence, meter specific phenomena are revealed as well. These are explicable with a listener's tendency to perceive foot initial rather than foot final (iambic) stress.
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Wagner P. Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose. In: Niebuhr O, ed. Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter; 2012: 219-236.
Wagner, P. (2012). Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose. In O. Niebuhr (Ed.), Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication (pp. 219-236). Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.
Wagner, P. (2012). “Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose” in Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication, ed. O. Niebuhr (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter), 219-236.
Wagner, P., 2012. Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose. In O. Niebuhr, ed. Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, pp. 219-236.
P. Wagner, “Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose”, Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication, O. Niebuhr, ed., Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2012, pp.219-236.
Wagner, P.: Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose. In: Niebuhr, O. (ed.) Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication. p. 219-236. de Gruyter, Berlin/New York (2012).
Wagner, Petra. “Meter specific timing and prominence in German poetry and prose”. Prosodies – Context, Function, Communication. Ed. Oliver Niebuhr. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2012. 219-236.
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