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stress clash

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stress clash

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:52 pm

Trying to understand greek meter, I was reading The phonology of Classical Greekmeter*
CHRIS GOLSTON and TOMAS RIAD and having trouble understanding it, particularly the discussion of stress clash. In the middle of the paper, pages 32ff in the pdf, pages 130ff in the journal, there is a discussion of stress clash in Dactylic hexameter. My basic problem with this is I don't understand how stress works with meter in Ancient Greek. Could someone give a very simple example of a stress clash in Dactylic hexameter and explain it in plain English?

We show that some Greek meters are rhythmic while others are not.
Specifically, Greek anapestic meter is rhythmic because it manifests a
perfect succession of trochaically grouped moras. This means that meters
that are not anapestic must be arrhythmic one way or another. We show
that dactylic meter is marked by constant stress clash and that iambic
meter is marked by constant stress lapse; these meters, then, are rhythmically
marked, not rhythmically perfect like the anapest.


One rhythmic regularity stands out very clearly: EVERY VERSE FOOT CONTAINS
A STRESS CLASH. This is the clearest surface difference between dactylic and
anapestic meter. While anapests lack a specific and predictable rhythm,
dactyls have a stable, recurring, ARRHYTHMIC property. Stress clash occurs
in every verse foot, six times per line in every one of the 28,000-some lines
of the Iliad and Odyssey. This simple observation belies the arrhythmic
nature of dactylic hexameter.Relentless stress clash follows necessarily from
the nature of the meter (HLL or HH) and the phonological foot of the
language (the moraic trochee). This could not have escaped the Greek ear,
and we therefore propose that stress clash is not an unintended byproduct
of the meter but its defining rhythmic characteristic.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: stress clash

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:38 pm

Another fascinating but less than perfectly lucid affirmation in this article found on page 48 in the pdf, page 146 in the journal:

Iambic meter is thus the
phonological opposite of dactylic meter, which violates NOCLASH.
Indeed, we can now see why later Greek metricians called the six-foot
meter of tragedy trimeter and the six-foot meter of epic hexameter. They
were apparently counting how many times the rhythmic anomaly
occurred per line. In epic there are six violations of NOCLASH per line
because there is stress clash in every verse foot (HLL or HH). In drama
there are only three violations of NOLAPSE per line because there is
stress lapse only between PAIRS of verse feet.


The violation of constraints labeled NOCLASH and NOLAPSE are used to identify and distinguish epic hexameter from Iambic meter. There are obviously other features used used to identify and distinguish but the constraints NOCLASH and NOLAPSE require a criteria for identifying a CLASH and a LAPSE which is the focus of my question. What do these look like? My first guess on CLASH was that it involved two consecutive light syllables or two consecutive heavy syllables but further reading didn't substantiate this. At this moment I haven't discovered what a LAPSE would look like. Still reading the paper which is written from a linguistic framework that I am vaguely familiar with, some sort of latter-day spinoff from generative linguistics. Two essential notions "constraints" and "markedness" both foundational to the framework used in this paper.

UPDATE
From page 150
Rhythm and weight
a. NOCLASH
Stressed syllables are not adjacent.
b. NOLAPSE
Unstressed moras are not adjacent.
c. PROKOSCH
Stressed syllables are heavy.


page 138-139

So why moraic lapse instead of plain syllabic lapse? In a language with
moraic trochees, heavy syllables (H) are always stressed and the first of
a pair of light syllables (LL) is stressed as well. When a single L syllable
follows, we get HL and LLL. The notion of a syllabic lapse covers only
the latter configuration, where the two last light syllables are both
unstressed (LLL).

(58) NOLAPSE12
Unstressed moras are not adjacent
Note that anapestic and dactylic meters never give rise to violations of
NOLAPSE, because they both begin and end in bimoraic—and therefore
lapseless — sequences. Their moraic prominence always reads (x.x.),
whether (HH), (HLL), (LLH), or (LLLL). This is equally true, obviously,
of any pair of these verse feet. Thus the iambic arrhythmy we have
uncovered not only defines every iambic metron, it also distinguishes
those metra from the anapestic and dactylic metra discussed earlier.


This appears to answer the question but illustrations would be helpful. Perhaps I can mine some illustrations from the paper itself. The citations are all transliterated which makes them hard to read.
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Re: stress clash

Postby cb » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:36 pm

hi, i'm sure these guys must be right, but i have no idea what they're talking about personally, it's all beyond me.

on your question on how stress works with meter, once again that's not something i know about sorry: i use the reconstructed pronunciation which goes up and down (pitch) and has longs and shorts (length in time) but not stress, and so there's nothing to clash.

the bit that says "This means that meters that are not anapestic must be arrhythmic one way or another" for me does not actually say anything about greek meter, but just involves words, they've just redefined the word "rhythmic" within their own theory.

to understand greek meter you may find it helpful to supplement your reading of this article with an old-fashioned book on greek meter.

cheers, chad
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Re: stress clash

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:49 pm

cb wrote:

the bit that says "This means that meters that are not anapestic must be arrhythmic one way or another" for me does not actually say anything about greek meter, but just involves words, they've just redefined the word "rhythmic" within their own theory.

cheers, chad


Thank you Chad,

Your right about redefinition of standard vocabular. I agree that this paper isn't an easy read. I suspect that one source of confusion is words with common meanings are redefined without notice. STRESS as it is used in this paper doesn't have anything to do with accentuation. Here is another paragraph that talks about it from page 110.
In order to find a pattern in Greek meter one has to look past the
accented syllables to how syllable weight (quantity) is arranged. A canonical
Greek iamb is LH and it does not matter if the L or the H (or both,
or neither) gets the primary word stress; anapestic LLH and dactylic
HLL can have a lexical stress on any or none of the three syllables.
Lexical stress is not what is regulated in Greek meter.
What matters is syllable weight. Not surprisingly, syllable weight in
Greek meter is determined just like syllable weight in Greek phonology.
Syllables that end in a single short vowel ( pe, la) are light; all other
syllables are heavy, including those that end in a long vowel ( pe:), a
diphthong (lai ), or a consonant ( pet, lak). For those not familiar with
Greek phonology it is worth emphasizing that although heavy syllables
are always stressed (Allen 1968, 1973), light syllables are not always
stressless. I


I am still trying to understand what these people are saying. I have some old school books with chapters on meter. They are reasonably accessible. But being a long-time reader of linguistics the C. Golston and T. Riad paper is a challenge even if in the end we all end up disagreeing with the conclusions and rejecting the framework.

I also have a paper Introduction to Greek Meter William S. Annis January 2006 which I have read along with the other. Put one of M. West's books on hold and will read it.

Thanks for commenting.
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