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Aoidoi.org: Hexameter Localization

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Aoidoi.org: Hexameter Localization

Postby annis » Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:54 pm

The next time some commentator says "this word is emphatic because it's located here in the line", check the localization tables: Localization in the Hexameter.

Probably most people do not think of statistical tables when they think of literary analysis, but where a strict meter is involved, they can be quite useful. The article linked to above is a summary of a much larger work, but I hope the abbreviation will be useful.

Both the tables and the last section on syntactic localization should be useful for people into verse comp.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Postby chad » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:06 am

hi will that's awesome thanks. it would be useful if you could pls also add some hexameter comp lines and show how you've used the statistics.

as you know i've done something similar with iambics. i've just put my iambic comp notes online to show how you can use statistics like this to compose grk iambic verse (see e.g. the annotations to schein 1979 and dik 1998 in my answers to sidgwick's exercises):

http://www.freewebs.com/mhninaeide/GrkI ... Apr-06.pdf

(see the table of contents as well: i've summarised the localisation statistics from schein 1979 and dik 1998 in this doc.)

it's useful for composers to know there are 2 main types of "localisation" statistics for any greek verse:

(a) some statistics tell you how certain shapes fit into the metrical pattern. you can use these statistics if you have a certain word you want to fit into the line, and want to know the best place to put it. (will's summary of o'neill on hexameter above, and dik 1998 on iambics in my document above, fit into this category).

(b) other statistics look at the line itself, and show you whether certain positions are typically long or short or resolved &c. you can use these if you've half-completed a line, and want to know how best to fill the remaining blanks. (will mentions van raalte in his doc, who covers this for hexameter. i've mentioned some of the statistics for this in my iliad b scansion notes:

http://www.freewebs.com/mhninaeide/Ilia ... xt2006.pdf


and for iambics, schein 1979 covers these statistics: see my summary in my iambic doc linked above).
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Postby swiftnicholas » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:03 am

Thanks Will, it looks great, I can't wait (to try) to read it. :)

~N
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Postby edonnelly » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:11 am

I wish I understood verse well enough to benefit from this interesting work.

Statistical analysis of poetry, hmmm, I don't know why, but it feels like the kind of thing Bardo might have an interesting opinion on.
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Postby annis » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:35 am

edonnelly wrote:I wish I understood verse well enough to benefit from this interesting work.


I don't know how much verse you have read so far. I'd recommend you keep it handy when you read Homer with a commentary at hand. Every time the commentator says something is "emphatic" — a word I trust less every year — because of it's location, check the localization tables. When the supposedly emphatic word is of a shape that occurs in that location 40% of the time, the commentator had better have more reasons than just location to make the claim.

Statistical analysis of poetry, hmmm, I don't know why, but it feels like the kind of thing Bardo might have an interesting opinion on.


That has occurred to me as well.
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Postby 1%homeless » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:52 am

Thank you again for making another obscure topic more accessible. :) Maybe a particles article next? :wink:

Edit: In case it matters, the file name lost an n.
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Postby annis » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:56 pm

1%homeless wrote:Maybe a particles article next?


I don't feel at all ready to tackle that. I needed to finish the localization paper before I move on to the word order summary. Other articles will need to wait for a few more poem commentaries to be finished.

Edit: In case it matters, the file name lost an n.


It amused me to pretend the word was Latin.
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Postby auctor » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:11 pm

Will,

An interesting and thought-provoking essay but I wonder whether you have you done the subject full justice yet. I get the impression that you are suggesting that certain words fit in certain places in a line more often than not due to their prosodic shape rather than their 'emphatic' purpose. If this is the case shouldn't your tables also indicate the relative emphasis of the words that you are testing? I wonder how many times an epithet, or synonym, has been used simply because the 'bald' word wouldn't fit at the spot where the writer would've preferred.

Your proposal would appear to throw the technique of enjambment out of the window.

I don't believe that ancient versifiers were slaves to the metre in same way that modern (or more accurately, non-native speakers) are--they wrote as they did because they felt certain word orders, or positions in a verse, did carry more emphasis.

This is far from a criticism, rather it should be understood as more of a continuation of the theme. I should be interested to hear (read) your thoughts.

Paul
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Postby annis » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:51 am

William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby auctor » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:47 pm

I've scrubbed my reply--I screwed up the quoting thingummy. I shall try again after the w/e when I've read O'Neill and the follow up articles.
Sorry,
P
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Postby annis » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:39 pm

auctor wrote: I shall try again after the w/e when I've read O'Neill and the follow up articles.


Shortly after this article was published O'Neill stepped back from academic work, and 6 years later killed himself (never be the child of someone famous). Little of the future work he mentions in the article seems to have been done.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Postby auctor » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:18 am

Okay Will, (and other readers, of course)

I have a copy of the YCS article to hand which I have read with great interest. Unfortunately, with my being inately unable to manage to quote within quote within quote ktl., I'm afraid you'll have to bear with my long-hand method.

O' Neill has cleverly collated modern (though, often early) thought and his statistical evidence into a well presented and considered essay. As you point out, the work is (or, was; his personal history, sad though it is, alters not its academic value) not complete.

I fully agree that some words must go in some places in a verse (be it dactylic hex. or iambic or lyric, it doesn't matter) but I am still a little concerned about your opening gambit ... "next time some commentator says that a word is emphasised because of its place...", or similar. As far as I have seen, O' Neill makes no reference to 'emphasis', he merely considers the placement of prosodic shapes within any certain verse form. I remain more than happy to agree with his, and your, conclusions from that. But what I cannot agree with, which I think you assert but O' Neill does not address, is that fact that certain places in a verse are not more, or less, 'emphatic' than others. To wit, I believe that the first piece of information in a Greek sentence IS more emphasised than what follows, be that sentence prose or verse (despite your dismissal of Dennison's scholarship elsewhere on these forums) . The last piece of information supplied is also somewhat emphasised (the listener has been waiting for it), no more so than when it is an enjambed word. When this final piece of info. does appear it comes as a revelation, especially with enjambment. I believe, not naively I hope, that ancient poets had the ability to consider prosodic shape and meaning simultaneously, as modern poets do.

I am also a little concerned that we appear to have no knowledge of the ancients being aware of these statistical data. If verse were written in the fashion that you suggest, presumably taking O'Neill's lead, wouldn't we have some reference to these data somewhere? Could such a valuable piece of info. have become lost?

In conclusion, I agree absolutely that prosody dictates word position in quantative verse; but I cannot accept that 'emphasis' should be ignored--the ancient poets were better than that, I believe. O' Neill simply considered word shape (by his own admission); we owe it to him to continue his work by taking 'meaning' into account too.

My comments and thoughts herein are the result of a cursory consideration in light of your catalyst, and emphatically not, a long thought out study.

without prejudice, but with regards,
Paul McK
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Postby annis » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:35 am

auctor wrote:To wit, I believe that the first piece of information in a Greek sentence IS more emphasised than what follows, be that sentence prose or verse


Again I have to ask you why you believe this.

There is a world of difference between the first and last elements of a sentence and the first and last elements of a verse. They may overlap, but hardly do so always.

(despite your dismissal of Dennison's scholarship elsewhere on these forums) . The last piece of information supplied is also somewhat emphasised (the listener has been waiting for it),


It is true that in Latin, and to a lesser degree English, the final position of a clause may be considered emphatic, but I have yet to see any demonstration that this is true in Greek. And the business about the listener having to wait for information seems like a just-so story to me, I'm afraid.

My current understanding of Greek word order comes from several readings of Helma Dik's Word Order in Ancient Greek: A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus (the BMCR has a lengthy and informative review), and to a lesser extent Dover's work Greek Word Order (which I have to say I don't really grok yet). I hate to send you to the library again, but Dik's work should not be missed.

You're going to have to show me examples of a persistent pattern of clause-final emphasis in Greek before I'm prepared to accept the idea.

I am also a little concerned that we appear to have no knowledge of the ancients being aware of these statistical data. If verse were written in the fashion that you suggest, presumably taking O'Neill's lead, wouldn't we have some reference to these data somewhere? Could such a valuable piece of info. have become lost?


Why not? We have almost no information at all about how poets were trained. And even so, I'm not sure why you ask this. We have the tables, and we can go recount if we want — the tables make it clear that something was passed down through the poets for 100s of years that resulted in the consistent localization we see.

In conclusion, I agree absolutely that prosody dictates word position in quantative verse; but I cannot accept that 'emphasis' should be ignored--


ὃ μὴ γένοιτο! While I'd be happier to see the word "emphasis" tossed about a great deal less, I'm certainly not saying the idea should ignored. I am saying (1) we should be suspicious when our 19th century commentaries offer "it's at the head of the verse" as the main justification for the supposed emphasis of a word, and (2) any discussion of word order in verse must balance an understanding of prose order on the one hand and on the other the constraints of the meter — including the transparent effects of localization, whatever its origins.
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Postby auctor » Tue May 02, 2006 10:13 pm

Will,

There is no problem sending me to our library--I spend more time there than I do at lectures (which should be understood postively rather than negatively!). Yes, I 'know' Sir Kenneth Dover's work quite well.

Having spent the last few days pondering on O' Neill, I am inclined to agree with his proposals (or 'findings' is perhaps a better word) but I still have a problem with your opening gambit in this thread. O' Neill, it seems to me, makes no such suggestion about 'emphasis', but you do. Rather he admits in his opening paragraph that he has made no attempt to consider anything other than the prosodic shape of individual words. I accept that certain shapes of words appear more regularly in some places of a verse. But, and in this I disagree with your suggestion, poets DO use position and word order to emphasise certain words--I am convinced of that. That is what makes good poetry good and bad poetry bad. Ancient poets "danced in chains" (someone said, the precise citation is beyond my immediate memory) and as such would use a synonym if the required word wouldn't fit in the verse where they would have wanted it to.

For you to back up your assertion needs much more work: work that I would be interested in following up, but not until next academic year I'm afraid.

I know that I should no more mix messages than I should metaphors, but your comment that 'many professors haven't read the entire Iliad' vel sim, is preposterous. At KCL I am taught by two professors, one of whom has translated and commented on the Iliad (the other is a Latinist by preference). The remaining (Greek) lecturers have all had books and articles published on many aspects of the Homeric corpus. I fear that the American use of the word 'professor' is not quite so tight as ours--either that or your professors should come to England to complete their classical training :wink:

cheers,
Paul McK
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Postby annis » Tue May 02, 2006 11:10 pm

auctor wrote:O' Neill, it seems to me, makes no such suggestion about 'emphasis', but you do. Rather he admits in his opening paragraph that he has made no attempt to consider anything other than the prosodic shape of individual words. I accept that certain shapes of words appear more regularly in some places of a verse. But, and in this I disagree with your suggestion, poets DO use position and word order to emphasise certain words--I am convinced of that.


Paul, I have said at least twice now that word order and verse position may be used to convey emphasis. I don't dispute that. I do dispute that verse position alone can, especially when the potentially emphasized word goes in that slot most of the time. Are we to take every first and last word of a line as emphatic?

And as for drawing conclusions from O'Neill's statistical tables, there's nothing surprising about this. By themselves they are a meaningless exercise. The results need to be interpreted, and there's nothing really shocking or novel about my interpretation here. Helma Dik's work on trimeter localization is anticipating her work precisely about the relationship between word order, verse position and emphasis.

For you to back up your assertion needs much more work: work that I would be interested in following up, but not until next academic year I'm afraid.


:lol:

I'd say your assertion needs more work, too. For example, what principle allows me to determine which of the 10s of 1000s of first words I am to take as emphatic, and which not?


I know that I should no more mix messages than I should metaphors, but your comment that 'many professors haven't read the entire Iliad' vel sim, is preposterous. taught by two professors,


Ask them how many professors of Greek they think have read the entire Iliad.
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