Linguistics 251: Metrics


Gerard Manley Hopkins, hero and
conundrum to metrists
Click to hear


cotaught by:

Bruce Hayes
Russell Schuh

Department of Linguistics

       Jean Ritchie

Jean Ritchie, Appalachian folk singer--
the last to remember. 
Click to hear


Fauziyya Sarki Abubakar, Hausa singer.
Click to hear .


Metrics is the study of the deployment of phonological material (stress, syllable weight, phrasing) to manifest rhythmic patterns for artistic purposes. It is an old and traditional discipline but recent work has applied more sophisticated tools, offering hope of achieving improved rigor, insight, and analytical accuracy. These tools are often borrowed from current phonological work (notably, theories of stress and weight) but also from formal linguistics in general (constraint-based grammars, Harmonic Grammar, maxent, learning algorithms).

This course will be a "how-to" with illustrations.  We will cover empirical material from our respective areas of expertise (Hayes:  English iambic pentameter and folk song; Schuh:  quantitative verse of the Chadic languages, especially Hausa).  Contemporary issues to be addressed include the form of metrical grammars, gradient syllable weight (work of Kevin Ryan), and the three-way interaction of phonology, verse form, and sung rhythm in sung/chanted verse. Students will be encouraged to take on their own verse data and use the methods taught to analyze them.

Course Materials

The readings and other material are in Adobe PDF format.  To read PDF files, you have to have the free Adobe PDF reader on your computer.

Course outline with current readings as links

If you're curious what we covered you could read the course summary handout from Class 18.

Week 1

Class 1, 3/30/15

**    Intro; sample grammar with Old English (Bruce) handout
     -- pp. 139-164 of Morris Halle and S. Jay Keyser (1971) English Stress:  Its Form, Its Growth, and Its Role in Verse.  New York:  Harper and Row.
**    Intro to Hausa metrics; background (Russ)
     -- Schuh, Russell (2014) "Where did quantitative metrics in Hausa and other Chadic songs come from?", to appear in the Proceedings of the First International Conference on Endangered Languages, Kano.

Class 2, 4/1/15

**    How maxent grammars work (Bruce)  handout , spreadsheet
**    Hausa phonology (Russ) handout
     --Read:  Russ Schuh (1989) "Toward a metrical analysis of Hausa verse prosody: Mutadaarik"
     --Optional reading:  Russ Schuh (1989) "The metrics of three Hausa songs on marriage by D'an Maraya Jos"

Week 2

Class 3, 4/6/15

**    The English Iambic pentameter:  basics and fundamental constraints (Bruce) handout
        --Read:  Hayes, Bruce, Colin Wilson, and Anne Shisko (2012) "Maxent grammars for the metrics of Shakespeare and Milton," Language  88:691-731.
**    Basics of quantitative meters (Russ) Schuh handout #3
**    Hausa Mutadaarik —Socratic exercise (Russ) Schuh handout #4

Class 4, 4/8/15

**   Model evaluation (on Mutadarik); more on the iambic pentameter (Bruce)  handout
     -- continue reading Hayes/Wilson/Shisko
     -- optional reading:  Kiparsky, Paul (1977) The rhythmic structure of English verse.  Linguistic Inquiry  8: 189-247.
**   More on the Hausa Mutadaarik (Russ) Handout:  scansions of selected mutadarik poems

Week 3

Class 5, 4/13/15

**    Iambic pentameter:  the role of phrasing  (Bruce) handout
     -- reading:  Bruce Hayes (1989) "The Prosodic Hierarchy in meter" in Paul Kiparsky and Gilbert Youmans, eds., Rhythm and Meter, Academic Press, Orlando, FL, pp. 201-260 (1989).
**    The kaamil, waafir, and ramal meters of Hausa — exercise (Russ) Schuh handout 5
     -- reading:  Russ Schuh (1989) "The Meter of Imfiraji"

Class 6, 4/15/15

**    Hierarchical bracketing in the metrical pattern (Bruce) handout
**    Meter survey (Russ):  16-mora meters (mutadarik and its friends); 14 mora meters ramal, waafir, kaamil; 12-mora meter:  rajaz.  handout.

Week 4

Class 7, 4/20/15

**    Prosodic breaks in Hausa poetry (Russ) handout
**    The role of the grid in quantitative meters (Bruce) handout
       -- reading:  Alan Prince (1989) "Metrical forms."
**    Metrical analysis of rajaz in maxent  (Bruce)

General handout (Russ):  compilation of song samples for class meetings 4-6

Class 8, 4/22/15

**  Coding stress and phrasing in English  (Bruce) handout
     --Reading: B. Hayes (ca. 2010)  "Guidelines for  stress and juncture transcription"
**  Junctures and caesuras in Hausa poetry (Russ) handout

Week 5

Class 9, 4/27/15:  Singing I

Read:  Bruce Hayes (2009) Textsetting as constraint conflict.  In Aroui, Jean-Louis and Andy Arleo, eds. Towards a Typology of Poetic Forms. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 43-61 
**    Testing the final bridge with the Russian method (Bruce)
**   The basic theoretical issues with sung verse:  how many levels? (Bruce) handout
**    Learning a skill:  gridifying sung and chanted music;
       — class exercise in gridifying:  the Appalachian Jean Ritchie (Bruce)
       — class exercise in gridifying:  sung Hausa (Russ) handoutclass exercise
Bruce's handy-dandy Excel chi-square calculator.

Class 10, 4/29/15

**    The textsetting problem (Bruce) handout
        Read:  (1996) Bruce Hayes and Abigail Kaun.  The role of phonological phrasing in sung and chanted verse. The Linguistic Review 13, 243-303.
**     Finding lines in the continuous grid (Bruce)  [Optional reading:  "Are there lines in folk poetry?"]
     --Gridizing Hausa texts from sung performance (Russ) (handouts continued from last time)

Week 6

Class 11, 5/4/15

More on the three-level problem
**    The three-level problem in English and German art verse/classical music/hymnody (Bruce) [handout]
**    Three-levels in reverse order!  evidence from written verse based on sung verse in Hausa (Russ) [handout][Sound clips for handout 9]
        [Optional reading:  Schuh, "Text and Performance in Hausa Metrics"]

        Sound links for Bruce's lecture:  [Der Hoelle Rache] [O Isis und Osiris] [Der Vogelfaenger][Promised Land][Wenn ich mit Menschen]

Class 12, 5/6/15

More on singing/Quatrains I
**     Introduction to quatrain structure (Bruce) [handout]
        Reading:  Burling, Robbins (1966) "The Metrics of Children's Verse: A Cross-Linguistic Study," American Anthropologist 68, 1418-1441.
        Sound links for Bruce's lecture:  [Rubber Duckie] [The Golden Vanity (Jean Ritchie)]

        Mentioned in class:  Anderson, Victoria (ms., 1992) "The Rap of Young M.C.:  A Case Study of Eurhythmic Textsetting".  Plus data appendices (text, scansion):  1, 2, 3, 4

**   Oral and written versions of the Hausa ramal (Russ) [handout:  continuing with the Class 11 handout]

      Read for next week:  Hayes/MacEachern (1998) "Quatrain structure in English folk verse", Language 64, 473-507.

Week 7

Class 13, 5/11/15

Constraint based-analysis of quatrains (Bruce) handout
        Reading:  Hayes/MacEachern (1998)
**     Oral poetry in Hausa; a mystery meter (Russ) handout

Class 14, 5/13/15

**     Final-foot inversion in folk verse as faute de mieux; testing maxent vs. Stochastic OT for textsetting (Bruce) handout
**     Hausa praise singers (Russ) handout
        Read in preparation for next week:  Edward Flemming (2001) Scalar and categorical phenomena in a unified model of phonetics and phonology. Phonology 18:7:44

Week 8

Class 15, 5/18/15

**    The phonetics of singing in Hausa:  the principle of compromise and an analysis in maxent phonetics (Bruce) handout
        Sound file:  First ten stanzas of "Tutocin Shehu" as sung by Abubakar Ladan 
**     Stanza form in Hausa song (Russ) handout
       Read in preparation for next week:  Bruce Hayes and Claire Moore-Cantwell. Gerard Manley Hopkins's sprung rhythm: corpus study and stochastic grammarPhonology 28:235 282
       Optional reading on Hausa:  Bettina Hauessler (1987) The Interrelationship between Language, Music and Form in Hausa Oral Poetry (MA chapter)

Class 16, 5/20/15

**    The metrics of Bulgarian song (Russ) handout  music files

Week 9

No class Monday, Memorial Day

Class 17, 5/27/15

**    Syllable quantity in English:  folksong, ternary meters (Hanson), Gerard Manley Hopkins. Universal perspectives. (Bruce)   handout
       Read:  Ryan, Kevin M. (2011). Gradient syllable weight and weight universals in quantitative metrics. Phonology 28.3: 413-454.
       Background reading:  Hanson, Kristin (1991) Resolution in Modern Meters.  Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University. 

Week 10

Class 18, 6/1/15

**     First half:  course summary (Bruce) handout
**     Second half:  student presentation I (Fehr)

Class 19, 6/3/15

**     First half:   student presentation II
**     Second half:  student presentation III

Term projects due Monday 6/15