On Mon, 13 Nov 2000, LeoMoser([log in to unmask]) wrote:

> From: "jesse stephen bangs" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 1:25 PM
> Subject: Re: Hiatus in Artlangs
> > <clip>
> > In poetry it would probably be variable, since most languages have
> > allowances for reduction or elongation of vowels to meet poetic
> > demands.
> I wonder if this is unversally the case. It may
> be largely European languages that do this.

I don't know about "universal", but Shoshoni has several processes
which serve to increase or decrease vowel length. Here's a short
"poetry song" which illustrates several metrical devices (I've
capitalized stressed syllables; <y> is high, central, unrounded; <dz>
and <gw> are single segments; long vowels are written double):

     PAAtuTYMbi           Black water rock,
     PAAtudzyGAA'yu       Black water shining,
     PAAsoniPENgwinux     Two water-grass fishes
     PAANgymaVI           On the water's edge.

     - Frank Perry (Shimkin 1947: 349)

The larger structure is a 5-7-7-5 mora quatrain (kind of a haiku with
an extra middle line). The normalized phonemic representation is given
below (again with stressed syllables capitalized):

     1  PAA   TUU   TYM  -pin
        water black rock -ABS

     2  PAA   TUU   TSYka -'yu
        water black shine -DUR

     3  PAA   SOni  PENkwi -NYwyh
        water grass fish   -DUAL

     4  PAA   -n    KYma -pi
        water -POSS edge -on

Some of the poetic devices which can be seen by comparing the
normalized version with the actual song are:

a.  vowel shortening: /tuu/ -> [ru] (1, 2)
b.  haplology: /-nywyh/ -> [-nux] (3)

Both vowel shortening and haplology reduce the mora count in the line.

c.  vowel lengthening: /tsyka/ -> [dzygaa] (2)

Vowel lengthening increases mora count in the line.

d.  destressing: /TUU/ -> [ru] (1, 2); /SOni/ -> [soni] (3); /KYma/ ->
[gyma] (4)

Destressing resolves clash, where two stressed syllables are adjacent.

There are other devices which are not illustrated in this little song.
These include vowel devoicing, which also decreases mora count (the
idea is that voiceless vowels are non-moraic), and realizing
underlying geminate voiceless stops as homorganic nasal-voiced stop
clusters (the word /huuppin/ 'stick' is realized as [huumbi] in
several Western Shoshoni songs).

Also, many Native American songs make frequent use of "vocables",
nonsense syllables which serve to fill out a metrical pattern.


Dirk Elzinga
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