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> On 02/06/2014 22:47, Jeffrey Brown wrote:
> 
> But listening to anapaests all day would surely be
> monotonous and there'd be little variety in verse.
> Interesting things like counterpoint would not be possible.
> 
> Yes, there is reason why one could not construct such a
> language.  Having learnt it, it would be quite possible to
> speak and write such a language.
> 
> But there's probably a good reason why no natlang AFAIK
> works like this - variety makes life interesting  :)
> 

There's no reason to limit oneself to anapests - systems of metrical poetry have ways of splitting longs into shorts and merging shorts into longs. Even if one did restrict oneself to anapaests, there's always fun in the sandhi, gradation tricks, lenition, or (as you'll see below) tonal contrasts.

I've been reading articles downloaded from the Conlangery podcast recently, and came across two languages that might provide a pause for thought. In Yabem, an Austronesian language of the North Huon Gulf, the canonical structure of a root is either iambic (short-long) or cretic (long-short-long) - I'm using short and long syllables here because I was classically trained in Latin and Greek. If the long syllable of an iambic foot contains an obstruent, the tone associated with that obstruent (high or low) provides the tone for the entire foot. The precise rules are more complicated than that, but the metrical structure of the languages is important for both voiced contrast and lexical tone.

http://people.umass.edu/jkingstn/web%20page/research/tonogenesis2.pdf

I also read the article on roots, themes, and bases in Hill Patwin, a  Wintuan language of California, of Penutian stock. That was 57 pages, but the motivation for all the changes in vowel length, reduplication, etc., was to produce a base that conformed to the canonical shape of a Patwin base, a cretic, which then could undergo ablaut to produce another series of canonical forms depending on whether the previous base was "long" or "short", to which latter forms the inflectional morphology not already incorporated (has anyone done a conlang with plural object verbs?) could be affixed.  It might not be surface level, but that's a lot of work to do if the speakers don't care about metrical constraints.

http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/~survey/documents/survey-reports/survey-report-1.02-whistler.pdf