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On 10/07/2018 17:02, Logan Kearsley wrote:
> In light of the current discussions on historical origins of 
> well-known rhythms and alliteration and syllable structure....
> 
> Listening to the radio on the way to work this morning, I was struck 
> by an interesting structure in the song "Timber"; the first two lines
> of the chorus go like this:
> 
> It's going down, I'm yelling timber You better move, you better 
> dance
> 
> Translating this literally into just about any other language would 
> result in something fairly non-sensical, but one can abstract out a 
> particular kind of *semantic* structure (as opposed to phonological) 
> that could form the basis of a poetic form, and give direction to a 
> possible translation.

[snip - but found the two paragraphs very interesting]

It reminded me of the use of parallelism in ancient Hebrew poetry,
obviously in the psalms but found elwhere in the Hebrew scriptures.
It's semantic prallelism.

[snip]
> 
> Aidan mentioned in the alliteration thread that Japanese poetry
> cares only about rhythm, and neither rhyme nor alliteration.
> However, "proper" haiku, for example, are more consistently defined
> by a particular semantic structure, which typically has to be fit
> into a limited metrical space, than they are by the meter itself.

Yep.

> So, there's some natlang precedence for formalized 
> semantically-structured poetry.

Oh yes, indeed, there certainly are.

Also while alliteration and assonance and, indeed, internal rhyme are
found for effect in ancient Greek and Classical Latin verse, what
distinguished verse from prose was, as in Japanese poetry, rhythm.

It's because poets have used so many many different techniques in
different places at different times that I found the question "Have any
of you created a conlang, (one of) whose design goals was that it
would be easy to write poetry?" meaningless.

Poetry is essentially something _creative_.  A good poet will push
language to its limit, and the way s/he does can, as we have seen, vary
very considerably and, indeed, as Logan has reminded us, does not solely
rely on phonology.

Also why would one want to make a language _easy_ for poetry?  IME if
something is easy to do, the results are often trite.  Great poetry IMO
is produces despite the limitatations of a language.

If it had been easy for Latin to accommodate the meters of Classical
Greece, we would never have got the lyrical poetry of Horace or the
hexameters of Vergil.  It was because the phonological structure of
Latin, with a greater preponderance of heavy syllables and - the real
problem - word stress, that made it so darned difficult.  But the
challenge was met and the result was great poetry   :)

Ray