One mechanism of Russian poetic language

Keywords: metre, meaning, Russian poetry, rhythm, pronoun

Abstract

Traditionally, the phenomenon of the semantic aura of the verse metre was regarded exclusively as historically determined; the question of a potential synaesthesia (the imitative potential possessed by the rhythmic structure of a poetic text) was essentially disregarded. This paper aims to approach the problem of “metre and meaning” from the perspective of possible actualisation of certain language forms in the metrical structures of binary and ternary metres; in other words, to analyse how the metrical nature of verse determines its basic semantic model. We have come to the conclusion that the fundamental difference between Russian binary and ternary metres lies in the level of rhythmical prominence of metrically dual words, the majority of which are pronouns. The very structure of binary metres suggests a constant possibility for pronouns to be in proximity to an unstressed syllable and to receive more or less heavy stress. In ternary metres pronouns find themselves inside the circle of metrical stresses and, being inevitably adjacent to either the preceding or the following one, lose their accent and are swallowed during pronunciation. The latter, in turn, results in weakening of deictic and anaphoric language functions and undermines the established logic of textual development. That is where different, i. e., poetic, mechanisms of creating meaning come to the fore. Ternary metres put rhythmic stress on notional words, creating — in accordance with the law of poetic analogy and via omission of intermediary elements — linguistically unpredictable associations between them; binary metres emphasise semi-notional and functional words, stressing the logical and grammatical order of text development.

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Published
2019-10-02
Section
Applied Linguistics