How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 The Alley
 Syllable counting   [ Page: 1  2  3  ]
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Syllable counting

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Sue
Member
since 08-04-99
Posts 407
France


0 posted 08-18-99 07:15 AM       View Profile for Sue   Email Sue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sue

Why do so many people think that counting syllables is all you need to do to make a poem flow? Meter is not only dependent on the number of syllables, but on where the accent lies - so many good poems I see here would be great poems if everyone remembered this.

Compare the two following verses, and you will see what I mean:

Skies are turning grey
Nights becoming chill
Migrants fly away
Their summer song is still

Skies are turning grey
Nights becoming chill
The birds fly away
Their summer song is still

Perhaps if our poets were to read their poems out loud to themselves they would be able to feel the difference?
DreamEvil
Member Elite
since 06-22-99
Posts 2442


1 posted 08-18-99 08:20 AM       View Profile for DreamEvil   Email DreamEvil   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit DreamEvil's Home Page   View IP for DreamEvil

I see perfectly. Not just the accented syllables but where the syllables are grouped and placed, balancing the syllables toward one end or the other or even the middle of the line changes the effect profoundly. It is a technique I'm working on now.

------------------
Shall I indulge in flights of fancy hampered by clipped wings?
DreamEvilŠ


Nan
Administrator
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


2 posted 08-18-99 08:25 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

All righty, guys - You know I can't stay away from this one.....

(All of my wonderful free-verse friends - block your ears - um....eyes!!)

Poetic meter is not just a matter of syllable count - A poem that is written with a rhyme scheme, but still sounds "forced" is most likely not in proper meter - Conversely, a poem that "sings" to you will most likely be written with both intact - "rhyme and meter"

So, how to assess your meter? Here's a brief synopsis:
There are two elements to proper meter - the number of "feet" per line, and the pattern of stressed syllables (ergo the syllable count thingy).

Let's start with the pattern of stressed syllables - It's much more than just counting to make sure you have an equal number on each line. The patterns are?

...iambic - (short/long) - (e.g. - re-PLY')
...trochaic - (long/short) - (e.g. - REA'-son)
...anapestic - (short/short/long) - (e.g. - in-ter-FERE')
...dactylic - (long/short/short) - (e.g. - SYL'-la-ble)
...spondaic - (long/long) - (e.g. - HEART'BEAT')
...pyrrhic - (short/short) - (e.g. - darned if I know, this one's tough)

So, combine a rhythm of iambic, trochaic, or the like - with a specified number of "feet" (repetitions of stressed pattern) and you have a poetic rhapsody.

...monometer -
....One foot per line - (e.g. - "Be-HOLD!" - iambic monometer)
...dimeter -
....Two feet per line - (e.g. - "Re-FLEC-tions FOUND" - iambic dimeter)
...trimeter -
....Three feet per line - (e.g. - "Yes, it AL-ways takes TWO side by SIDE" -
......anapestic trimeter)
...tetrameter -
....Four feet per line - (e.g. - "TWIN-kle, TWIN-kle, LIT-tle STAR" - trochaic tetrameter)
......one syllable shy - btw -
...pentameter -
....Five feet per line - (e.g. - "Our VI-sion NOW be-STOWS the BLIND with SIGHT" -
......iambic pentameter) This format is used for any properly written sonnet
......(along with a specified rhyme scheme in 14 line format)
...hexameter = six feet
...heptameter = seven feet
...octameter = eight feet......

So, my dear friends... if that isn't sufficient, hang around and we'll get into the use of imagery.. and you free versers had better listen on that one!!!!!!!
Nuff said - Go away now, Nance......





[This message has been edited by Nan (edited 08-20-99).]
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


3 posted 08-18-99 09:41 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I believe Nan's comments will be posted in an upcoming newsletter for everyone to enjoy.

-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-

That's how I count the syllables....
Alicat
Member Elite
since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas


4 posted 08-18-99 10:20 AM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Thank you Nanners for the 'fresher course. Sure beats having to open another window to follow poetic primer links.


Alicat
JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


5 posted 08-18-99 11:03 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Thanks Nan. I copied and printed that lesson for further study (sadly, that was the first real less in poetry that I have ever recieved - isn't public education marvelous?)

Waiting for the lesson on imagery now...

------------------
Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP


Lucie
Senior Member
since 06-20-99
Posts 1123
Houston


6 posted 08-18-99 04:39 PM       View Profile for Lucie   Email Lucie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lucie

ummmm.... huh? hahah.. lost again.
elvira
Senior Member
since 07-06-99
Posts 985
California


7 posted 08-18-99 05:20 PM       View Profile for elvira   Email elvira   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for elvira



[This message has been edited by elvira (edited 08-22-99).]
Angel
Senior Member
since 07-02-99
Posts 597
Pennsylvania


8 posted 08-18-99 07:21 PM       View Profile for Angel   Email Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Angel

I am confused! I never had any of that stuff in school, actually we never even really wrote poetry other than this year. I usually have trouble with my meter, too. I just can't do it!
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


9 posted 08-18-99 07:42 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I never took poetry in school...there was a little bit about how it's constructed in Senior English...
Sue
Member
since 08-04-99
Posts 407
France


10 posted 08-19-99 05:18 AM       View Profile for Sue   Email Sue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sue

Thanks, Nan, for the quick digest - I knew some of it, but by no means all. I always find that the more theory I know about something, the easier it is to do. Any time you have anything to add, I'll be there with my tongue hanging out.
LngJhnAg
Member Elite
since 07-23-99
Posts 3654
Boot+Kitty=Poetry in motion


11 posted 08-19-99 06:53 AM       View Profile for LngJhnAg   Email LngJhnAg   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LngJhnAg

Nan

I understand the idea of meter - but I have a lot of trouble with the difference between long and short - for example: your example of iambic (short/long) was the word "reply." I would have thought 'reply' was long/long (phonetically speaking). Am I pronouncing 'reply' correctly? I say it as 'ree-ply' - is it really 'ruh-ply'? Is that where I'm going wrong - my diction? HELP!!!
Sue
Member
since 08-04-99
Posts 407
France


12 posted 08-19-99 04:16 PM       View Profile for Sue   Email Sue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sue

Diction. Definitely. It has to rhyme with 'the fly'
Balladeer
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


13 posted 08-19-99 06:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Don't tell Long John to rhyme something with a "fly". God only knows what kind of poem we'll get!!!!

LGA, in answer to your question, it IS:

re-PLY
REE-fer
RUG-RAT
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


14 posted 08-20-99 03:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'm new here. But, I'm just amazed that people are actually interested in talking about meter. Nan's primer (and where have I read that before?) is a great, concise way of remembering all those patterns (I have this problem of forgetting big words).

I've got a couple of additions to what has been talked about before:

LngJng: I think maybe this is a problem with the terminology we use to describe stressed and unstressed syllables: 'long' and 'short' come, not from phonetics, but from the poetics of Greek and Latin where the actual duration of the syllable counted (I guess, I don't know but that's what people tell me). English speakers adopted the terms to describe our poetry but it's confusing for some of the problems you mentioned. It's where you put the accent that really counts:
conTRACT (verb) versus CONtract (noun).

2. Elvira: If you're a non-native English speaker you may have problems hearing the subtler stresses in English. Many of my students don't see a difference between say
university and universe city (even if you say it fast, there is a difference). If you actually practice listening, you'll get it in time. At the same time, you probably notice things in English that a native speaker generally doesn't -- not a bad thing for a poet, don't you think?

Okay, there's my two cents. But, if anyone's interested, I'll try to talk about the three different types of English stress later.

Well, I hope somebody found this interesting.
Brad
Nan
Administrator
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


15 posted 08-20-99 07:13 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

Hey Brad


It's about time you got here - I've had the coffee on forever, it seems....
Welcome to the Big Leagues (don't be telling secrets out of school, either).
Thanks, I can use your help on this one for sure. So, put on your pedagogical pallium and dig in....



------------------
Nay, if our wits run the Wild-Goose chase, I am done:
For thou hast more of the Wild-Goose in one of thy wits,
Than I am sure I have in my whole five.
~ ˛1592 Wm. Shakespeare ~ Romeo & Juliet ~ ii. iv. 75




[This message has been edited by Nan (edited 08-20-99).]
Sue
Member
since 08-04-99
Posts 407
France


16 posted 08-20-99 01:54 PM       View Profile for Sue   Email Sue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sue

I found it very definitely interesting! Welcome, the more experts we have here the happier I will be!
Majere
Junior Member
since 08-18-99
Posts 34


17 posted 08-20-99 02:49 PM       View Profile for Majere   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Majere

Um... Nan? I know I am not an English teacher or anything like that but shouldn't Brad put on his Andragogical Pallium and dig in? There are more adults around here than children aren't there?

Just wondering....

------------------
Such is the way to immortality ;)

Sue
Member
since 08-04-99
Posts 407
France


18 posted 08-20-99 03:01 PM       View Profile for Sue   Email Sue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sue

Or gynagogical, us adults aren't all males, you know!
LngJhnAg
Member Elite
since 07-23-99
Posts 3654
Boot+Kitty=Poetry in motion


19 posted 08-20-99 05:13 PM       View Profile for LngJhnAg   Email LngJhnAg   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LngJhnAg

I feel as though I have found the Lost Dutchman Mine of poetry. Thanks for the help, Brad. I can't believe how lucky I am! man! Time for me to get started.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


20 posted 08-22-99 11:23 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, I tried to do this in depth but got kicked off the internet so I'll have to give a quick definition of what I was talking about. By the way, I am not an 'expert' in poetry -- I am a student/teacher of language and communication strategies. Poetry is a hobby.

Anyway, here are the three types of stress:

semantic stress: this one's easy. Any two syllable or more word has an accent on one of the syllables. If the word has more than two syllables it has a primary and secondary stress (generally, both are considered a stress in poetry). If you have a problem, check a dictionary.

grammatical stress: important words are stressed more than unimportant words concerning meaning. What is an important word? You tell me --ex: Life and death are important.

rhetorical stress: This is based entirely on the context of the conversation and/or pattern of the poem (this needs examples but I can't give them right now).

Quickly:

i LIVE in KoREa. (this is normal)
I (stressed) live in KoREa.
I live IN KoREa.
i live in KOREA.

Sorry, I can't do more for now. I will continue later. But, these are some of the things you can play with as a poet.

Please, have fun with this,
Brad
CrAyZeD
Junior Member
since 08-03-99
Posts 43


21 posted 08-22-99 05:23 PM       View Profile for CrAyZeD   Email CrAyZeD   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for CrAyZeD

HUH?
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


22 posted 08-22-99 09:54 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'll assume you really didn't understand what I said (and if you were being facetious, please have a good laugh at my expense). I'll begin at the beginning, not because I think you're stupid but because we may actually disagree on the basics.

What is stress?

Stressed and unstressed syllables are a way of describing the different emphasis, pitch, duration (and others) that two English syllables have in relationship to each other.

Outside of a context, any one syllable word has no stress -- 'life' 'man' 'tree'

The moment you have two syllables, you have one that is stressed more than the other:
'woman' 'a man' 'lively'-- Can you hear it?

Potentially, there is an infinite amount of variation among stressed and unstressed syllables; poets use a binary system to describe what they do because it is the simplest way to explain what they do. It is not a science; it is not absolute; it is relative.

Believe it or not, all this is is a way of describing how you speak in English everyday.
The terminology may throw you off but you do it every time you speak.

And next, I'll talk about meter.

Hope this was necessary and that you're not laughing too hard,
Brad
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


23 posted 08-26-99 10:32 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Hey, is anybody interested in meter? If I have inadvertantly offended anyone, I apologize. I'm just trying to show that meter's roots come from the everyday language we use (yeah, I watch TV and listen for this stuff sometimes). Even if you write free verse, an understanding of stress can help you at least control your language.

Was this too easy? (Brad, I KNOW this already)

Was this too boring? (your eyes glaze over and you think -- who cares, I just want to write).

My own experience in high school and college when it came to the teaching of meter was less than satisfactory (more confusing than enlightening) but maybe not for everyone?

So, where are people on this subject?
If you don't care, please tell me.
If you thought my comments were superfluous, tell me.

I want to talk about this but not just to myself (I can do that without a computer).
Thanks,
Brad

traveler
Member
since 08-17-99
Posts 122


24 posted 08-30-99 04:27 PM       View Profile for traveler   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for traveler

Go on Brad ... just following along
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> The Alley >> Syllable counting   [ Page: 1  2  3  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors