DescriptionPublished as Coyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics from A-Z
AbstractThis paper has two goals. First, it seeks to establish that Middle English Alliterative Verse (MEAV) is a meter based on hierarchically organized prosodic constituents above the foot. In particular, I claim that MEAV is based straightforwardly on the Prosodic Hierarchy, as conceived of in work by Selkirk (1978, 1980, 1984, 1986), Hayes (1989) and others. Second, the account of MEAV advanced here requires reference to the notion of branching in prosodic structure above the foot, suggesting that branching may be a relevant property of prosodic constituent above the level of the syllable and foot2. Discussion proceeds as follows. In section 2 I outline the facts about Middle English Alliterative verse in general and in the poem Cleanness in particular, following recent work by Cable (1991). Section 3 presents a brief overview of work on the Prosodic Hierarchy and Section 4 proposes an analysis of MEAV in terms of it. In section 5 I discuss the relation of this proposal to Cable's work and extend the analysis to metrical structure above the line in Cleanness. A brief conclusion follows in section 6.