• The Rhythmic Structure of Persian Poetic Meters

      Hammond, Michael; Karimi, Simin; Mahdavi Mazdeh, Mohsen; Ohala, Diane (The University of Arizona., 2019)
      This work presents a theory of Persian poetic meters that reduces its main components to interactions between constraints that are rooted in universal rhythmic intuitions and form the essence of all quantitative metrical traditions. The theory presents a fully systematic account that can predict the degree of metrical well-formedness of any given Persian phrase. It argues for a hierarchical metrical structure composed of head-initial constituents where the metrical identity of a meter is primarily determined by the mora count of the lowest constituents in the hierarchy. While in qualitative meter the accent structure of a metrical phrase is to a large degree pre-determined by its linguistic content, it is argued that in quantitative meter strong and weak metrical positions are assigned to syllables (or more precisely, moras) by the listener and only indirectly (although systematically and predictably) guided by the information available in the syllable sequence of the linguistic phrase. Building on these theoretical arguments, this dissertation presents an account of the infinite meter inventory of Persian. It also accounts for other metrically relevant phenomena such as poetic licenses, verse-final pauses, and tapping patterns associated with different meters. Finally, evidence is provided in support of the claim that other quantitative metrical traditions such as those of Japanese and Arabic poetry can be accounted for using the same principles with modifications in certain parameters.