Phonological and Metrical Variation across Genres

Arto Anttila, Ryan Heuser


In this study, we asked whether standard phonological and metrical
constraints proposed by phonologists and metricists are useful in
identifying arbitrary lines of text as metered verse vs. unmetered
prose, focusing on five English-language and five Finnish-language
authors. To analyze the dataset we used Prosodic (Heuser, Falk, and
Anttila 2010), a software package that provides a phonological
analysis and a metrical scansion for raw text. We discovered that
phonologically prose and verse differ in the same way in both
languages, suggesting that the phonology of genre is universal,
whereas metrically the two languages turned out to differ in the
expected ways.


English; Finnish; prosody; metrics; automatic scansion; Optimality Theory

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