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Quantitative Verse


Method of Measurement


In some languages, some syllables are literally longer than others when speaking. Indeed, in some of these languages, a word with a short syllable might have a different meaning than the same word as a long syllable. Many Indo-European languages had this feature early on. Sanskrit and Ancient Greek were two such. So, their poetry was based on the arrangement of long and short syllables. Much of the metrical terminology we use, such as iambic or trochaic, comes from Ancient Greek quantitative verse. We adapted the terms to represent stressed and unstressed syllables rather than long and short. English is mainly a stressed language. While it is possible to create metered verse based on a quantitative model in English, the rules are complex, involving the long and short vowel values and consonant combinations. Because it is not natural to the English language, attempts at quantitative poetry often have a rough feel since the stresses do not necessarily align with the "long" syllables.



See Also:  

Choriambics, Classical Hendecasyllable, Classical Heroic Line, Elegiacs, Trio




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