Ритмы английского языка

Название работы: Ритмы английского языка

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Курсовая теория




19 стр.

Год сдачи:

2011 г.




§1. Examples and definitions of rhythm.

§2. Rhythm as a phenomenon of speech.


§1. Rhythm in English poetry

§2. Rhythm in English prose.

§3. Rhythm in English oral speech.





Like any living language that has speakers English exists in two forms: spoken and written. This paper is dedicated to the research of the first form. The plot of this research is rhythm of the English language.

The language itself is a system of signs for a communication. This means that there are two sides using this system: that who produces the information and that who receives it. They are the writer and the reader in written language, and they are the speaker and the listener in our case. Comparing two fields of the language we must find that oral speech is a lot more powerful in transmitting the information than the written one. The reason is that oral speech has more instruments to express a thought. First of all these are the abilities of the voice, and one of them is the rhythm.

The word “rhythm” itself means an order of changing elements. Identical repeating elements are called phases. Rhythm of the language is an order of stresses. To clarify this definition we have to go to another subject of it i. e. stresses. “Stress” is emphasising syllables by the voice. It has aims for the both sides of communication. It is to help the speaker to produce the information without any unnecessary outlays (the Principle of Economy). And the listener accepts the information in its standard format (the Principle of Completeness). The rhythm of speech also satisfies the both sides.

The phenomenon of rhythm is inevitable in the speech of a human being. No machine is no able to imitate human speech. The cause is that words never sound in the sensible speech as though it were in a mechanical row of lexical units. The often occurring mistake among people who study a foreign language is that they pronounce words in such a way as they sound in the dictionary transcription. But to speak the foreign language fluently one need build phrases according to the requirements of the language, and, first of all, to the requirements of the rhythm.



Now we come back to the English versification. There is a quotation from a classic work.

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,

Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches...

(R.L. Stevenson “From a Railway Carriage”)

What a rhythm do we observe here? Is this a dactyl as we have seen an example from another work in the previous chapter? Yes, it is, but it has a specific thing here: a little pause in the middle of each line. This pause is the caesura. It makes a specific rhythm in the poetical speech which lets divide long passages.

There are special phonemes in the English language which are diphthongs and triphthongs. They are supposed to be monosyllabic phenomena but there are exceptions from this rule. One can observe it in poetical speech. To see it we’ll take some verses from Mr. Coolio’s “song” named ‘Gangsta’s paradise’. (I actually do not esteem rap as music but nevertheless this pseudo-artistic production has strict requirements to the verses esp. to their rhythm. These are those verses:

Power is the money

Money is the power

Minute after minute

Hour after hour.

What do we see here? The author used two words with thrifthongs. These words are “power” and “hour”. Although they were supposed to be monosyllabic they became disyllabic. Also the American English phonetics does not vocalise the finale “r” but demands the strict pronunciation. We can also recall another example (from Shakespeare):

If thou beest not an ass

I am the youth of fourteen!

Surely the word “ass” still means “donkey” here. But we look at the word “thou” which contains the diphthong [au], but this diphthong is being pronounced not monosyllabic but disyllabic in these verses. Sometimes it is needed because of other circumstances like music. This is the British anthem “God save the Queen”:

God save our gracious Queen,

Long live our noble Queen,

God save the Queen.

Send her victorious

Happy and glorious

Long to reign over us,

God save the Queen.

We observe here that the triphthong and the diphthong in the words “our” and “noble” are being pronounced monosyllabic. The melody requires it. That’s why the asyllabic element in the word “noble” gets a higher status here and is being sung as a syllable of full value. Exactly so the particle “to” in the sixth line is being extended as two syllables.



Before write the concrete conclusions from the paper the author would like to resume the work.

It is proposed that the theory of dynamical systems offers appropriate tools to model many phonological aspects of both speech production and perception. A dynamic account of speech rhythm is shown to be useful for description of English timing in a phrase repetition task. This orientation contrasts fundamentally with the more familiar symbolic approach to phonology, in which time is modeled only with sequentially arrayed symbols. It is proposed that an adaptive oscillator offers a useful model for perceptual entrapment (or `locking in') to the temporal patterns of speech production. This helps to explain why speech is often perceived to be more regular than experimental measurements seem to justify. Because dynamic models deal with real time, they also help us understand how languages can differ in their temporal detail - contributing to foreign accents, for example. The fact that languages differ greatly in their temporal detail suggests that these effects are not mere motor universals, but that dynamical models are intrinsic components of the phonological characterization of language.

Exploring the language the author found that it has own constant principles that organise it. The phenomenon of rhythm is an unalienable part of the language. It is as a controller of the language as an indicator of its qualities. The rhythm itself is a constant thing what differs from tempo and intonation. This not only emphasises it’s role but also makes it highly needed to study and at the same moment makes the studying easier.

After researching the common principles the next specialties were found: the English language is close to other Indo-European or Indo-German language in its idea of stresses. This helps to understand and to study out the idea of rhythm and to practice with it. The phenomenon of rhythm makes a lot for such a form of the English language as the national literature......

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