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Indo-European Poetry and Myth$
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M. L. West

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280759

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280759.001.0001

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Phrase and Figure

Phrase and Figure

(p.75) 2 Phrase and Figure
Indo-European Poetry and Myth

M. L. West (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the characteristic features of Indo-European poetry. Poets who write in a tradition — having been trained in the style and techniques proper to that tradition — do not strive for novelty of manner. They take over vocabulary, formulaic phrases, and typical expressions from older poets, and their language in general tends to have a more archaic appearance than that of contemporary speech. Two further features characteristic of Indo-European poetry, both of them favoured by the nature of the ancient language, are modification of word order and the use of formal figures of speech of various kinds. Vocabulary and phraseology, narrative gambits, similes, and figures are discussed.

Keywords:   Indo-European poetry, word order, figures of speech, vocabulary, phraseology, narrative gambits, similes

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