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Language and Music as Cognitive Systems$
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Patrick Rebuschat, Martin Rohmeier, John A. Hawkins, and Ian Cross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553426.001.0001

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Response to commentaries

Response to commentaries

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 7 Response to commentaries
Source:
Language and Music as Cognitive Systems
Author(s):

Nigel Fabb

Morris Halle

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553426.003.0007

This chapter presents Fabb and Halle's response to two of the more critical points made in the commentaries in the previous chapters. In their comment, Vaux and Myler bring up the metre of the well-known nursery rhyme ‘Hickory, dickory, dock’. They point out that this metre, which involves syllable groups that strikingly differ in length is beyond the capacity of the theory of metre presented in Chapter 2. Fabb and Halle acknowledge that this is correct, but only because they limited their chapter to metres of one kind, called strict metres. Referring to the parentheses in the metrical grid, Dilley and McAuley write that ‘it is not clear what these [two types of parenthesis] correspond to in terms of phonetic characteristics, perceptual or structural reality, etc.’, and they criticize this as a shortcoming that undermines the validity Fabb and Halle's theory. In response, Fabb and Halle note that the parentheses — as well as the asterisks and the metrical grids themselves — are parts of the abstract structure that they posit in order to account for the perception of musical rhythm, of poetic metre, and of the stress contours of words.

Keywords:   poetry, metre, language, metrical grids, nursery rhyme

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