The interaction between phonology and metre: Approaches to Romance and West Germanic Renaissance metre

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This dissertation investigates the interface between phonological and metrical structure. The interaction between phonology and metrics is explored from two perspectives: one looks at poetic aspects as evidence for phonological characteristics; the other explores to what extent phonology conditions the development of poetic tradition and by what means the metrical template is filled by phonological material. The case study is Renaissance metre and its implementation in a set of Romance and West-Germanic languages. A comparison of the different ways in which the same source metre was incorporated in various European poetic traditions sheds light on the role played by phonology in the process of adaptation. When a metre is borrowed, this needs to be adapted to the metrical structure which mirrors the phonology of the recipient language. In particular, the metrical template selects a macroparameter based on the macroparameter selected by phonology. The phonological macroparameter defines which prosodic domain (i.e. phrase or word) plays a prominent role in the language; consequently, metrics selects which of its layers (i.e. colon or foot) is going to play a prominent role in the poetic form. In addition, this work argues that the relationship between the two structures is bidirectional: on the one hand, phonology sees metrical structure and fills it with its elements; on the other hand, the metrical structure can stretch the possibilities of phonological material. The interaction is based on a series of matches and mismatches between the two structures, in a game of tension managed by metrics.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • Van Oostendorp, Marc, Promotor, External person
  • De Castro-Arrazola, Varun, Co-promotor, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date18 Sept 2020
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


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