Ponapean Song Meter in Optimality Theory

Aliaa Aloufi


The exploration of poetry and songs has been essential to the progress of generative metrical theory that is concerned with the linguistic study of versification. The main issue is that the majority of work is highly concentrated on English poetry. Research on the poetic meter of other languages is thus crucial for a sufficient understanding of meter and metrical rules even though other perspectives and theoretical approaches are utilised. Bearing such a goal in mind, the current study aims to examine the meter in Ponapean songs in the light of Optimality Theory. It found that Ponapean songs are regulated by poetic meter that constrains both the size of the line with a fixed number of morae as well as the prominence that requires stressed morae. The proposed OT analysis derives the restriction on the size of the line with minimality and maximality constraints along with obligatoriness and alignment constraints that account for the prominence. Further rhythmic constraints are needed to regulate the alteration between stressed and unstressed morae. OT is shown in this study to be a framework which is capable of predicting the well-formed nature of rhythmic meter that constrains both the phonological constituency and prominence with regard to Ponapean songs. The proposed analysis might be used for other rhythmic meter that constrains the size and prominence at the same metric level, such as Luganda.


Generative Metrics, Ponapean, Mora, Meter, Optimality Theory

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.3.p.46


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