Ars Metrica

The Metrical Structure of Kashmiri Vanɨvun

Po­et­ics, as Ro­man Jakob­son states in his re­marks about po­etry in re­la­tion to lin­guist­ics, primar­ily deals with the ques­tion, “What makes a verbal mes­sage a work of art?In or­al tra­di­tions of po­etry, vari­ous lin­guist­ic en­tit­ies are em­ployed by po­ets in the form­a­tion of met­ric­al con­straints without mak­ing them ob­vi­ous as con­scious sets of rules (See Ki­parsky 1972 [1988]: 96). Many dif­fer­ent clues are em­ployed by po­ets in tra­di­tion­al so­ci­et­ies to help un­der­stand the nature of these lin­guist­ic en­tit­ies. The main ob­ject­ives of this pa­per are: (1) to de­scribe the met­ric­al struc­ture of Vanɨvun – a pop­u­lar genre of Kash­miri folk­lore, and (2) to ana­lyze the met­ric­al constraints/peculiarities char­ac­ter­iz­ing the el­eg­ant struc­ture of this po­et­ic genre. As a po­et­ic genre, Vanɨvun poses a chal­lenge to most avail­able mod­els of po­et­ic com­pos­i­tion where PROMINENCE is treated in terms of met­ric­al asym­metry between Strong and Weak po­s­i­tions. The met­ric­al struc­ture of Vanɨvun presents a three-way dis­tinc­tion in terms of prom­in­ence where beats can be clas­si­fied as: Strong, Weak or In­ter­me­di­ate. The dis­tinc­tion is based on in­ter­play of quant­it­at­ive, po­s­i­tion­al and rhythmic factors char­ac­ter­ist­ic of Kash­miri phon­o­lo­gic­al stress (See Mun­shi & Crowhurst 2011). Un­der this view, each met­ric­al di­vi­sion (“meas­ure”) in a line typ­ic­ally be­haves like a tri­syl­lab­ic pros­od­ic word in which a primary stress falls on the first and a sec­ond­ary (“in­ter­me­di­ate”) stress on the third (fi­nal) syl­lable. The de­sired out­put is achieved through vari­ous re­pair mech­an­isms in the form of quant­ity-in­creas­ing and/or de­creas­ing strategies ap­ply­ing to the in­put. Keywords: ac­cen­tu­al verse, lex­ic­al se­lec­tion genres, met­rics, met­ric­al­ity, morpho­phon­em­ics, quant­it­at­ive verse, sprung rhythm, stress, syl­lab­ic verse, ver­si­fic­a­tion. Read more