forehead: the little girl with a little curl right in the middle of hers

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat Apr 5 14:02:45 UTC 2008

On Apr 5, 2008, at 6:27 AM, Charlie Doyle wrote:

> That's an important point commonly overlooked by literary scholars.
> The only really "perfect" rhyme

i've puzzled over this for some time now, and i can't make any sense
of it.  it seems to presuppose that total identity is the *real*
meaning of "rhyme".  but where does that idea come from? certainly not
from the way the words "rime" and "rhyme" have been used in english,
which involves not total phonological identity, but phonological
identity of the terminal portions of words (for some specification of
"terminal portion").

> would be a repitition

nice typo.  and an extremely common one -- 211,000 raw google webhits,
a few of which (Repitition Miniature Shnauzers, for instance) are
intentional re-spellings, but most of which are clearly misspellings
or typos.

> of the same word (in the same syntactic position, etc.)--which is
> usually not thought of as a rhyme at all. Otherwise, we're loosely
> weighing the relative "closeness" among a range of phonological
> features.
> Also, since no rhyme is perfect, one must be cautious about using
> rhymes to establish historical pronunciations.

well, the real problem is the existence of various kinds of half-rhyme
(quite prominent in some poetic traditions, at best sporadic in
others), differing specifications of "terminal portion", eye rhymes,
and so on.


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