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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Apr 5 18:48:55 UTC 2008

At 7:02 AM -0700 4/5/08, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>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").

Arguably, though, identical words (or homonyms)
do rhyme, and the fact that we often don't count
them as rhymes is that their rhyming is trivial,
inferable from their (lexical or phonological)
identity.  One could (and I would) make a case
that a speaker who utters "X and Y rhyme"
conversationally *implicates*, but does not
*say*, that X ‚ Y. The OED's invocation in their
"rhyme" entry of 'consonance of terminal sounds'
certainly would predict that "bear" and "bear",
and "bear" and "bare", are indeed rhymes.  Note
that Arnold is not claiming the opposite, and I'm
not claiming that full rhyme requires total
identity; I just wanted to note that while
"rhyme" doesn't require total identity, it does
(as per the OED definition, at least) allow for

Of course the same question can arise with
synonymy, which like rhyme may or may not be
taken to be a reflexive relation (while hyponymy
usually isn't).


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