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

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 5 19:25:43 UTC 2008

On Sat, Apr 5, 2008 at 2:48 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> 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
>  it.

You could ARGUE that, but I don't think most people would agree that a
word rhymes with itself -- or, at least, I think they'd be a bit
puzzled by the question, as (IMHO) it was bringing up an assumption
that they'd never thought of. Those who work with rhyme have a term,
"self-rhyme", for just that. (E.g., for an
academic use, or [search for "10:31"] for a
vernacular one.)

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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