Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Mon Sep 24 15:07:10 UTC 2007

Right, Arnold!

Can we ever be certain whether a poet or songster puts two words into rhyming positions because they "sound alike" in the artist's speech (or the artist thinks they do), or they merely sound close enough to be passable for the purpose (by the unstated rules of the craft)? Yet so much of the phonological history of the language relies on supposed rhymes (and inferred puns).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 07:15:14 -0700
>From: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>On Sep 24, 2007, at 4:55 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>> Of course.  Inexact rhymes also proliferate in folklongs and ballads, C&W songs, and rap lyrics...

>>> From: "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>>> On Sep 23, 2007, at 10:47 AM, Charles Doyle wrote:
>>>> Well, an old song of The Mamas and the Papas rhymed "sophomore" with "Swarthmore" (Mama Cass's purported alma mama).
>>> well, there's a question here about what you mean by "rhyme".  i'm guessing you mean that "sophomore" and "Swarthmore" occur in positions in the song's pattern where rhyming words would be called for.  but that doesn't mean they actually rhyme; half-rhyme is all over the place, especially in rock music...
>your reply misses the point.  i wasn't just pointing out the
existence of half-rhyme, but asking which of two claims you were making.
>to reiterate: the question is what you meant by saying that the Ms and Ps "rhymed X and Y".  i gave my guess at your intended interpretation; was i right?  that is, you were *not* claiming that the Ms and Ps pronounced "sophomore" and "Swarthmore" identically except for the initial onset -- right?
>note that "X and Y rhyme" requires identity of the relevant portions of the words.  but for me, "N rhymed X and Y" can mean *either* that N produced X and Y as relevantly identical *or* that N treated X and Y as equivalent for the purposes of the rhyme scheme, even when they aren't relevantly identical.
>for me, "Donny" and "tawny" don't rhyme.  that is, for me, the following sentence is false:
>   "Donny" and "tawny" rhyme.
>but the following would be true if N is someone with neutralization
>of /a/ and /O/:
>   N rhymes "Donny" and "tawny".
>and this sentence would also be true if N is *not* a neutralizer but sometimes treats the two words as rhyme-equivalent in songs.

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