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LINGUIST List 21.3101

Wed Jul 28 2010

Diss: General Ling/Ling & Literature: Versace: 'Due teorie ...'

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        1.    Stefano Versace, Due teorie generative della forma metrica e il verso di Eugenio Montale

Message 1: Due teorie generative della forma metrica e il verso di Eugenio Montale
Date: 26-Jul-2010
From: Stefano Versace <stefano.versaceunimi.it>
Subject: Due teorie generative della forma metrica e il verso di Eugenio Montale
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Institution: Università degli Studi di Milano
Program: Department of Modern Philology
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Stefano Versace

Dissertation Title: Due teorie generative della forma metrica e il verso di
Eugenio Montale

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Ling & Literature

Subject Language(s): Italian (ita)

Dissertation Director(s):
Edoardo Esposito
Marina Nespor

Dissertation Abstract:

In this dissertation the most important metrical forms displayed in the poetry
of Eugenio Montale are analysed according to two Generative metrical theories:
Nespor & Vogel (1986) (N&V) and Fabb & Halle (2008) (F&H). The two approaches
are compared in the final chapter, where I suggest that shortcomings in both
theories can be avoided by integrating the two.

Chapter 1, by listing the most relevant traits of metrical form, introduces the
reader to what Generative Metrics is concerned with, and argues that it can best
explain the relation of such traits, both in general and in Italian in
particular. I conclude that theoretical shortcomings highlighted by Italian
readings of generative metrical studies can be solved by modelling metrics on
the computational theory of mind.

In chapter 2, I spell out the technicalities of both theories. Particular
attention is devoted to what explanations and analytical tools are made
available by each theory. In 2.3, I compare the two approaches and review
competing theories (in particular Optimality Theory), providing reasons for not
having adopted them in this study.

Chapter 3 analyzes Montale's endecasillabo along the lines N&V proposed for the
same meter in Dante's Inferno. After introducing the metrical template, I give
detailed examples of how the meter is derived from the actual lines. I conclude
that N&V's rules fully hold for Montale's canonical endecasillabo. In section
3.2 I turn to non-canonical forms, such as endecasillabo di 5a (that is,
endecasillabo with a primary ictus on the 5th position), that are predicted to
be unmetrical in the N&V's system. Here I show that though it is possible to
account for them in N&V, this requires abandoning its fundamental tenet, namely
the iambic template.

In chapter 4 I apply F&H to Montale's endecasillabo. I spell out scansion
procedure, as well as the specific rules and conditions for endecasillabo. After
constructing the grids for the different patterns, I scan the same non-canonical
forms seen in 3. Here, F&H's system proves more flexible, as it accounts for
every aspect of these forms without denying its starting assumptions.

Chapter 5 shows how both theories may be applied to different metrical forms.
Scansions with both theories are provided for longer lines (versi lunghi), such
as tredecasillabi e dodecasillabi, and for the imitation of classical meters
known as metrica barbara, both attested in the corpus. More specifically, the
scansion with N&V shows how an additional prosodic constituent, the prosodic
word needs to be made available to the metrical representation; F&H applies here
a specific computation for loose metrical forms, instead, ruling out some
syllables within the line with no reference
to phonological constituency and gets the 5-feet structure.

Chapter 6 argues that the scansion of non-canonical forms sheds further light on
the relation between N&V and F&H. Namely, their differences can be understood in
terms of an externalised metrics and an internalized metrics, dubbed E-metrics
and I-metrics. I further argue that this is a reason for preferring the latter
as a general theory of metrical form, and the former as theory of how metrical
form may be implemented in a given corpus. Accordingly, an F&H based metrical
grammar for Italian meters is proposed: the problems encountered in the previous
analysis are solved by assuming
the metrical input to be a representation of prosodic structure (ProsExF&H). I
argue that this is also consistent with current approaches to literary language.
I finally conclude with an account of the complexity of interactions among the
components of this grammar, and with an appendix on caesura rules in Montale's
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