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Reuven Tsur


rather mild. The shorter a syntactic unit, the more it resists being streched over two prosodic units. The end of most lines in excerpt 1 coincides with the end of a well-articulated subordinate syntactic unit. Only in two instances the reader may become aware, after the event, that the unit is run on to the next line: "and want love's majesty", and "sent before my time". The loose-end chunk left in the first line is five and six lyllables long, respectively. The complementary chunk in the next line, in the former case coincides with a whole line, and with a six- syllable-long hemistich in the latter. So, these instances of enjambment aren't very strained. In such a structure, the best strategy for a performer would be to clearly articulate the end of each line except these two lines; and to impose some unifying pattern on the whole passage. In the present instance, an emphasis on the repeated referring phrase (italicized in excerpt 1) would do. In the performance under discussion, a clearly demonstrable "crescendo" pattern too has been superimposed on the repetitive pattern. In the recording under discussion there is a curious variant of this. In excerpt 2, one complex sentence is running through four lines. At the end of line 1, the syntax is incomplete, and a sequel is strongly expected. At the end of lines 2 and 3 no such incompleteness is perceived. Nonetheless, there is a feeling that the transition from line 3 to line 4 is rather hasty. The endings of lines 1, 2, and 4 in excerpt 2 are exceptionally well-articulated; whereas the end of line 3 is conspicuously underarticulated, against all syntactic and prosodic odds. This is a well-known structural device in poetic structures too, namely, that the shape of the last but one unit must be considerably weakened, so as to increase the requiredness of the last unit, and the integration of the whole.5
The second preliminary issue concerns pauses. I will briefly recapitulate here two of my earlier discussions (Tsur, 1997; 1998: 301- 315). There is a century-long controversy concerning the status of pauses in poetry. Are they part of poetic structure, or of performance? Some generative linguists have recently revived the former position. Consider, for instance, the reading reflected in figures 1-2. Figure 2 shows a huge pause following the first line of excerpt 2, after "peace" (0.806 msec [= millisecond]); but in midline there is an over one-and-a- half times longer pause, between "Why, I" and "in this weak" (1.238 msec). In the word weak,there is a longish pause before the [k] (0.183 msec), and a slightly longer one after it (0.244 msec). Do they change the iambic pentameter nature of the verse line from which this stretch has been excised, or are they vocal manipulations to actualize it? I embrace the latter position.
In this case, the pauses after "Why, I" and before [k] represent two different kinds of pause, "macro-pause" and "micro-pause". The former is heard by a listener as a pause proper, the latter is not. It is perceived as part of an articulatory gesture rather than a period of silence. The pause after [k] is perceived as a minute period of silence. Stop consonants are "abrupt", and cannot be prolonged; that is, unless you insert a brief pause before them. The 0.183 msec pause between the vowel of weakand the release of the [k] is quite long for a midword pause. If you play "wea-" untilthe release of the [k], you hear what you see on the screen: [wi:] plus a pause; but if you include in the sequence the release of the [k] as well, you hear no pause, but an over- articulated [k]: the pause is re-interpreted as the time period when the articulatory organs are closed before the release. Thus, the perception of the pause is changed after the event; I call this "back-structuring".


Though the speech goes on to reveal his plans, Gloucester's relentless self- description comes to an end.