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Artistic Recitation of Metered Speech


stop before "own" and "eyes", and a stop release after "bright". No native speaker of English would do that in "ordinary" speech.

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discontentYork Figure 6Wave plots of "discontent" and "York"excised from a reading of excerpt

Let us have now a look at figure 6. The line-final discontentends with a stop release. This stop release is exceptionally loud and exceptionally long; and is preceded by a very minute pause (0.028 msec). The nature of this structure will be clarified by a comparison to the stop release at the end of Yorkin the next line. Here the plosion, though still quite conspicuous, is much shorter and much weaker. It is preceded by an exceptionally long pause (0.169 msec--in midword!). In spite of its excessive duration, it is not perceived as a pause, but as an articulatory gesture: extended closure of the vocal track, to overarticulate the [k]. In this instance, at least, there appears to be a trade-off between the amplitude and duration of the realease and the preceding pause. The brief 0.056-msec break after discontent,too, is perceived not as a straightforward pause, but as some articulatory gesture that does not interrupt the stream of speech.
There is a fairly mild enjambment from the first to the second line: the sentence is running on from one line to the other; even the verb phrase "is made" is straddled between the two lines. The line boundary requires discontinuation of the stream of speech; the run-on sentence requires continuation. The performer solves this problem remarkably well. The lack of perceptible pause between the two lines takes care of continuation; the terminal intonation contour, the prolongation of the last syllable, and the exceptionally well-articulated stop release at the end take care of discontinuation. That is what I have called "conflicting cues" in enjambment.
At the end of the second line, line boundary and sentence boundary coincide; so, there is no syntactic demand here for continuation. Indeed, the phonetic cues are, again, in harmony, all of them indicating discontinuation. This is what I have called redundancy. The final monosyllable, York, is the longest syllable in the first two lines (0.544 msec). The final rising-and-falling intonation curve too may effectively contribute to closure. Considering that there is no prosodic problem here to solve, the line-final stop release with the preceding excessive pause may be judged very much exaggerated. It is here where expressive force and overdetermination come in. The overarticulated line-final stop does not serve merely to clearly articulate a juncture of a line-boundary and sentence-boundary; it serves an expressive function too. When speaking of "triple encodedness", I suggested above that the distorted pronunciation of a phoneme may be decoded as a phoneme, as some expressive effect, and as some prosodic effect. We have just considered the prosodic function of the overarticulated oral stops at the end of the first two lines: to clearly articulate the line boundary. But I have also suggested above that a tendency to overarticulate oral stops may be an indication of certain personality traits, such as an assertive, determined, firm attitude. According to our foregoing analysis, this description fits Gloucester extremely well. I submit that the