Friday, November 19, 2010

Anapest and Amphibrach are pronounced as Dactyls: And other Observations on Pronouncing Poetic Feet

"Anapest" and "amphibrach" are pronounced as dactyls.

"Dactyl" is pronounced as a trochee.

"Trochee" is pronounced as a trochee, too, and so is its opposite, "iamb."

"Spondee" pretty much sounds like a spondee to me.

So what does all this mean?

Director Barry Edelstein, who has coached Gwyneth Paltrow and many other actors in Shakespearean matters, offered this explanation of poetic feet in his book Thinking Shakespeare:

Iamb

The syllables go: Unstressed-stressed

dee-DUM

Like:

de-TROIT

new YORK

#

Trochee

The syllables go: Stressed-unstressed

DUM-dee

Like:

LON-don

BOS-ton

#

Anapest

The syllables go: Unstressed-unstressed-stressed

dee-dee-DUM

Like:

ten-nes-SEE

new or-LEANS

#

Dactyl

The syllables go: Stressed-unstressed-unstressed

DUM-dee-dee

Like:

I-o-wa

MICH-i-gan

#

Amphibrach (AM-fi-brack)

The syllables go: Unstressed-stressed-unstressed

dee-DUM-dee

Like:

chi-CA-go

al-AS-ka

#

Elsewhere -- meaning, outside of Edelstein's book -- I found examples of the spondee that I put together as follows:

Spondee

The syllables go: Stressed-stressed

DUM-DUM

Like:

hog-wild

U2

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