On the Possibility of Continuity in the Metrical Status of Heavy Syllables in Medieval English
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The present paper focuses on instances of irregular, non-root accentuation placed on words of Germanic origin in Middle English iambic verse. A proposed explanation for the phenomenon is the continued special metrical status of heavy syllables from Old to Middle English and the retained potential of such syllables for attracting poetic accent. The analysis also takes into account additional factors, including possible external influences and morphological considerations. The text samples are selected basing on the date of their provenance and metrical regularity. In order to reduce the possibility of the results being affected by any loose applications of metre, the analysis is confined to the metrically strongest positions within each type of verse.
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