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An Analytic Comparison between Arabic and English Prosodies: Poetical Feet and Meters

Authors: Jamil Jafari, Sharafat Karimi

Abstract:

The Arabic Language has a complicated system of prosody invented by the great grammarian Khalil Ibn Ahmad Farahidi. He could extract 15 meters out of his innovative five circles, which were used in Arabic poetry of the 7th and 8th centuries. Then after a while, his student Akhfash added or compensated another meter to his tutor's meters, so overall, we now have 16 different meters in Arabic poetry. These meters have been formed by various combinations of 8 different feet and each foot is combined of rudimentary units called Sabab and Wated which are combinations of movement (/) and silent (ʘ) letters. On the other hand in English, we are dealing with another system of metrical prosody. In this language, feet are consisted of stressed and unstressed syllables and are of six types: iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, spondee, and pyrrhic. Using the descriptive-analytic method, in this research we aim at making a comparison between Arabic and English systems of metrical prosody to investigate their similarities and differences. The results show that both of them are quantitative and both of them rely on syllables in afoot. But unlike Arabic, English is utilizing another rhyme system and the number of feet in a line differs from Arabic; also, its feet are combined of stressed and unstressed syllables, while those of Arabic is a combination of movement and silent letters.

Keywords: Arabic prosody, English prosody, foot, meter, poetry

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