- The end-rhymes of Marvell, Cowley, Crashaw, Lovelace and Vaughan: a study of their reflection of the pronunciation of stressed vowels and diphthongs in the mid-seventeenth century By Torbjörn Söderholm (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 50, Number 4 (Part 1), December 1974
- pp. 742-748
- View Citation
- Additional Information
742LANGUAGE, VOLUME 50, NUMBER 4 (1974) The following generalizations may be cited as emerging from the carefully traced picture of Old Spanish developments: '(1) constant replacement of the mase, by the fem.'; (2) 'gradual stagnation of all deverbals . . . except iada' ; (3) the proliferation of ' the denominal -ada which, in turn, branched out in at least two independent directions ("mass noun" and "blow")' (p. 89). A careful reading of this work can scarcely fail to convince the skeptic that these generalizations are valid. Other insights are thrown in, at various points, often without as much detail as we might.like. The influence of Southern Gallo-Romance upon Old Spanish participial nouns is fascinating and probable, but only a few examples are offered in evidence. The failure of the past participle in -udo to establish itself satisfactorily within Old Spanish is discussed (35) in a way which hints at further insights unrevealed. And, as the authors themselves state (90), many theoretical problems remain. This study is a model of investigative technique and forms another building block in the structure being raised by Malkiel's school—a structure which promises to give us, among other benefits, a more exact chronology than we have hitherto possessed and visualization of historical developments as genetic processes. The end-rhymes of Marvell, Cowley, Crashaw, Lovelace and Vaughan: a study of their reflection of the pronunciation of stressed vowels and diphthongs in the mid-seventeenth century. By Torbjörn Söderholm. (Acta Academiae Aboensis, ser. A, 29:2.) Abo, Finland, 1970. Pp. 167. Reviewed by Patricia M. Wolfe, University ofBritish Columbia Söderholm's study, originally presented as a doctoral thesis, is the latest in a very small number of works dealing with the evidence of rhyme on the pronunciation of earlier stages of English : the only others used at all frequently in historical studies are Viëtor 1906, Gabrielson 1909, and WyId 1923. It is, in my opinion, more useful than any of these. In Chapter 1, discussing the aim, method, and scope of his investigation, S notes that previous studies either dealt with the rhymes of one poet (e.g. Viëtor), or were diachronic studies dealing with pronunciation over a more or less extensive period (WyId 1923, Gabrielson 1909). In contrast, S has studied the rhymes of five poets deliberately chosen as contemporaries—all born within less than ten years, 1613-1622—who are 'supposed to have used the educated pronunciation of roughly the second quarter of the 17th century' (p. 13). S is, of course, helped by the work in many related areas which has been done since the other works were written. Viëtor was writing before the completion of the OED or of Wright 1896-1905; his primary authority was Ellis 1867-89. WyId, the latest ofthe three, had the OED, Wright, and Zachrisson's work on English vowels (1913); in addition, more editions of earlier orthoepists and grammarians were available to him. In contrast, S has the advantage of Alston's exhaustive bibliographies (1965) and facsimile reprints (1967-68), good definitive editions of individual orthoepists (e.g. Danielsson 1955-1963), and extensive studies of the development of English pronunciation (e.g. Dobson 1957). But above all, it is his approach and his thoroughness that make this volume so useful. Viëtor was very thorough ; however, in his discussion of individual rhymes he was not able to draw on nearly as extensive a background of material as S ; and, of course, since he confined himself to the rhymes of one writer, we cannot judge how typical of Shakespeare's time these rhymes were. Since Gabrielson also wrote at an early period, his work too lacked S's richness of discussion. Further, he did not give the number of times a rhyme occurs; he had no index of rhymes; and, although dealing with four different poets, he offered no comparison of their reliability. Finally, since the four poets examined lived at very different periods, we cannot of REVIEWS743 course tell to what extent they were in agreement with contemporary poets or were idiosyncratic in their rhymes. Wyld's is in many ways the least satisfactory of the works. In contrast to all the...