The rajaz meter of Hausa is based on syllable quantity. In its dimeter form, it deploys lines consisting of two metra, each usually containing six moras. A variety of metra occur, and the key analytic challenge is to single out the legal metra from the set of logically possible ones. We propose an analysis, framed in maximum entropy optimality theory, that does this and also accounts for the statistical distribution of metron types, varying from poem to poem, within the line and stanza. We demonstrate a law of comparative frequency for rajaz and show how it emerges naturally in the maxent framework when competing candidates are in a relationship of harmonic bounding.

Turning to how the verse is sung, we observe that rajaz verse rhythm is typically remapped onto a distinct sung rhythm. We consider grammatical architectures that can characterize this remapping. Lastly, we develop a maxent phonetic grammar to predict the durations of the sung syllables. Our constraints simultaneously invoke all levels of structure: the syllables and moras of the phonology, the grids used for poetic scansion, and the grids used for sung rhythm.


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pp. e253-e299
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