The Definition of Syllable in Aristotle’s Poetics

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This paper deals with the theory of syllable in Aristotl's Poetics. As known, the main difficult of this text are the strange examples of syllables 'syllable is gr without a as well as with a, as in gra'. My proposal is to read this definition in strict connetion with the definition of stoichion in the same text, ad in context of the whole Corpus aristotelicum. In the definiton of stoicheion, wich introduce the faumous classification of linguistic sounds in 'vowels' (phoneenta) 'non-vowels' (aphona) and 'semivowels' (hemiphona) is difficult to understnad what 'hemiphona' are, and why Aristotle call them with this name, if we admit that hemiphona are countinous sounds as 's' or 'r'. that are audible and prducible as well as vowel. Our proposal is that vowel are different from other linguistic sounds because they have not only phonetic, but also prosodic features. Both difficulties (the strane examples of syllable and why Aristotle call the hemiphona this way) find solution if we distinguish two different levels in the definition of syllable of the Poetics: 1. a phonetic level, in wich 'gr', a composed sound, is syllable, and a prosodic level, in wich gra (as well of a, ga) is syllable, because of its prosodic features, istantiated in the vowel in it. So all the difficulties of Aristotle's 'phonetic section' of Poet. XX find their solution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Notion of Syllable across History, Theories and Analysis
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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