28 December 2008

Fun game on accents

Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" reads very differently depending on the accent or nationality of the reader. Try the Language Trainers fun game on accents. Try and see if the meter is kept by the various speakers. If sound is as important as sense, as many poets claim, what happens to the overall meaning and effect of the poem when speakers put the stresses on different syllables, as happens in this fun game? Is a poem's music really in the ears of the hearer (or speaker)? Or is there, as the New Critics once pronounced, an "objective" music in the poem independent of human beings?

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