#2
Most of the time, you'll have iambs. it's very uncommon to stress like /u/u/u. Just read through a line and see which syllables are stressed.
#3
I'm confused as to how you would go about writing it. Should I just read a ton of Iambic Pentameter stuff, then give it a go and submit it here to make sure it's right?
Call me Batman.
#4
It should be obvious to the ear where the syllables should be emphasised. You just develop a feel for it; try to read some Shakespeare (Macbeth is always a favourite).
UG FORUM
Your 21st Century Ant Farm
Corroborating Sturgeon's Law Since 2003
#6
There's a reason old Bill used it - it fits roughly the natural rhythm of speech. Get a line in, and if it feels right , I'd say use it. People only tend to use pentamete now as an exercise - by all means go for it - but if you are looking to use it consistently, I don't think there is a need to be so strict any more in modern poetry.

Instead, go for lines of around that length (8-12 syllables) and practice more on your rhythm and flow. Don't be so harsh on yourself for the metre - Shakespeare often dropped it out (alot actually) and so you shouldn't be aiming to write every single line strictly adhering to metrical rules.

As an exercise, we all do it and it sounds rubbish most the time. But if you leave a little room to be flexible you can create some wicked writing.

Good luck with it.
#7
Thanks for the advice. The reason I wanted to write in Iambic Pentameter was simply that I had no idea on the theory behind meter, and it was reccomended in that thread.
Call me Batman.
#8
Quote by J.A.M
Thanks for the advice. The reason I wanted to write in Iambic Pentameter was simply that I had no idea on the theory behind meter, and it was reccomended in that thread.


Like I said, as an excercise practising in all sorts of metre is an excellent way to improve your writing. I've done it plenty of times - try looking up different structures to. Try writing a Sestina or a Villanelle (sp?) or something like that, strict rhyming structures. They also force you to adapt you're wording to (near-impossible) system.

Have fun with it all - remember to post your pieces in the main forum too !
#9
How do you tell which syllables are stressed? It's literally the syllable that gets more volume when you speak it.

There are four types of stress, just use those to figure it out. Remember stress is relative, a hard-stressed syllable is only hard compared to a softer stressed one (most linguists talk about three or four levels of stress in English, but two--hard and soft--is good enough for us).

4 types:


morphological or etymological stress: ( I don't know what you'd really call it) The natural stresses of a word. Take the word poetry for example, the syllables "po" and "try" are more stressed then "et," They literally get more volume than "et" when you speak them

There's syntactic stress: stress based on sentence structure. for example, the first syllable of a subject of a sentence is almost always going to be stressed, same with the direct object. the "Eu" of Eugene is morphologically (type 1) softer than the "gene," but if you're reading a sentences where Eugene is the subject, you'll add a lot stress to Eu and likely make it evenly stressed with "gene."

rhetorical stress: stress to drive home your point. You could say "Dick, Jane, and Bob ran in the marathon." If Bob was really fat and you were surprised at him running in a marathon, you'd add stress to his name.

metrical stress: we're so used to poetry and song, that we naturally insert stresses based on things like iambics or trochaics, or whatever else. If you read words in a ballad stanza and they don't have meter like a ballad stanza based on the three other kinds of stress, you automatically add stresses to make it line up.


Pay attention to those things and that's how you understand if a syllable is stressed or not. It doesn't come easy at first, but you'll get better as you practice.
#10
Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. Could you guys check if I'm doing this right or not? For example;


I am sat here trying to figure out what syllables are stressed.


From MacBeth;

When shall we three meet again

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Call me Batman.
Last edited by J.A.M at Nov 26, 2009,
#11

From MacBeth;

When shall we three meet again

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?


I've always read these two lines as simply alternating stressed and unstressed syllables, thus:

When shall we three meet a-gain?
In thun-der, light-ning, or in rain?
#12
Yeah, I kind of see what you're saying.
Call me Batman.