KIJHUS Volume. 2, Issue 2 (2021)


Adedeji Kofo, Onakoya Eniola


phonoaesthetics sonnets rhythm syllables

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This paper examines selected phonoaesthetic aspects of a dozen Shakespearean sonnets. Phonaesthetics is a branch of phonetics concerned with the possible connections between the beauty in sound sequence musicality and meaning. The exploration of the phonoaesthetic elements is done at the two major levels of phonological analysis: the segmental, and the suprasegmental levels. The twelve sonnets which were selected based on similarity of themes, specifically the themes of immortality and time are: sonnets one, two, three, five, seven, eleven, thirteen, fifteen, seventeen, twenty-one, thirty-three and thirty-seven. Apart from exploring the use of sound in the poems, recurrent features of phonological stylistics employed by the poet were also assessed, thereby simplifying the stylistic analysis of poems at the phonological level. In contrast to the popular view of all Shakespeare’s sonnets having iambic pentameter rhythm with a standard rhyme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, a number of variations were observed. Some of the sonnets have touches of trochees and spondees and while some lines are pentameter, some have a lesser number of syllables and some exceed the required number of syllables. Another observation is that these deviations from the regular rhythm are meaningful and have significant implications on the plot of the sonnets.