PIPL Perfect Iambic Pentameter line. ‘Perfect’ in this case means the line ‘scans’—it has ten syllables that can or must be read in the iambic rhythm. syllable a unit of speech including one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants. word to be distinct from ‘iamb’, ‘trochee’ etc. Note that the units of a line of verse Stress The syllabic stress placed on—or, more usually built in—to the pronunciation of a word. Meter A pattern set by a poet (or expected by a culture). Iamb, iambic a two-syllable unit in which the unstressed syllable comes first. ‘allow’ Trochee, trochaic pentameter two-syllable unit in which the stressed syllable comes first. ‘happen.’ a five (penta) units meter. Iambs are two-beat units, so iambic pentameter lines have ten syllables. pronunciation the natural and expected spoken sound of a word, including the formation of the phonemes (sounds) and the stresses placed on each syllable. elide, elision Dropping one or more syllables from a word to change pronunciation. epenthesis Adding a syllable to a word to change pronunciation Locking Word any multisyllable word that, when normally pronounced, must follow a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables so that if it is included in a line of iambic pentameter it ‘locks’ the line’s meter into a certain pattern. Swing Word Most one-syllable words and a few two-syllable words do not have a particular syllabic stress. Twosyllable words that are not locking are called ‘spondees’: ‘football’, ‘heartbreak’, ‘mayday’, ‘childhood.’ Sprung A line that cannot be read in meter or rhyme without distorting the proper punctuation of a word. Sprung lines are common in Shakespeare because meter was not the primary aim of the writer, but some sprung lines are intentional, and often occur in a pattern which has a character or dramatic purpose. Unmetered Describes a line, speech, or section that does not adhere to any regular meter (in this case, IP.) Shakespeare often composed certain characters’ lines without meter, usually because of character or dramatic purposes. Unmetered lines are an important signal of a character’s attitude or tone. Split Line A single PIPL shared by two or more characters. Metrical Direction A place where the meter of a line directs a character’s behavior. enjambment, enjamb omitting a pause at the line break; reading two lines as a coherent statement. Lines that end with punctuation are usually read with a pause, but even they may be enjambed. Scan A ‘show your work’ process of marking up a line to verify it is PIPL and to comment on how this line works. Step 1: write the line out. 1 2 3 Step 2: syllabize each word 4 5 6 Step 3: verify that there are 10 syllables 7 8 9 10 The sai•lors sought for safe•ty by our boat, Step 4: Identify locking words -- unstressed -- stressed Step 5: Assign stress symbols to locking words only The sai•lors sought for safe•ty by our boat, Step 6: assign symbols to swing words based on the locking words’ pattern. Step 7—Does it check out? comment.