Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rhyme As Linguistic Evolution

Have you ever wondered how rhyme came to pass? In the history of language and linguistic development, there must have been a certain point when the first rhyme was uttered. But when did it happen? I'll be digging into that question on my web site: as I research the history of one of our most frequently maligned literary forms. For now, this entry will just scratch the surface to pique your curiosity.

Suffice it to say, we will probably never know exactly when rhyming began. But let's consider its possible roots. Just think of it. As questions go, we are no where close to nailing down our own humanoid ancestry, much less the point when gutteral utterances became fraught with meaning, however simple it may have been. Perhaps as people gained a certain facility with the spoken word and communication became less of a struggle, some bright soul simply decided to play.

After all, without radio, TV, the printing press, the microphone or any phone, people had to do something for entertainment besides going to war. And even for that, you pretty much had to be within shouting distance to have any effect. Once people discovered how to have fun with phonics, rhyme couldn't have been far behind.

But how about this for a question to ponder: Instead of being so much doggerel, could rhyme indeed be a higher form of intellectual expression? Same-sounding words are sometimes elusive, especially if the rhyme is to be considered good. And more than that, the lines of words must also carry a virtual tune as measured in meter, cadence and rhythm.

And as long as we are pondering, in a certain way, could the unique linguistic quality of rhyme have parallels in puns? Could the rhymer and the "punner" (or might we say pundit?) actually be cut from the same linguistic weave? If these are the things that make you go, "hmmm?" then you may have all the makings of a rhymer, whose words are waiting to run free.

So, grab your pen or keyboard and let your mind wander in search of the very best kind of story-telling device: the all-purpose, unbridled, multi-faceted rhyme. If you want to share a few of your line endings, drop me a comment here or to my e-mail address:

No comments:

Post a Comment