Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972


Bazarbayeva Z.M. 1 Baisakalov A.B. 1
1 A. Baitursynov Institute of Linguistics, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The article considers intonational characteristics of the Kazakh poetry speech. Experimental methods of research are applied to analyze prosodic forms of small and big poetic forms presented on a large scale of linguistic samples. Various linguistic concepts and terms, such as rhythm, rhyme, syllable, stress, line, strophe, rhythmic group, syntagma, are investigated as well. Syllabic system of Kazakh is focus on as it is similar to other Turkic poetic forms. The Kazakh versification differs from European languages; meanwhile it is similar to French. Both languages, however, belong to different systems and do not have explicit word stress but rhythmic one, which unite words and syllables in one phonetic group with single rhythmic stress. The basic assumption for the rhythm to function in Kazakh versification is a definite quantity of syllables.
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Intonational nature of the poetry speech is realized in the verse rhythm. Rhythm as a component of intonation ascribes to it a certain color. In linguistic literature the rhythm is interpreted as repeatedness of the opposites and periodicity in the flow of the poetry speech, in which the significance is assumed by the parallels, contrasts and transitions, as well as change of assonances, their combinations, alternation etc. Rhythmic structure of the verse is not a convention, not a simple limitation, but the core, which unites all the diverse sounding of words into the general harmony. This correlation of words and phrases in its certain structure produces the melody of a verse. Rhythm is turning in a lively continuous, various, changing rhythmic and intonational flow of poetic speech. It appears only in poetic speech itself, but out of that it exists merely in mental abstraction. Rhythm of poetic speech, which seems as something opposite to the rhythm of conventional speech, as a matter of fact is the mostly concentrated realization of intonational, sound expressiveness of language.

Peculiarities and regulations of versification depend on features and structure of every language. Metric system of versification is supported by contrasting with long and short vowels which is inherent in Greek and Latin vocalism but alien to Russian. And syllabic tonic is supported by contrasting with stressed and unstressed syllables which are strident in both Russian and German languages [3].

W. Radloff points out that in Turkic languages the function of stress is realized by vowel harmony: «The task of accented stress in Indo-European languages, Turkic languages is implemented by the harmony of vowels, {…} while in Indo-European languages verbal stresses are those of a morphological component, in Ural-Altai languages it is merely a means of euphony, i.e. it only has here a task to add to monotonously sounding row of syllables the pleasant for ear sequence, and to show sharper the links of agglutinated words» [6]. Kazakh versification in its character is related to syllabic system of versification. .

Thus, the specifications of Kazakh versification, which essentially differ from Russian and other European languages, are rooted in its prosodic system with vowel harmony and covert verbal stress. Both in Kazakh and French the words, syllables shape one phonetic word with single rhythmic stress. L.V. Shcherba, who thoroughly studied phonetic system of French, pointed out that «The big distinction of French stress from Russian, German, and English is in that the difference between stressed and unstressed syllables in the latter languages is striking and in French is barely noticeable: all the syllables, for inattentive observer, seem to be approximately even-stressed. {…} In French we cannot talk about verbal stress at all, but have to talk only about phrase stress which further we will call it as a phrase stress» [7]. This assertion of the scientist can also be totally and fully appropriate for Kazakh.

Similarity in prosodic systems of the Kazakh and French languages was first pointed out by A. Baitursynov. In both languages verbal stress is slightly visible and does not have phonological distinctive contents as it is in Russian. In Kazakh and French in the flow of speech the autonomous and syntactic words are united in larger phonological units with rhythmic stress marking the end of rhythmic group. Rhythmic groups emphasized in the flow of speech by prosodic, intonational devices do not coincide in the Kazakh and Russian languages. In Russian, every word carries on itself a stress on a certain syllable; this allows identifying separate words in the sounding speech. So, it is not for nothing that they say about flexible, movable verbal stress in Russian which is characterized by contrasting modulations of voice and enlarged diapasons of tone. To Kazakh speech it is characteristic of rhythmo-syntagmatic stress with smooth wavy contours [2].

Remarkable contribution to the development of verse theory has been made by A. Baitursynov. His valuable comments on rhythmic structuring in Kazakh poetry became a basis for prosodic system of Kazakh poetry development. When he studied rhythmic structure of Kazakh poetic speech he introduced into terminology various concepts and terms and carefully described them. When he studied the system of Kazakh versification in contrast with European languages he pointed out syllabic structure of verse which is based on a quantity of syllables in line [2]. Such a versification is attributed to the languages with slightly expressed verbal stress when all syllables are heard almost similarly, clearly and distinctively; and only syllable under rhythmic stress is characterized by a certain length in time.

In Kazakh, as well as in other Turkic languages, prosodic dominant is vowel harmony, not a verbal stress, so, in Kazakh versification a certain quantity of syllables in the line is an essential ground of the existence of rhythm. A. Baitursynov has also noted regularities which organize inner structure of verses [2].

Syntagma sometimes corresponds to a rhythmic group, but in larger poetic forms it mainly consists of several rhythmic groups. A relative independence of a line is reached at the expense of its intonational shape when if corresponds to certain intonemes in which there combine not only phonetico-phonological properties but also semantico-syntactical ones. Being realized in different variants of an intoneme, a line is carrying a certain meaning value depending on context and situation: completeness, incompleteness, quest, motive etc. Independence of a line and its borders are formed not only by changing the main tune flowing and melodic curve but also by prosodic pause and break of melodic contour on the edge of lines.

Studying rhythmic structure of speech in the Kazakh poetry in patterns of the works of Abai and Magzhan Zhumabayev, A. Baitursynov puts a focus on symmetric rotation of three- and four-syllabic rhythmic groups in the line [2]. Rhythmic group in Kazakh verses should not exceed three-four syllables, as it is said in the works of Z. Akhmetov: «Inner rhythm of poetry speech in Kazakh poetry is reached due to repeatedly rotation of proportionate or similar short speech sections – syllabic groups which having relative rhythmic independence are clearly distinctive in the process of live articulating of a verse».

The most common in Kazakh poetry are seven-eleven syllables verses: songs, big poetic forms, and four-five-six syllable verses – small poetic forms which ca be found mainly in proverbs and sayings.

Intonational nature of poetic speech is expressed in a poetry rhythm. Rhythm as component of intonation is adding to it a certain color. A basic unit of poetic rhythm is a line; Kazakh poetry is defined as syllabic with the same number of syllables in a poetic line. The similar pattern can be found in African American poetry. In one of the W.E.B. Du Bois works, there are even larger – fourteen syllable lines, organized with the same rhythmic structure:

Dark daughter of the lotus leaves that watch the Southern Sea!

Wan spirit of a prisoned soul a-panting to be free!

The muttered music of thy streams, the whisper of the deep,

Have kissed each other in God’s name and kissed a world to sleep. [1]

Necessary requirement for rhythmic organization is giving to every poetic line a certain number of syllables. Within a long line it is possible to identify intonational units – rhythmic groups and syntagmas. In small poetic forms – proverbs, sayings – rhythmic group, syntagma and line coincide in volume, but in big poetic forms a line, as a rule, consists of several rhythmic groups.

Rhythmic segmentation of Kazakh speech which is expressed by rhythmic stress plays an important role in rendering the meaning of expression and the meaning of information depends on its correct distribution. The basic prosodic components of accents in Kazakh, as experimental and phonetic data show, are length and, partially, melodic.

To small poetic forms, as mentioned above, we refer proverbs and sayings, edifying words, which are the best patterns of folklore containing various vital, social and other stirring sides related to traditions, rites and spiritual values of a society. Being polished by folk’s mouth they assume linguistic shapes with corresponding syntactical and intonational characteristics.In small poetic forms mostly common works contain not more than two-four lines. Distiches and tetrastiches, as a rule, have from four to eight syllables. In such proverbs and sayings there occur various types of sentences: narrative, imperative, interrogative; in structure – complete, incomplete, expanding, unexpanded, which are shaped with different intonemes.

In the a majority of two-lined proverbs each line usually represents simple, unexpanded sentence in the structure of asydentic composite sentence whereas in other – the lines are shaped in narrative sentences, or in hortatory ones. As a rule, syntagma (rhythmic group) coincides with the verse line in its volume being an indicator of lined and at the same time intonational-syntactic segmentation [5]. The border of a line dictates a necessary active pause – break in sound. Keeping metric speech supposes strict coincidence of lined pauses in length. Determined length of pauses influences expressive effect of verse.

In some proverbs the first line can be characterized by rising melodic curve, in others the line can have falling melodic contour. In various non-ending syntagmas there can be found intonemes of incompletenes or, usually, final syntagmas are shaped with intonemes of completeness [4].

Hortatory sentences with the verbs in the imperative form are normally accented at the expense of dynamic and temporal devices. Melodic intervals of beginning and ending of such phrases are valuable, and shown by expanded tonal diapasons. In all prosodic characteristics and semantico-grammatical meaning the intoneme of categorical motive corresponds to the corresponding types of sentences.

Thus, small poetic forms (proverbs-sayings) represent by themselves repeated rising-falling intonational outlines, while large poetic forms (poems etc.) according to the syntactic aspect consist of compound sentences, compound syntactic units relevant to intention of expression. They are presented by various communicative types (narrative, hortatory, interrogative) being shaped by revealed intonemes of the Kazakh language. Intonemes and their variants are realized in all types of syntagmas creating intonational ornaments depending on semantic and structural peculiarities of a phrase. Frequency movement direction of the main tone, tonal diapasons and levels, melodic intervals, intensity, pause, tempo, timbre, localization of stresses and other prosodic devices are contributing to intonational-rhythmic structuring of poetic works [8]. Intonational contours of large poetic form being repeated in lines and strophes represent symmetrical wavy ornaments reminding, as A. Baitursynov said, patterns on a Kazakh traditional carpet [2].