The relationship of Chaucer's rhyme words and syntax

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Kaneko, Toshio
Fifield, Merle
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Thesis (M.A.)
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The language of Chaucer bears a close relationship to his versification, meter, and rhyme. Chaucer's experimentation in a variety of verse forms in his career as a poet show how he tried to deal with the English language that was then undergoing major changes in phonology, morphology, and syntax.This thesis has analyzed the grammatical characteristics and syntax of selected Chaucerian rhyme words and has established the frequency of phrasal constituent structures in the sample. The sample consists of random groups of 1,000 lines from 12 tales which are divided into four groups in terms of the periods of writing date. In addition, those 12 tales have been classified into two types according to their rhyme scheme. The findings demonstrate that:1. The nominal rhyme is used most frequently and twice as much as the verbal rhyme.2. There is a tendency that the verbal rhyme is less frequently used in the heroic couplet writings but more often used in the rhyme royal writings.3. The adjective and adverbial rhymes seem to occur almost equally in ratio.4. There is a tendency that the nominal rhyme appears most frequently in the noun phrase functioning as an object of the preposition.5. Concerning the adverbial rhyme, the highest usage is as one indicating manner.6. There is a tendency that, in accordance with the progress of the periods, the frequency of the nominal rhyme gradually increases while the verbaladverbial rhymes, on the contrary, decrease.7. It is likely that the frequency variation might be caused by the progress of the periods, not by the type of rhyme scheme.8. Chaucer seems to prefer the minimal phrase to the expanded one.