Abstract

Using statistical evidence, this essay considers the differentiation of the tones of the second and fourth syllables in a pentasyllabic line during the Datong reign period 大同 (535–46) of the Liang 梁 (502–57), a crucial stage in the development of recent-style regulated verse. The increased use of 2–2–1 prosodic structure of the pentasyllabic lines of this period indicates that the fourth syllable in the line had become a defining caesural point. Furthermore, the emergence of this new regulation will be shown in relation to the growing need for semantic and aesthetic expression in pentasyllabic poetry ranging from the Southern and Northern dynasties 南北朝 (420–589) to the Sui 隋 (581–618) and the Tang 唐 (618–907) periods.

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