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In verse doctrine, raising or lowering generally denotes the highlighted (marked) or not highlighted elements in the verse if, according to the underlying verse principle of the literature in question, the emphasis results from syllable sequence, words and rhythm and not, as in the case of the syllable-counting verse principle , alone from the position of the syllable in the verse.

In the quantitative verse principle of ancient poetry, where the quantity of a syllable is decisive for the form of the verse, the elevation corresponds to the length and the lowering corresponds to the shortness . In the accentuating verse principle of modern languages, especially German, the accentuation corresponds to the stressed syllable and the lowering corresponds to the unstressed syllable.

The terms increase and decrease should, however, be avoided in connection with ancient metrics, as a lot of confusion has arisen here, both historically and due to an unclear context. The ancient terms “arsis” and “thesis” , the translation of which is “lifting” and “lowering”, are originally derived from the lifting or lowering of the foot or finger during dance or beat. That is, the opposite of today, the lowering of the beat corresponded to the emphasis. Due to a change in meaning in late antiquity, the lifting of the foot became the lifting of the voice and thus the emphasized part.

More important than this historic shift in meaning is that in terms of ancient poetry rise and fall characteristics of the recitation and not of versification are so concrete Versgestalt and not the abstract verse. It is therefore wrong to identify elevation and depression with the verse elements of ancient meters , the elementum longum with the elevation and the breve with the depression, since, for example, the longum could also be realized in a specific verse using two short syllables (ambivalence). According to Christoph Küper, “nothing in the history of metrics has had such a fatal effect and triggered the confusion that is widely lamented as the failure to distinguish clearly between linguistic and metric units”.

On the other hand, in literatures with an accentuating verse principle, raising and lowering are the central and decisive terms. There are no ambivalences here with the elevations as in ancient metrics and their number is determined by the meter. Conversely, the meter is also determined by the given foot and number of elevations. For example, the specification of the iambus foot ( notated as ◡—) and five accents already results in the metric form of the iambic five- key :

◡ — ˌ◡ — ˌ◡ — ˌ◡ — ˌ◡—

One also speaks of the elevation principle of German poetry and differentiates meter measures according to four levers , five levers , six levers , etc. Since, according to Andreas Heusler's terminology, the German metric does not assume verse feet, but measures and every elevation marks the beginning of a measure of four-strokes , five strokes , six strokes etc.

Usually, when it comes to raising and lowering, a distinction is only made between these two, but some authors differentiate more precisely. So there is often an imprecise distinction between main accentuation and secondary accentuation (in the metric scheme notated with x́ or x̀). This can denote the dominant uplift in verse or colon or the regularly alternating sequence of stronger and weaker uplifts in dipodies of two-syllable verse feet. Going further, Franz Saran , for example, differentiated six levels of elevation, for example, elevation, normal and light elevation.

According to Heusler, a distinction is made between the syllables :

  • Lowering syllables: Can not stand in a lifting position without a perceived disturbance of the rhythm, are therefore not able to lift . Examples are prefixes such as “ge” or “be”.
  • Elevation-seeking syllables: Cannot be in the lowering position, so they cannot be lowered . Examples are first syllables of the root word with a long vowel, e.g. B. " Na se" or "ge moderate ".
  • Both lowering and lifting syllables: Can fill lifting or lowering positions depending on the rhythmic or semantic context. Examples are function words with a long vowel , e.g. B. "how" or "the".

See also:


  • Otto Knörrich: Lexicon of lyrical forms (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 479). 2nd, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-520-47902-8 , pp. 87-90.
  • Günther Schweikle, Dieter Burdorf (Hrsg.): Metzler Lexicon Literature. Terms and definitions. Metzler, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-476-01612-6 , p. 306.
  • Christian Wagenknecht: German metric. A historical introduction. Beck, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-406-07947-4 , p. 19.

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Küper: Language and Meter. Semiotics and Linguistics of Verse. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1988. Quoted in: Knörrich: Lexikon lyrischer Formen. Stuttgart 2005, p. 88.
  2. Knörrich: Lexicon of lyrical forms. Stuttgart 2005, p. 89.