Colon (verse doctrine)

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The colon (plural kola ; Greek  κῶλον "limb") is a structural unit in ancient metrics that stands between the smaller comma and the larger period , derived from the rhetorical breakdown into comma , colon and period .

Apart from its length of 7 to 16 syllables, the colon differs from the comma in that it is syntactically and semantically independent. It differs from the period corresponding to the complete sentence in any length of the period. The colon can (in modern poetics) be encompassing ( enjambement ), but in total no longer than a single verse.

In the metrical scheme , kola appear as part of longer meter measures , e.g. as short verses resulting from the main caesura in the hexameter, but also as independent verses , especially as shortened verses at the end of a series of metrically similar verses in certain stanza forms , such as the Adoneus as the final verse of the Sapphic stanza . In the second case the colon specifically mention the different shape, which is why verses of two, three or four metric unequal verses as Dikolon or tricolon or Tetrakolon be called. If a colon shape recurs regularly and dominantly, one speaks of a rhythmic leitmotif .

In the German metric, the colon is occasionally equated with the concept of the word foot coined by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock . However, the problem of equation (and the subjectivity of the structure in Kola ) is evident in the well-known Klopstock example of the structure of a sentence in word feet. Klopstock divides into four words:

A terrible sound | the winged | Thunder song | in the host.

On the other hand, due to the syntactic context, one would divide into a maximum of three kola:

A terrible sound | the winged thunder song | in the host.

The word foot therefore seems to correspond more to the syntactically dependent comma, which the example shows to be more suitable for structuring speech acts of approximately the same length.