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The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Nuts and Bolts: galliambics

Galliambic metre is associated with the cult of the goddess Cybele, whose adherents are rather often described as frenzied.

If you want to be technical, it goes like this: 

uu_u_u_ _//uu_uuuu x. 

To put it in another way, as Oxford Living Dictionaries tells us, galliambics means relating to or consisting of two catalectic iambic dimeters...*, no, come back!

Okay, if you don't want to be technical, then it's a rhythm thing, and this superb video, uploaded by fiatlapides, shows you everything you need to know (it starts in Latin, but there's an English version about six minutes in):

Do galliambics have any relevance at all for those of us who seldom speak Latin? 

Not really, though Tennyson imitated the form in Boadicea - but that doesn't stop it being simply terrific, does it?

Thing To Consider Today: galliambics. This word was made up in the middle of the 1800s from the Latin galliambus, a song of the Galli. The Galli were the priests of Cybele. And often, as I said, frenzied.

*In other words, according to Collins Dictionaries, four lesser Ionics.

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