TONAL PATTERNS IN CHINESE REGULATED VERSE: A CORPUS STUDY
San Duanmu and Nathan Stiennon
It is well known that Chinese regulated verse should meet certain tonal requirements. We offer a corpus study and examine to what extent the
requirements are satisfied. The corpus consists of all regulated poems with seven-syllable lines in the anthology of Three Hundred Tang Poems. The result shows that only about 32% of the lines and 1% of the poems meet the strict version of the tonal requirements, according to which every syllable must use a designated tone. On the other hand, 95% of the lines and 68% of the poems satisfy the relaxed version of the tonal requirements, according to which the tonal choices for the first, third, and fifth syllables of a line are more flexible. We also discuss a some other points of interest: the Gu Ping constraint, comparisons of our results with those of five-syllable lines (Ripley 1980), and word frequencies.