Tag Archives: Arabic

Rhyming and languages

Last night, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative held an event titled ArtCore: International Poetry Night. The focus of the event was poetry recited in different languages. The languages featured last night were American Sign Language, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, English, Hindi and Vietnamese.

There were 11 poems recited. The two poems recited in Hindi by Gautum were his own compositions. In my opinion, they were quite good. As a Hindi speaker myself, I know it takes considerable effort to make a poem rhyme without usuing onomatopoeia.

It can argued that rhyming in any language requires considerable effort. True enough, but in my experiences with languages, I have found some languages harder to rhyme in and some take little to no effort at all.

I am a native English and Hindi speaker. I find rhyming in English a lot more easier than I do in Hindi. On a rhyming scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most difficult, I would put English at a 3 and Hindi at a 6.5.

A language I think is easier to rhyme in is French. In high school, I studied French for two years. Since the language itself is naturally lyrical, rhyming becomes more of matching tones than sounds. What makes it really easy is the verbs. Instead of turning this into a French lesson, I will let this song demonstrate the point I am trying to make. The song is called “Ma libert√© (My freedom)”:

Ergo, on the rhyming scale, I would put French at 2.

I have not had a lot of exposure to Arabic poetry. Of what I have heard, I did not notice a particular rhyme scheme. Arabic songs, on the other hand, do not have a rhyming scheme. Songs by Amr Diab are good examples. This one is one of my personal favourites, “Youm Met’belna”:

This song however, “Barsha Barsha”, does rhyme. It is another of my favourites:¬†

I am not going to put Arabic on the rhyme scale because I do not know the language well enough.

The point I am trying to make is that while rhyming in any language is a remarkable feat, it is easier to do so in some languages than it is in others.


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February 2, 2013 · 4:05 pm