Problems of Perception of Rhythm in English Poetry by Nigerian Undergraduate Students

Adegbite, Wale ; Adejuwon, Anthony O. (2005)


This study aims to investigate the problems of perception and description of rhythm in English poems by Nigerian undergraduate students. The examination scripts of 200 third-year undergraduate students of English language in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, were scrutinized and their responses to some questions pertaining to rhythm in the stylistics course analyzed. The problems identified in the study include: (a) lack of proper understanding of the concept of rhythm and its application, (b) communication distance between the poet and the analyst and (c) lack of knowledge of relevant poetic conventions, periodic styles and peculiarities and innovations of individual poets. The study concludes that for a proper mastery of the concept of rhythm and its application to take place, students have to learn and understand the essential categories, viz, stress, syllable, foot and metre and also be familiar with some conventional patterns pertaining to the periodic and individual styles in poetic discourse.