Analysis of a phonetic and rule based algorithm approach to determine rhyme categories and patterns in verse

Kavanagh, F. (2007). Analysis of a phonetic and rule based algorithm approach to determine rhyme categories and patterns in verse. Student dissertation for The Open University module M801 MSc in Software Development Research Dissertation.

Please note that this student dissertation is made available in the format that it was submitted for examination, thus the author has not been able to correct errors and/or departures from academic standards in areas such as referencing.



This dissertation analyses the use of a rule based algorithm incorporating a phonetic dictionary to identify the rhyme structure and pattern of English language poetic verse. Current methods of rhyme analysis incorporate the use of rhyming tables to identify rhyme. These rhyming tables require considerable manual effort to maintain and update and are cumbersome to use to allow for the variety of pronunciation and accentuation used in English verse. The research conducted and outlined in this paper assesses the feasibility of using the rules based algorithm to determine rhyme word pairs and hence rhyme structure and patterns. For this research a prototype software application was developed using the JAVA programming language. Various rhyme pattern matching rules were modelled to identify particular rhyme types and words were identified and matched through these series of rules. By loading a phonetic dictionary it was possible to represent each word in multiple formats: the original ‘base’ word, the phonetic spelling representation of the word and the stressed vowel patterns of the word. A fourth representation was also possible by applying phonetic representation rules based on the Phonix/Editex method described by Zobel and Dart (1996). Using these four representations of a single word to facilitate comparison with another improved both the occurrence of a match and the confidence of the match. The results of the research shows that it is possible to apply a rule based algorithm to the problem of rhyme structure identification in English verse. Although time is required to model the rules and rule exceptions to improve the accuracy of the rhyme identification this approach requires no manual effort once these are modelled. A single rule can correctly identify multiple rhyme types and word pairs in comparison to a look up rhyme table that can only identify a single rhyme pairing for each entry and must be updated for each new pairing regardless of its similarity to an existing one. By using a phonetic dictionary the variance of pronunciation and accentuation in English verse may be avoided by loading a dictionary with the appropriate phonetic representations (assuming a dictionary with the appropriate pronunciation exists). This means it is very simple to alternate between the identification of rhyme patterns in eighteen century English verse and identifying rhyme patterns in twentieth century American English verse by simply loading the appropriate phonetic dictionary.

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