Automatic Detection of Enjambment in German Readout Poetry

Hussein Hussein, Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek, Timo Baumann


One of the most important patterns in ancient as well as modern poetry is the enjambment, the continuation of a sentence beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza. The paper reports first activities towards the development of a digital tool to analyze the accentuation of poetic enjambments in readout poetry. The aim in this contribution is to recognize two forms of enjambment (emphasized and unemphasized) in poems using audio and text data. We use data from lyrikline which is a major online portal for spoken poetry whereas poems are read aloud by the original authors. We identified by hermeneutical means based on literary analysis a total of 69 poems being characteristic for the use of enjambments in modern and postmodern German poetry and train classifiers to differentiate the emphasized/unemphasized categorization. A remarkable result of our automated analyses (and to our knowledge the first data-driven analysis of this kind) is the identification of a cultural difference in the accentuation of enjambments: statistically speaking, poets from the former GDR tend to emphasize the enjambment, whereas poets from the FRG do not. We use features derived from speech-to-text alignment and statistical parsing information such as pause lengths, number of lines with verbs, and number of lines with punctuation. The best classification results, calculated by the F-measure, for the both types of enjambment (emphasized/unemphasized) is 0.69.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-67

Cite as: Hussein, H., Meyer-Sickendiek, B., Baumann, T. (2018) Automatic Detection of Enjambment in German Readout Poetry. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 329-333, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-67.


@inproceedings{Hussein2018,
  author={Hussein Hussein and Burkhard Meyer-Sickendiek and Timo Baumann},
  title={Automatic Detection of Enjambment in German Readout Poetry},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={329--333},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-67},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-67}
}