Original Articles

Rhythmical patterning of Tsonga children's traditional oral poetry

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 11, issue 4, 1991 , pages: 133–143
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.1991.10586906
Author(s): MaryC. BillDepartment of African Languages, Republic of South Africa


The rhythmical nature of oral performance in Africa, for many genres, has often been noted. The process of transcribing a ‘simple’ genre like children's traditional poetry from a visual recording of performance, was described in a previous article. The design of a symbolic representation of the children's body movements and its incorporation within the transcription was included. A second work examined claims made for the universality of the rhythms of children's verse in the light of the Tsonga evidence. The present article outlines the development of a generalized prosodie statement for the verse lines of the genre.

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