Based on evidence from the lyrics of Taiwanese folk songs, this paper shows how metricality is keyed to interrelations between syntax and phonology. The lyrics are shown to allow mismatches between beats and syllables, and the way that syllables and beats are aligned yields the lyric rhythm. A set of well-formedness principles (Rhythm Principles) is proposed to govern the process of beat alignment. These principles rely on two major syntactic factors: the categorial distinction between lexical and functor syllables and the hierarchy of immediate constituents. The Rhythm Principles also effectively filter out metrical patterns that would result in improper beat alignment.
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