Traditional treatments of meter in nursery rhymes have two disadvantages. First, they focus on only a small number of lines. Second, they pursue derivational rules on a language-specific basis, but lack universal validity. This essay establishes a corpus of 3,155 lines of Taiwanese nursery rhymes and provides a non-derivational analysis of the data. The corpus shows a preference for masculine rhythm, which is found in 93.59 percent of the data. Metrical beat-sharing, then, allows feminine lines to be
avoided. This essay puts forth a set of metrical constraints under the framework of Prince & Smolensky’s (1993) Optimality Theory. The constraints are part of Universal Grammar, but are ranked language-specifically in Taiwanese nursery rhymes.
1. General Three issues of NJL appeared in 2015 with a total of 11 research articles, including: Ito Junko and Armin Mester, ‘The Perfect Prosodic Word in Danish’ (5–36), on Danish stød through the lens of OptimalityTheory and as a means to determine the aspects of a perfect prosodic word