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Lecture 4.1 Euphony. Alliteration. Assonance. Onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia. Metre. Rhythm. Rhyme


Euphony.From Greek eu- meaning well and phone meaning sound. This is a special sound organisation of speech, capable of producing a pleasing acoustic effects. Euphony is achieved by alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhythm, rhyme.

Alliteration.From Greek all meaning two and litera meaning letter. This is a repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of successive words or accented syllables. Alliteration is deeply rooted in the tradition of English folklore. It may be found in folk songs, proverbs, traditional pairs of words.

safe and sound, live and learn

It may be used to imitate the sounds of nature or to create an emphatic effect.

There are 12 months in all the year,

As I hear many men say.

But the merriest month in all the year

Is the merry month of May.

Alliteration is traditionally used in poetry, headlines, slogans, titles of books.

“Pride and Prejudice”, work of wages - slogan, the school of scandal (Sheridan)

Assonance.From Latin assonere meaning to respond. This is a repetition of vowels often connected with rhyme and rhythm.

Onomatopoeia.From Greek making. This is the use of sound-imitating words.

There are two variants of it:

o direct (buzz, bang, drip, hiss, clap)

o indirect (by means of repeated sounds which imitate some natural phenomena)

Snow is so snowy when it’s snowing. I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going. (American poet Nash)

Rhythm.Rhythm is a regular alternation of similar or equal units of speech. When applied to poetry it means the alteration of accented and unaccented syllables. When applied to prose, it means a measured flow of words and phrases. In poetry the notion of rhythm is closely connected with verse and metre.

Verse is the form of literary composition in which rhythms are rendered regularly and systematically

Metre.From Greek metron meaning measure. In English verse it is a systematization of rhythm determined by the relationship between accented and unaccented syllables. The smallest unit of metre is called the foot. In English poetry there are five basic meters, two disyllabic and three trisyllabic.

Disyllabic feet:

o iambus -/

o trochee /-

Trisyllabic feet:

o dactyl /--

o anapaest --/

o amphibrach -/-


Rhyme.Rhyme is a characteristic feature of only poetry. Rhyme is the repetition of identical final sounds of words.

Alliteration and assonance, especially when combined together, may also be regarded as types of rhyme. But, strictly speaking, the notion of rhyme may only be applied to the endings.

There are three basic functions of rhyme in poetry:

1) rhythmical, as rhyme is marking the ends of each line, the latter being regular periods in poetry

2) mnemonic (relation to memory), to remember better

3) showing the hidden connection (sometimes based on contrast, sometimes on affinity of the notions falling under the rhymed words rather denoted by the rhymed words)

There are two main types of rhyme with regard to similarity of the terminal sounds:

1) full rhymes, where we have the likeness of both vowels (arms – harms)

2) imperfect rhymes:

a) vowel rhyme shows identity of vowels but difference of the preceding consonants (peach – reach, bread – creed)

b) consonant rhyme shows similarity of consonants upon the background of different vowels (fir – four, turn – tone) *most common for West European verses

c) ‘eye’ rhyme shows the identity of spelling without likeness in pronunciation (brood – flood, scarf – wharf, hay – quay) *this is specifically English

According to their structure rhymes can be masculine (single), feminine (double) and dactylic (triple).

Masculine rhyme is an agreement in sound of one final accented syllable (surmount – discount).

Feminine rhyme is the same agreement of two final syllables with the first one being accented (delightful – brightful, ashes – flashes).

Dactylic rhyme is coincidence in the sounds of the last three syllables with the first one accented (regretfully – forgetfully).

Rhymes in verses may be organized in different schemes:

1) couplet rhymes (a – a), when two neighboring rhymes are bound together with same rhyme

Shed to tear! Oh, shed to tear!

The flower will bloom another year. (Kits)

2) crossed rhyme (a – b – a – b)

3) framing, ring rhyme (a – b –b – a)

4) inner rhyme which breaks by itself a longer line in verse into a number of shorter rhymed periods

The chill rain is falling, the night warm crawling,

The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling. (Shelly)

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