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Assonance

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Assonance is the repetion of vowel sounds to create internal linking within phrases or sentences, and together with alliteration and consonance[1] serves as one of the building blocks of verse. For example, in the phrase "Do you like blue?", the /uː/ ("o"/"ou"/"ue" sound) is repeated within the sentence and is assonant.

Assonance is found more often in verse than in prose. It is used in (mainly modern) English-language poetry, and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish and Celtic languages.

The eponymous student of Willy Russell's Educating Rita described it as "getting the rhyme wrong".

ExamplesEdit

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the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"
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And murmuring of innumerable bees Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess VII.203
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The crumbling thunder of seas Robert Louis Stevenson
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That solitude which suits abstruser musings Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Frost at Midnight"
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The scurrying furred small friars squeal in the dowse Dylan Thomas
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Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn't do diddily." Big Pun, "Twinz"
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It's hot and it's monotonous. Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George, It's Hot Up Here
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tundi tur unda Catullus 11
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on a proud round cloud in white high night E.E. Cummings, if a Cheer Rules Elephant Angel Child Should Sit
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I've never seen so many Dominican women with cinnamon tans Will Smith, "Miami"
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I bomb atomically—Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses can't define how I be droppin' these mockeries. Inspectah Deck, from the Wu-Tang Clan's "Triumph."
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Up in the arroyo a rare owl's nest I did spy, so I loaded up my shotgun and watched owl feathers fly Jon Wayne, Texas Assonance
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Gradually kids who talked about Narnia kept getting balmier and balmier C.S. Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


J. R. R. Tolkien's Errantry is a poem whose meter contains three sets of trisyllabic assonances in every set of four lines.

Assonance can also be used in forming proverbs, often a form of short poetry. In the Oromo language of Ethiopia, note the use of a single vowel throughout the following proverb, an extreme form of assonance:

  • kan mana baala, aʔlaa gaala (“A leaf at home, but a camel elsewhere"; somebody who has a big reputation among those who do not know him well.)

In more modern verse, stressed assonance is frequently used as a rhythmic device in modern rap. An example is Public Enemy's 'Don't Believe The Hype': "Their pens and pads I snatch 'cause I've had it / I'm not an addict, fiending for static / I see their tape recorder and I grab it / No, you can't have it back, silly rabbit".

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Khurana, Ajeet "Assonance and Consonance" Outstanding Writing. [1]


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