How does alliteration work in a poem?

assonance

The assonance is a rhyme form and still a stylistic device of rhetoric. We encounter assonance primarily in lyrical texts, but can appear in works of all kinds and genres. Assonance is a vowel half-rhyme, which means that there is a consonance of vowels in neighboring words (Vowels; a, e, i, o, u, ä, ö, ü, eu, au) finds.

This form of rhyme is particularly widespread in Old Spanish and Old French poetry and is therefore often found in the lyrical imitation or translation of these works (see romance).

Note: The word assonance is derived from Latin (ad ~ to, an; sonar ~ sound) and can be translated as "sound" or just like consonance. This interpretation sums up what the assonance basically describes.

Assonance based on an example with the vowel "A"

The above line of verse illustrates the principle of assonance. The two words sleep and complain generally do not rhyme. In any case, because of the last syllable, they don't sound identical. However, they have the same vowel - the "A" - and thus get a vowel consonance.

That meansthat the vowels in neighboring words - words that follow one another - are the same and thus form a kind of rhythm within the poem. Let us take a look at the first stanza of Ernst Jandl's poem Otto's pug:


ottos pug

ottos pug defies
otto: go pug go
ottos pug hops away
otto: so


Consequently, Jandl also uses the consonance of the vowel "O". Although we can find an end rhyme between the second and third verse, the rest of the poem is based on the single letter being repeated over and over and thus forming a unit.

Examples of the assonance

Bottom of the heart | painful sore

Here we are, as it were, with one double assonance to do, since the consonance can be found within two words. This form of the half rhyme is very often used in rap to create a rhythm in the respective lyrics.



The two nouns tooRod and Makes form an assonance in the immediate sequence, which is caused by the same vowel "A". As a result, the two words sound similar if they follow one another and give a text rhythm. Finally, let's take a look at an example from Brentanos "Romances of the Rosary„.


Black women, black men
stroll through the streets of Bologna.
Will they go to the corpse?
Who is brought to the grave so late?

But no priest is seen
Cross and flag not worn.
Everything flows loud and lively,
and the fast cars rattle.

Not for Metten or Vespers
Misery, volley, ave,
also at no funeral mass:
You only read these in the evening.


Note: In this example only the assonances in the first stanza have been highlighted in color.

The most important thing about assonance at a glance
  • Assonance is basically described as a vowel half-rhyme.
  • Furthermore, we can only speak of such an abnormality if a vowel is repeated in at least two, at best three, neighboring words.
  • Assonance is related to alliteration, since the repetition of initial syllables can create a similar pattern within a work (→ examples of alliteration).
  • In lyric poetry, assonance is mostly used as a stylistic device to connect verses with one another
  • Due to the overriding consonance, assonance is one of the most widespread stylistic devices, even if it is sometimes quite difficult to recognize.