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Phonetic expressive means and stylistic devices

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Onomatopoeia is a combination of speech-sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder, etc), by things (machines or tools etc,), by people 9sighing, laughter) and by animals.

The word onomatopoeia comes from the combination of two Greek words, one meaning name and the other meaning I make, so onomatopoeia literally means the name or sound I make. Many times, you can tell what an onomatopoeic word is describing based on letter combinations contained within the word. These combinations usually come at the beginning, but a few also come at the end.

1. Words Related to Water – These words often begin with sp- or dr-. Words that indicate a small amount of liquid often end in –le (sprinkle-drizzle). Splash spray sprinkle, drip, drizzle

2. Words related to the voice – sounds that come from the back of the throat tend to start with a gr- sound whereas sounds that come out of the mouth through the lips, tongue and teeth begin with mu- . Giggle growl mumble murmur.

3. Words related to collisions. Collisions can occur between any two or more objects. Sounds that begin with cl- usually indicate collisions between metal or glass objects, and words that end in –ng are sounds that resonate. Words that begin with th- usually describe dull sounds like soft but heavy things hitting wood or earth bam bang ding thud thump.

4. Words related to air. Because air doesn`t really make a sound unless it blows through smth, these words describe the sounds or air blowing through things or of things rushing through the air. Whisper is on this list and not the voice list because we do not use our voices to whisper. We only use the air from our lungs and the position of our teeth, lips and tongues to form audible words. Whisper flutter swish swoosh

5. Animal souns – cluck-cluck, bok-bok, tok-tok, kot-kot, or cotcotcodet. In the Us animals speak English mewo moo bark

There are two varieties of onomatopoeia – direct and indirect

Direct (ding-dong) – sound of the bells rung continuosly, 1) noisy 2) strenuously contested.


Alliteration occurs when a series of words in a row or close to a row have the same first consonant sound. She sells sea-shells. Aside from tongue twisters, alliteration is also used in poems, song lyrics, and even store or brand names.

How to identify alliteration?

The best way to spot alliteration being used in a sentence is to sound out the sentence, looking for the words with the identical consonant sounds. The alliteration occurs in the words that have the same sound.

Brand Names and Alliteration

Companies use this alliterative effect all the time. The major reason companies use this technique is to ensure that their brand name is memorable – paypay, best buy, coca-cola. Famous people and alliteration – Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Donald Duck. Phrases and quotes – busy as a bee, home sweet home. Good as gold, out of order.

Assonance – the repetition of similar vowels, usually in stressed syllables.

E.g: Dreadful young creatures – squealing and squawking. They both may produce the effect of euphony or cacophony.

Rhyme is the repetition of identical of similar terminal sound combinations of words. Rhyming words are generally placed at a regular distance from each other. In verse they are usually placed at the end of the corresponding line. Identity and particularly similarity of sound combinations may be relative. For instance, we distinguish between full rhymes and uncomplety rhymes. The full rhyme presupposes identity of the vowel sound and the following consonant sounds in a stressed billable, as in might needless, heedless. When there is identity of the stressed billable, including the initial consonant of the second syllable (in polysyllabic words), we have exact or identical rhymes.

Incomplete rhymes present a greater variety. They can be devided into two main groups – vowel rhymes and consonant rhymes. In vowel rhymes the vowels of the syllables in corresponding words are identical, but the consonants may be different, as in flesh – resh – press. Consonanty rhymes, on the contrary, show concordance in consonants and disparity in vowels, as in worth – forth , tale –tool treble –trouble, flung – long

According to the way the rhymes are arranged within the stanza, certain models have crystallized, for instance

1. Couplets – when the last words of two successive lines are rhymed. This is commonly marked aa.

2. Triple rhymes –aaa

3. Cross rhymes – abab

Framing or ring rhymes – abba

Why is rhyme used? – to emphasise certain words or ideas, to link various parts of a poem together, to influence the emotions and reactions of the reader. Rhyme schemes explain the rhyming patterns within poems. AABBCC – ryming couplets

Rhythm may be regular or irregular. Aural imagery is created.

Rhythm exists in all spheres of human activity and assumes multifarious forms. It is a mighty weapon in stirring up emotions whatever its nature or origin, whether it is musical – mechanical, or symmetrical as in architecture. КRhythm is a flow, movement, procedure, etc, characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features, as beat, or accent, in alternation with opposite or different elements or features.

Rhythm in language necessarily demands oppositions that altername: long, short, stressed, unstressed, high, low, and other contrasting segments of speech. Some theoreticians maintain that rhythm can only be perceived if there are occasional deviations from the regularity of alternations.

Metre is any form of periodicity in verse, its kind being determined by the character and number of syllables of which it consists. The meter is an ideal phenomenon characterized by its strict regularity, consistency and unchangeability.

Rhythm is flexible and sometimes an effort is require to perceive it. In classical verse it is perceived at the background of the metre. In prose – by the alternation of similar syntactical patterns. He gives the following definition of verse rhythm. It is the actual alternation of stress which appears as a result of interaction between the ideal metrical law and the natural phonetic properties of the given language material.


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