Assonance

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Assonance is a resemblance in the sounds of words/syllables either between their vowels (e.g., meat, bean) or between their consonants (e.g., keep, cape). Assonance_sentence_0

However, assonance between consonants is generally called consonance in American usage. Assonance_sentence_1

The two types are often combined, as between the words six and switch, in which the vowels are identical, and the consonants are similar but not completely identical. Assonance_sentence_2

If there is repetition of the same vowel or some similar vowels in literary work, especially in stressed syllables, this may be termed "vowel harmony" in poetry (though linguists have a different definition of "vowel harmony"). Assonance_sentence_3

A special case of assonance is rhyme, in which the endings of words (generally beginning with the vowel sound of the last stressed syllable) are identical—as in fog and dog or history and mystery. Assonance_sentence_4

Vocalic assonance is an important element in verse. Assonance_sentence_5

Assonance occurs more often in verse than in prose; it is used in English-language poetry and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish, and the Celtic languages. Assonance_sentence_6

Examples Assonance_section_0

English poetry is rich with examples of assonance: Assonance_sentence_7

It also occurs in prose: Assonance_sentence_8

Hip hop relies on assonance: Assonance_sentence_9

It is also heard in other forms of popular music: Assonance_sentence_10

Assonance is common in proverbs: Assonance_sentence_11

Total assonance is found in a number of Pashto proverbs from Afghanistan: Assonance_sentence_12

Assonance_unordered_list_0

  • La zra na bal zra ta laar shta. "From one heart to another there is a way."Assonance_item_0_0
  • Kha ghar lwar day pa sar laar lary. "Even if a mountain is very high, there is a path to the top."Assonance_item_0_1

This poetic device can be found in the first line of Homer's Iliad: Mênin áeide, theá, Pēlēïádeō Akhilêos (Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος). Assonance_sentence_13

Another example is Dies irae (probably by Thomas of Celano): Assonance_sentence_14

Assonance_description_list_1

  • Dies iræ, dies illaAssonance_item_1_2
  • Solvet sæclum in favilla,Assonance_item_1_3
  • Teste David cum Sibylla.Assonance_item_1_4

In Dante's Divine Comedy there are some stanzas with such repetition. Assonance_sentence_15

Assonance_description_list_2

  • così l’animo mio, ch’ancor fuggiva,Assonance_item_2_5
  • si volse a retro a rimirar lo passoAssonance_item_2_6
  • che non lasciò già mai persona viva.Assonance_item_2_7

In the following strophe from Hart Crane's "To Brooklyn Bridge" there is the vowel [i] in many stressed syllables. Assonance_sentence_16

Assonance_description_list_3

  • How many dawns, chill from his rippling restAssonance_item_3_8
  • The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,Assonance_item_3_9
  • Shedding white rings of tumult, building highAssonance_item_3_10
  • Over the chained bay waters Liberty—Assonance_item_3_11

All rhymes in a strophe can be linked by vowel harmony into one assonance. Assonance_sentence_17

Such stanzas can be found in Italian or Portuguese poetry, in works by Giambattista Marino and Luís Vaz de Camões: Assonance_sentence_18

Assonance_description_list_4

  • Giunto a quel passo il giovinetto Alcide,Assonance_item_4_12
  • che fa capo al camin di nostra vita,Assonance_item_4_13
  • trovò dubbio e sospeso infra due guideAssonance_item_4_14
  • una via, che’ due strade era partita.Assonance_item_4_15
  • Facile e piana la sinistra ei vide,Assonance_item_4_16
  • di delizie e piacer tutta fiorita;Assonance_item_4_17
  • l’altra vestìa l’ispide balze alpineAssonance_item_4_18
  • di duri sassi e di pungenti spine.Assonance_item_4_19

This is ottava rima (abababcc), a very popular form in Renaissance, used in the first place in long epic poems. Assonance_sentence_19

Assonance_description_list_5

  • As armas e os barões assinalados,Assonance_item_5_20
  • Que da ocidental praia Lusitana,Assonance_item_5_21
  • Por mares nunca de antes navegados,Assonance_item_5_22
  • Passaram ainda além da Taprobana,Assonance_item_5_23
  • Em perigos e guerras esforçados,Assonance_item_5_24
  • Mais do que prometia a força humana,Assonance_item_5_25
  • E entre gente remota edificaramAssonance_item_5_26
  • Novo Reino, que tanto sublimaram;Assonance_item_5_27

There are many examples of vowel harmony in French, Czech, and Polish poetry. Assonance_sentence_20


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assonance.