Alliteration

Chris has recently been entertaining/educating us with new words. Well you know I like playing with words, and I love Alliteration.  

Several years ago I read a novel by Sean Chercover, called Trigger City.  I remember nothing about the book but I made a note of this alliteration “Flower-boxes displayed dying dwarf dahlias in differing degrees of decay” Isn’t that wonderful?

Alliteration is defined as “The repetition of the leading consonant sound in each word throughout a sentence or a phrase. Alliteration is commonly used in poetry and tongue twisters. It is also sometimes used in advertising taglines and business names to make them more memorable.” according to wiki-answers and “the use of the same consonant or vowel at the beginning of each word” according to my Collins Dictionary which goes on to give the example of “round the rocks the ragged rascal ran”  Alliteration in literature, prose or poetry is used mainly to introduce style and make the piece of writing more memorable.
So consider these examples :

  • I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
    When far away an interrupted cry
    Came over houses from another street

    Robert Frost – Acquainted with the Night
  • Silence surged softly backwards and  forwards on the 
    forest’s ferny floor
    Walter De La Mare – The Listeners 
  • Once upon a midnight dreary, while
    I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, 

    Edgar Alan Poe – The Raven
  • “So we beat on, boats against the current,
    borne back ceaselessly into the past.

    F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
  • For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
    Lay like a load on my weary eye,
    And the dead were at my feet.

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
  • Perhaps tomorrow you will see her sail. 
    She sails at sunrise:
    John Masefield – The Wanderer

And of course, there are many instances of alliteration used in advertising:

  • Greyhound Going Great
  • Landrover – The best four by four by far
  • Jaguar – Don’t dream it; drive it

And Brand Names:

  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Pay Pal
  • Best Buy
  • Borders Books
  • Corporate Caterers
  • Perfect Party Planners
  • Absolute Accountants
  • Coca Cola

And people’s names

  • Ronald Regan
  • Jesse James
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Michael Moore
  • William Wordsworth
  • Mickey Mouse &
  • Donald Duck.

Another form of alliteration is sound, where the words have the same sounding beginnings but are not spelt in the same way

  • Funny phone
  • Quality kebabs – sorry can’t think of any others.  Can you?

And from the Wizard of Oz:

“Step forward, Tin Man. You dare to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk…And you, Scarecrow,
have the effrontery to ask for a
 brain! You billowing bale of bovine fodder!”

This game, for surely it is a game, could go on and on ad infinitum.  Until I fall fast asleep on my feet. Goodnight!

JB Wellington NZ
September 14, 2022

11 thoughts on “Alliteration”

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