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Figures of sound in literature

Figures of sound in literature has to do with poetic devices that are appealing musically or metrically in a literary work.

Unlike the usual poetic devices which we refer to figures of speech, these has the ability to beautify a line more to the ears of the audience.

1. Alliteration: This is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in a line of a poem. For example

  • Father Francis  fried fresh fish for friends…

The consonant alliterated in the example is the alphabet F

  • Caught into the clash
  • Bringing better books to you.

2. Onomatopoeia: This is when sounds of words are used to express the meaning, in this case the sound resembles the action denoted  by the word

  • Bang!
  • Zoom!
  • Boom!
  • Zap!
  • Slash!
  • Tick Tock! Etc

3. Pun: This is the play on words. Two words sounding alike but with different meaning are played with by placing both words in one sentence to but drives home different meanings

  • Better late than be late

The initial late here means to arrive after time but the latter means to die.

  • Tick for the Tick

The first Tick means to make a sound and the second means the parasite.

4. Repetition: This is when a word is used more than once for the sake of emphasis and sometimes rhythm. E.g

  • Tap! Tap! Tap!
  • Drip drip
  • Alone on the wide wide sea etc

5. Refrain: This is the repetition of one or more phrases or line at intervals in a poem. Usually placed at the end of every stanza.

6. Parallelism: This is the repetition of identical structures, clauses and sentences in a stanza or poem.

7. Assonance: This is the repetition of internal vowel sound in the middle or initial words in a line of poetry e.g,

  • Our echoes roll from soul to soul

The repetition of the vowel sound ‘O’ gives the line a form of rhyme. Another example is;

  • Action and Alliance cant stand Apart.

8. consonance : This is the repetition of the same or similar consonants, following a change in the subsequent vowel sound e.g,

  • Don’t let the pet hurt you

the words ending with the letter ‘t’ leaves a rhythm.





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