Meaning of Alliteration in English

Meaning of Alliteration in English

Alliteration is an expressive resource that consists of the notorious repetition of the same or of the same sounds, above all consonant, in a sentence. The word alliteration is of Latin origin, is composed of the following expressions; the prefix “ad” which means “towards”, “littera” that expresses “letter” and suffix “-ción” that indicates “action and effect”.

Alliteration is a rhetorical figure that is characterized by the consecutive repetition of the same phoneme, similar, consonant or vowel phonemes in a sentence or verse.

In reference to the verse, the repetition of a sound must be present at least 2 times in a minor art verse, in turn, in the major art verse, alliteration must be verified at least 3 times.

In reference to the prosody, branch of phonology, the initial consonant must be repeated at the beginning of 2 consecutive terms or barely separated from each other, that is, it is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of accented consonants or syllables, such as : “My mother spoils me.”

On the other hand, in poetry, alliteration is characterized by achieving a sound effect by repeatedly reiterating a single phoneme or similar phonemes.

The purpose of alliteration is to beautify prose and poetry in order to produce sounds and musicality. Likewise, alliteration allows recreating images associated with the senses, as is the following case of the poem belonging to the poet Garcilaso de la Vega: “in the silence you only heard the whisper of the bees that sounded”, you can see that the repetition of The letter “S” is a way of representing the sound that bees make.

Generally, alliteration adds a bit of fun to the phrase and, that is why it is observed in tongue twisters, for example: “three sad tigers ate wheat in a wheat field”.

Also, the presence of alliteration is essential in the books of children who are in the stage of knowing how to read since this expressive resource helps to memorize the letters.

Alliteration Examples

  • “Sighs escape from his strawberry mouth” – Rubén Darío
  • “His kissing mouth erases sadness” – Alfredo Le Pera
  • “The brief flight of a green veil”
  • “Of finals, fleeting, fugitives, fires melted in your skin founded” – Jaime Siles

Alliteration and onomatopoeia

Constantly alliteration is confused with another expressive resource known as onomatopoeia. It is noteworthy that the onomatopoeia consists of imitating or recreating sounds, animal noises or things through written representation, for example: “boom”, “ring”, “pump” among others.