What is Alliteration?

Latin is the language in which the etymological origin of the word alliteration at hand is found. Thus, we can establish that it is a term that is made up of three clearly differentiated parts: the prefix ad that means “towards”, the word littera that can be translated as letter, and the suffix -tion that comes to be determined as “action and effect”.

The alliteration is, in tonal languages, the repetition of a sound. When it is a minor art verse, the repetition must be detected more than once, but in major art verses for there to be alliteration, at least three repetitions must be found. It is a frequent resource in tongue twisters and in texts created to teach children to pronounce a certain sound.

In prosody, alliteration consists of reiterating the initial consonant at the beginning of two consecutive or sparsely separated terms. That is, it involves repeating consonant sounds when a word begins or on its stressed syllable. For example: “The roar of the branch when breaking” or “The classic clarinets have been heard. ”

In poetry, alliteration is understood as a rhetorical figure that aims to achieve a sound effect from the consecutive reiteration of a single phoneme or similar phonemes. On the other hand, alliteration can also suggest images associated with the senses, such as the sound of water or the gallop of a horse.

Today, alliteration is an embellishment in prose and poetry, which pursues an effect of musicality and sound. However, the alliterative verse was a principle of formal structure and the fundamental resource in the ancient Germanic verse.

Examples of alliteration: “In the silence only the whisper of the bees that sounded was heard” (belonging to Garcilaso de la Vega); “Hear the sordid sound of the hangover, infamous mob of nocturnal birds” (Luis de Góngora), “The vague dragonfly of vague illusion” (Rubén Darío).

In the first example cited, that of the Toledo poet Garcilaso de la Vega, it must be emphasized that alliteration resides in the repeated use of the letter “s”, a very subtle and effective way of introducing the sound described, the one they make the bees. A buzz that of said animals that although it is not written as such if it reaches the reader thanks to the splendid use that is made of the aforementioned resource used.

In addition to all the above, it must be emphasized that on many occasions, alliteration tends to be confused with another resource called onomatopoeia. However, the difference is very clear and that is, while the first term consists of the repetition of phonemes in order to “evoke” a specific sound, the second concept comes to describe the action of imitation or recreation of the sound of something by means of formation of a specific word.

Thus, among the most frequent examples of words formed to recreate this sound and that are considered onomatopoeia we find: “ring” as a call sign on a telephone, “wow” as a dog’s bark, “meow” as a cat’s meow or “boom” like a shot.