, ,

, ,

Thus the given examples proved the hypothesis that there is a certain type of correlation between the meaning of a word and its phonetic properties. It is obvious then that a certain acoustic effect appears when the words are deliberately chosen and combined in prose or poetry. In poetry or in emotive prose we cannot help feeling that the arrangement of sounds and words secure the musical effect of expression and carries a definite aesthetic function.

In that way the stylistic devices on the phonological level are the specific ways of selection and combination of sounds that impart a special phonetic form to the text and consequently colour it emotionally and expressively.


Phonetic means of stylistics


Onomatopoeia is a combination of speech sounds which aims at imitating sounds produced in nature. Combination of speech sounds of this type will inevitably be associated with whatever produces the natural sound.


Direct Onomatopoeia is contained in words that imitate natural sounds: ding-dong, buzz, bang, cuckoo, , , , , - .


E.g. Im getting married in the morning!

Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.

: -! -! ; , : --!.. : ! !.. (.)

Onomatopoetic words can be used in a transferred meaning, as for instance, ding-dong, which represents the sound of bells rung continuously, may mean 1) noisy, 2) strenuously contested. Examples are:

a ding-dong struggle, a ding-dong go at something, etc.


Indirect onomatopoeia is a combination of sounds the aim of which is to make the sound of the utterance an echo of its sense. It is sometimes called "echo-writing". An example is:

'And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain' (E. A. Poe),

where the repetition of the sound [s] actually produces the sound of the rustling of the curtain.

Indirect onomatopoeia demands some mention of what makes the sound, as rustling (of curtains) in the line above. The same can be said of the sound [w] if it aims at reproducing, let us say, the sound of wind. The word wind must be mentioned, as in:


"Whenever the moon and stars are set,

Whenever the wind is high,

All night long in the dark and wet

A man goes riding by." (R. S. Stevenson).

The repetition of Ukrainian p and c sounds reproduce the roar of the sea and the blowing of the wind:


, , ,

(. ).

Indirect onomatopoeia is sometimes very effectively used by repeating words which themselves are not onomatopoetic, as in Poe's poem "The Bells" where the words tinkle and bells are distributed in the following manner:


"Silver bells... how they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle" and further

"To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells

From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells-

From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells."

Alongside obviously onomatopoetic words as tinkle, tintinnabulation and jingling the word bells is drawn into the general music of the poem and begins to display onomatopoetic properties through the repetition.

Here is another example:


, ! (. ).

, , : ---! (. ).




Alliteration is a phonetic stylistic device which aims at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance. The essence of this device lies in the repetition of similar sounds, in particular, consonant sounds, in close succession, usually at the beginning of successive words:


The possessive instinct never stands still. Through florescence and feud, frosts and fires it follows the laws of progression. (J. Galsworthy);



Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before (E. A. Poe).

... .


, (. ).

Alliteration, like most phonetic expressive means, does not bear any lexical or other meaning unless we agree that a sound meaning exists as such. But even so we may not be able to specify clearly the character of this meaning, and the term will merely suggest that a certain amount of information is contained in the repetition of sounds, as is the case with the repetition of lexical units.

However, certain sounds, if repeated, may produce an effect that can be specified.

For example, the sound [m] is frequently used by Tennyson in the poem The Lotus Eaters to give a somnolent effect.


How sweet it were...

To lend our hearts and spirits wholly

To the music of mild-minded melancholy;

To muse and brood and live again in memory.

To intensify the idea of weeping and mourning the sound is repeated in the following lines:


, . (. ).


Therefore alliteration is generally regarded as a musical accompaniment of the author's idea, supporting it with some vague emotional atmosphere which each reader interprets for himself. Thus the repetition of the sound [d] in the lines quoted from Poe's poem "The Raven" prompts the feeling of anxiety, fear, horror, anguish or all these feelings simultaneously.

Alliteration is deeply rooted in the traditions of English and Ukrainian folklore. The laws of phonetic arrangement in Anglo-Saxon poetry differed greatly from those of present-day English poetry. In Old English poetry alliteration was one of the basic principles of verse and considered, alongside rhythm, to be its main characteristic. Each stressed meaningful word in a line had to begin with the same sound or combination of sounds.

The traditions of folklore are exceptionally stable and alliteration as a structural device of Old English poems and songs has shown remarkable continuity. It is frequently used as a well-tested means not only in verse but in emotive prose, in newspaper headlines, in the titles of books, in proverbs and sayings, advertising, etc., as, for example, in the following:


Tit for tat; blind as a bat, betwixt and between; it is neck or nothing; to rob Peter to pay Paul;

or in the titles of books: Sense and Sensibility" (Jane Austin); "Pride and Prejudice" (Jane Austin); "The School for Scandal" (Sheridan); "A Book of Phrase and Fable" (Brewer).

Ukrainian alliteration, according to D.Chyzhevsky, has much in common with the Celtic one. The most frequent sounds that create the effect of alliteration in Ukrainian are sonorant and plosive consonants. Alliteration moulds the emotive and imagery pattern of most Ukrainian songs and proverbs and is greatly favoured by modern authors.




Assonance is a stylistically motivated repetition of stressed vowels. The repeated sounds stand close together to create a euphonious effect and rhyme.


The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.


, , , . , , ..., , ...(. ).

Just like alliteration, assonance makes text easy to memorize. It is also popular in advertising for the same reason. Assonance is seldom met as an independent stylistic device. It is usually combined with alliteration, rhythm, rhyme and other devices.



Rhyme is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sounds or combinations of words.

Rhyming words are generally placed at a regular distance from each other. In verse they are usually placed at the end of the corresponding lines.

Identity and particularly similarity of sound combinations may be relative. For instance, we distinguish between full rhymes and incomplete rhymes. The full rhyme presupposes identity of the vowel sound and the following consonant sounds in a stressed syllable, as in might, right; needless, heedless. When there is identity of the stressed syllable, including the initial consonant of the second syllable (in polysyllabic words), we have exact or identical rhymes.

Incomplete rhymes present a greater variety. They can be divided into two main groups: vowel rhymes and consonant rhymes. In vowel rhymes the vowels of the syllables in corresponding words are identical, but the consonants may be different, as in flesh press. Consonant rhymes, on the contrary, show concordance in consonants and disparity in vowels, as in worthforth; trebletrouble; flunglong.

Modifications in rhyming sometimes go so far as to make one word rhyme with a combination of words; or two or even three words rhyme with a corresponding two or three words, as in upon her honourwon her; bottomforgot'emshot him. Such rhymes are called compound or broken. The peculiarity of rhymes of this type is that the combination of words is made to sound like one word. This device inevitably gives a colloquial and sometimes a humorous touch to the utterance.

Compound rhyme may be set against what is called eye-rhyme, where the letters and not sounds are identical, as in loveprove, flood brood, havegrave. It follows therefore that whereas compound rhyme is perceived in reading aloud, eye-rhyme can only be perceived in the written verse.

Many eye-rhymes are the result of historical changes in the vowel sounds in certain positions. The continuity of English verse manifests itself also in retention of some pairs of what once rhymed words. But on the analogy of these pairs, new eye-rhymes have been coined and the model now functions alongside ear-rhymes.

According to the way the rhymes are arranged within the stanza, certain models have crystallized, for instance:

1. couplets-when the last words of two successive lines are rhymed. This is commonly marked aa.

2. triple rhymes-aaa

3.cross rhymes-abab

4. framing or ring rhymes-abba

There is still another variety of rhyme which is called internal rhyme. The rhyming words are placed not at the ends of the lines but within the line, as in:


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers (Shelley).

Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary (Poe).

Internal rhyme breaks the line into two distinct parts, at the same time more strongly consolidating the ideas expressed in these two parts.

The function of rhyme is not restricted only to euphonic organization of the verse. In some cases it can be semantically charged especially when the rhyme is combined with alliteration, assonance and when the rhyming elements link the end if the preceding and the beginning of the following line as in the poem below:


The sunlight on the garden

The sunlight on the garden

Hardens and grows cold,

We cannot cage the minute

Within its nets of gold,

When all is told

We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances

Advances towards its end;

The earth compels, upon it

Sonnets and bids descend;

And soon my friend,

We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying

Defying the church bells

And every evil iron

Siren and what it tells:

The earth compels,

We are dying, Egypt dying.

And not expecting pardon,

Hardened in heart anew,

But glad to have sat under

Thunder and rain with you,

And grateful too

For sunlight on the garden(L. Macniece).


Rhythm is a flow, movement, procedure, etc., characterized by basically regular recurrence of elements or features, as beat, or accent, in alternation with opposite or different elements or features. Rhythm has a great significance not only for the music and poetry but for prose as well. The rhythm of prose is based predominantly on the repetition of images or themes, repetition and specific arrangement of the large text elements, parallel constructions, and use of sentences with homogeneous members, etc.

Rhythm is not a mere addition to verse or emotive prose but has its meaning. Rhythm intensifies the emotions. It also specifies emotions. The rhythm can imitate motion or behaviours, it shapes the motion of the thought, it contributes to the general sense of the text.

Rhythm and rhyme are immediately distinguished features of poetic substyle. In verse they both have assumed their compositional patterns. The most observable and widely recognized compositional patterns of rhythm making up classical verse are based on:

1. alteration of stressed and unstressed syllables;

2. an equal number of syllables in a line;

3. a natural pause at the end of each line, the line being more or less complete semantic unit;

4. identity of stanza pattern;

5. established patterns of rhyming.




The term prosody refers to the study of versification. Most prosody begins with an analysis of metre. Metre (or meter) is derived from the Greek word for "measure." The metre is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in verse. While there may be some variation or substitution, the number of syllables, and the number of stressed/unstressed syllables remains relatively consistent from line to line.

The most common metres include:

  • anapaestic - From the Greek word meaning "beaten back," the anapaestic meter consists of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable. It is used to create the illusion of running, galloping, swiftness or action. Take for example, Poe's Annabel Lee: " For the moon | never beams,| without bring|ing me dreams|";
  • dactylic - From the Greek word for "finger," the dactylic meter consists of an stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. The dactyl produces a falling rhythm, which is not natural to English. Therefore, it is relatively rare, used mostly as a counterpoint to another metric form: "Cannon to | right of them,|\Cannon to | left of them,|\ Cannon in | front of them|..." ( Lord Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade);
  • iambic - A two syllable metre, composed of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The word "defeat" is a prime example of iambic metre. The iambic metre is thought to be closest to the normal human speech pattern it is also the commonest form of metre because it fits the English language so well. Thought to have been originated by Archilochus in the 7th century BC;
  • paeonic- A metric foot of one stressed and three unstressed syllables. Common in Classic Greek poetry, it is rare in English;
  • spondaic (spondee)- The spondee is a foot composed of two stressed syllables. Words like daylight and carpool are spondaic;
  • trochaic (trochee)-A trochee is a foot composed of one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. The words party and bummer are trochees;
  • pyrrhic - Another rare foot (some critics even deny this is a foot), the pyrrhic foot is composed of two unstressed syllables.

A metrical unit of a line is called a foot. A foot consists of one stressed syllable and one or more unstressed syllables. Each type of foot is denoted by a specific term (line breaks are indicated by "/"):

  • monometer - indicates one foot per line. An example can be seen in Robert Herrick's Upon His Departure Hence: Thus I / Pass by / and die. / As one / Unknown / And gone; /I'm made / A shade, / And laid /I'th grave, / There have /My cave. / Where tell / I dwell / Farewell;
  • diameter indicates a line that contains two feet. The third and fourth lines of limericks are diameter. For instance: "Her position to Titian / suggested coition/";
  • trimeter -trimetric works have three feet per line: ): "Oh to | be in | England |/ Now that | April's | there./ (R. Browning's Home Thoughts From Abroad);
  • tetrameter - A line with four feet. Frequently seen in English verse as iambicor trochaic. This example is from Milton's "L'Allegro": "Haste | thee nymph, | and bring | with thee\ Jest | and youth|ful Jol|lity";
  • pentameter - The five foot line is the basic line in most poetry, especially English verse, blank verse, and the heroic couplet. Its development is credited to Chaucer. As an Example consider the following: "I saw | the spi|ders mar|ching through | the air,/ Swimming | from tree | to tree| that mil|dewed day. . .\" (Robert Loews's Mr. Edwards and the Spider);
  • hexameter - the six foot line is very rigidly constructed, being built from four dactyls or spondees followed by a dactyl and then a spondee or a trochee: : I will a|rise and | go now, | and go | to Inn|isfree, \ And a small | cabin | build there, | of clay | and wat|tels made ...|\" (Yeats The Lake Isle of of Innisfree);
  • heptameter - the septenarius or seven foot line: "I went | into | a pub|lic-'ouse | to get | a pint | o' beer,|\ The publican | 'e up | an' sez, | "We serve | no red|-coats here."|\ (R. Kipling Tommy );
  • octameter - a rare eight footed line. The most common example is Poe's The Raven (see above).

Meter is usually described as either the dominant foot (which foot is used most often to the strongest effect in a work), or the dominant number of feet per line. Generally, though, critics combine the dominant foot and number of feet to describe meter. That is where common terms like iambic pentameter and trochaic tetrameter gain their critical meaning.

Classical verse is called syllabo-tonic it is characterized by a set number of syllables and certain distribution of stresses. The shortest unit of each metre is called a foot. If we make a careful study of almost any poem, we will find what are called irregularities or modification of its natural metrical pattern, which are: a pyrrhic foot, rhythmical inversion, spondee. These modifications when they occur inevitably influence the semantic structure of a poem. Spondee is always used to add emphasis. Two successive syllables both under heavy stress produce a kind of clash; the juncture between syllables becomes wider making each of them conspicuous. A pyrrhic on the contrary smoothes and quickens the pace of rhythm.

Another departure from the norms of classical verse is enjambment or the run-on line. Enjambment is a transfer of a part of a syntagma from one line to the following one:


While boyish blood is mantling, who can scape

The fascination of the magic gaze? (G. Bayron)

Verse remains classical when it retains its metrical scheme. There are, however, types of verse which are not classical.

Free verse a combination of various metrical feet in a line. It is characterized by the absence of equiliniarity, stanzas are of varying length, rhyme however is generally retained.

Accented verse a verse where only a number of stresses is taken into consideration. The number of syllables is not constituent; the lines have neither pattern of metrical feet, nor fixed length. There is no notion of stanza and there is no thyme.


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