Consonance and Vowels

‘Consonance’ is the repetition of same consonant sound in a line, phrase or a text. These alike sounds can appear anywhere in a word, but they usually appear at the end of a line. Here the readers will find the consonance and vowels as well as consonance examples.

Origin

Originated from the Latin word ‘consonantia’. It was first known used in 15th century.

Definition

‘Consonance’ is the repetition of same consonant sound in a line, phrase or a text. These alike sounds can appear anywhere in a word, but they usually appear at the end of a line. In ‘consonance’ the vowel sound of two consonants is different, however the letters are same.

This device is frequently use by the writers to make the words impressive and interesting for the readers and they are able to memorize these words easily.

Consonance and Vowels

Consonance and Vowels are two very important aspects of a language that help us to distinguish words from one another. Consonant is a speech sound made by blocking the airstream at some point of the vocal tract. The term consonant comes from Latin consonans ‘sounding together’. Consonants are often classified according to where in the mouth they are produced: plosives (such as /p/, /t/, /k/), fricatives (such as /z/, /s/, /f/), affricates (such as /d͡z/), nasals (such as /m/, /n/). Most consonants have an associated vowel sound, which may or may not be distinct from the vowel sounds of surrounding words or syllables.

A vowel is a speech sound that occurs when air flows out through open lips, usually during speech or singing. The most common vowels are short A, E, I and O (English vowels). Longer vowels are uncommon in English, but can occur in languages like German or Russian. English also has diphthongs — combinations of two vowel sounds — such as “ow” in “cow

Alliteration Special Case of Consonance:

It is considered a special case of consonance, in which, the repeated consonant sound at the beginning of word is same. For example, Furrow followed free. Here the use of ‘f’ consonant in said three words is same.

Importance of Consonance:

‘Consonance’ is especially used in poetry or songs. The writers in their work employ this literary technique in order to create rhythmic effect and to better understand the listeners. Through this technique, the readers also feel comfortable to memorize the poem or song.

Consonance Examples:

Following are common consonance examples.

  1. Slip: Slop
  2. Black: Block
  3. Oak: Yoke
  4. Hook: Crook
  5. Short: Sweet
  6. First: Last
  7. Discuss: Dismiss
  8. Sing: Song
  9. Bare: Tear
  10. Fair: Near
  11. Coming: Home
  12. Hot: Pot
  13. Care: Air
  14. Share: Shower
  15. Fat: Rat
  16. Bag: Tag
  17. Batch: Match
  18. Feel: Deal
  19. Tree: free
  20. Train: crane
    Here the sound at the end of each word is same.

Compound Words in English Writing

Examples in Poetry:

“The Tyger” by (William Blake)

“Tyger Tyger burning’ bright
In what distant deep’s or skie’s
And when thy heart began to beat
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

Blake’s poem is comprised on six quatrains rhymed couplet. The poet has beautifully described the natural truth by taking the example of tiger that every element or thing in a world will tell about its creator, so as in this case.

The ‘tiger’ at one time is a strikingly beautiful but on the other hand is considered as horrific. In the poem, the repetition of two consonants sound ‘r’ is same in the first line of the stanza while the second line shows the similar sound ‘t’ and ‘s’ and in the last two lines, the sound of letters ‘t’ and ‘d’ is same.

“Behind Me Dips Eternity” by (Emily Dickinson)

Behind me, dips eternity
Behind me, immortality
Myself, the term between
Death but the drift of Eastern Gray
Dissolving into Dawn away
Before the West begin

The concept of eternity and life after death has been vividly discussed in the poem. ‘Dickinson’ throughout the stanza, emphasizes the concept that life is moving toward death, and soon, the dawn of life will convert into the darkness of death.

The poet has provoked her idea of immortality by using imagery and symbolism throughout this poem and how religion takes part in it. She considers death as pleasure for the human because he can get rid of the life miseries after death. The above-highlighted words show the use of the same letters in words with different meanings.

Out, Out by (Robert Frost)

The buzz-saw snarled and rattle in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count

Here the use of the same letters in the stanza shows the use of symmetry. ‘Frost’ by giving the theme of tragedy, makes his readers realize that death is a humdrum fact of life. He shows the tragic moment of a boy injured in an accident and how his life ended. While repeatedly using the words “buzz-saw,” ‘stove-length,’ and ‘sticks of wood’ enchantingly described the end of life of a young boy whose hand got injured with a saw while cutting woods.

Politics by William Butler Yeats

“On Roman or on Russian”

Yeat’s uses consonance in this line and shows the politics of two different countries. He has also given concept of love that ‘love’ is superior to politics.

“Go And Catch a Falling Star” by (John Donne)

“Though at next door we might meet’’

The poem is the poet’s experience of the world. He considers all the beautiful women immorally corrupt. The above line also refers to the concept that the beautiful woman who meets you at one place may meet you anywhere else. Here the ‘t’ sound is being repeated in the line.

“The Good Morrow” by John Donne

“Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?

It is a love poem by ‘Donne.’ The poet is so much absorbed in the love of his lover that he asks her that were we love simply like childish? or are we in need of something more? The poem is about the love of two lovers and their praise for each other. The sound of the letter “d’’ has been repeatedly used as consonance in the poem.

“Daffodils” by Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

‘Wordsworth’ is considered the poet of nature. His praise of nature is worth mentioning. Through this poem, he compares himself to the daffodils floating near the river bank. The beauty of flowers tempts him. The free movement of the flowers encourages him, and he also feels like a cloud in the sky that is wandering here and there like the daffodils are moving. Here the letters ‘l’ and ‘d’ are repeating, an example of consonance.

Casting and Gathering by Seamus Heaney

Years and years ago, these sounds took sides.

Seamus Heaney wrote this poem in blank verse and used simple language. The poem is about the conflict between two major parties, ‘capitalists’ and ‘socialists’; however, some critics consider that “Heaney” wrote this poem for his friend Ted’Hughes.’ Despite this, the composition of this poem using stylistic devices is praiseworthy, especially the use of consonance sound in the shape of the ‘s’ sound.

Sonnet 64 by William Shakespeare

Increasing store with loss and loss with store

In the above line, the repetition of the ‘s’ sound at the beginning of words, ‘store’ and ‘loss’ is example of consonance.

“O Where Are You Going” by (W.H. Auden)

O’ where are you going? said reader to rider

‘Auden’ wrote this poem in ballad form. The poem is about the fate of humans. Firstly the discussion of the two characters is deciphered in the poem. The first fears the others about the hardships he may face in his path. In other words, what humans face in their life has been discussed in this poem. The use of symmetry in the shape of letters ‘o’ and ‘e’ is apparent in this line.

Difference between Alliteration & Consonance:

Alliteration’ is the repetition of the first consonant sound in multiple words. For example, ‘Sana sees the sea sight’ and ‘Feena finds the food for farmers.’

‘Consonance’ involves the repetition of vowel sound not usually at the beginning but also in the middle or at the end of a word, line, phrase, or test. For example, “My son is under the sun.”

Further Reading

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