is the repetition of vowel sounds
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...
to create internal rhyming
A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word "rhyme" may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.-Etymology:...
In everyday speech, a phrase may refer to any group of words. In linguistics, a phrase is a group of words which form a constituent and so function as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. A phrase is lower on the grammatical hierarchy than a clause....
s or sentences
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...
, and together with alliteration
In language, alliteration refers to the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of Three or more words or phrases. Alliteration has historically developed largely through poetry, in which it more narrowly refers to the repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to...
and consonance serves as one of the building blocks of verse
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...
. For example, in the phrase "Do
?", the /uː/ ("o"/"ou"/"ue" sound) is repeated within the sentence and is assonant.
Assonance is found more often in verse
In poetry, metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study of metres and forms of versification is known as prosody...
than in prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...
. It is used in (mainly modern) English-language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...
poetry, and is particularly important in Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...
and Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...
ous student of Willy Russell's Educating Rita
Educating Rita is a stage comedy by British playwright Willy Russell. It is a play for two actors set entirely in the office of an Open University lecturer....
described it as "getting the rhyme wrong".
J. R. R. Tolkien
||the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
||— Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...
, "The Raven
"The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow descent into madness...
||And murmuring of innumerable bees
||— Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess VII.203
||The crumbling thunder of seas
||— Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....
||That solitude which suits abstruser musings
||— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...
, "Frost at Midnight
Frost at Midnight was a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in February 1798. Part of the conversation poems, the poem discusses Coleridge's childhood experience in a negative manner and emphasizes the need to be raised in the countryside...
||The scurrying furred small friars squeal in the dowse
||— Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...
||Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn't do diddily."
||— Big Pun
Christopher Lee Rios , better known by his stage name Big Pun , was an American rapper who emerged from the underground rap scene in The Bronx in the late 1990s...
||It's hot and it's monotonous.
||tundi tur unda
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the Republican period. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.-Biography:...
||on a proud round cloud in white high night
||— E.E. Cummings, if a Cheer Rules Elephant Angel Child Should Sit
||I've never seen so many Dominican women with cinnamon tans
||— Will Smith
Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. , also known by his stage name The Fresh Prince, is an American actor, producer, and rapper. He has enjoyed success in television, film and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor in Hollywood...
||I bomb atomically—Socrates' philosophies and hypotheses can't define how I be droppin' these mockeries.
||— Inspectah Deck
Jason Hunter, better known by his stage name Inspectah Deck, is an American rapper, producer, and member of the Wu-Tang Clan...
, from the Wu-Tang Clan
The Wu-Tang Clan is a hip-hop group from Staten Island that consists of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. They are frequently joined by fellow childhood friend Cappadonna, a quasi member of the group...
||Up in the arroyo a rare owl's nest I did spy, so I loaded up my shotgun and watched owl feathers fly
||— Jon Wayne
Jon Wayne was the name of a cowpunk, alt-country band in Los Angeles in the 1980s, made up of pseudonymous session musicians who decided to form a more underground band as a diversion....
, Texas Assonance
||Some kids who played games about Narnia got gradually balmier and balmier
||— C.S. Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis. Written in 1950, it was published in 1952 as the third book of The Chronicles of Narnia...
||And the moon rose over an open field
||— Paul Simon
Paul Frederic Simon is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.Simon is best known for his success, beginning in 1965, as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair's songs, including three that reached number one on the US singles...
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...
Errantry is a three-page long poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, first published in 1933. It was included in Tolkien's short poetry collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ....
is a poem whose meter contains three sets of trisyllabic assonances in every set of four lines.
Assonance can also be used in forming proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...
s, often a form of short poetry. In the Oromo language
Oromo, also known as Afaan Oromo, Oromiffa, Afan Boran, Afan Orma, and sometimes in other languages by variant spellings of these names , is an Afro-Asiatic language, and the most widely spoken of the Cushitic family. Forms of Oromo are spoken as a first language by more than 25 million Oromo and...
of Ethiopia, note the use of a single vowel throughout the following proverb, an extreme form of assonance:
- kan mana baala, aʔlaa gaala (“A leaf at home, but a camel elsewhere"; somebody who has a big reputation among those who do not know him well.)
In more modern verse, stressed assonance is frequently used as a rhythmic device in modern rap. An example is Public Enemy's 'Don't Believe The Hype': "Their pens and pads I snatch 'cause I've had it
/ I'm not an addict
, fiending for static
/ I see their tape recorder and I grab it
/ No, you can't have it
back, silly rabbit