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The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Elida and Alliteration

You may have noticed that I often repeat the first consonant of consecutive words in my writing: I can't help it, I do it subconsciously. We imbibe alliteration as children--indeed, it's a useful tool for learning the alphabet, just ask Dr Seuss and his Zizzer-Zazzer Zuzz--so I suppose I never grew out of the delight of reading a well-structured alliterative verse.

However, alliteration is not always as simple as ABC, and in literature what qualifies as alliteration can include assonance and consonance, or similar sounds repeated to a meter. It's complicated to explain, I don't have a degree in English, but I know what I like.

At the top of my list of favorite books with clever turns of alliterative verse must be Nabokov's Lolita, which opens with:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
And then to describe his final moments with his first paramour, the lovely Annabel:

I was on my knees, and on the point of possessing my darling, when two bearded bathers, the old man of the sea and his brother, came out of the sea with exclamations of ribald encouragement, and four months later she died of typhus in Corfu.
If I could choose to be bestowed with the talents of a dead author, Nabokov is the name.

One more example, and then I promise my next post will not have an alliterative title. I found this on the internet, from a poem by William Blake called 'The Tiger asks Blake for A Bedtime Story", which I suppose is his little joke on his most famous work. I love this line:
Soon I saw my health decline,
And I knew the fault was mine,
Only William Blake can tell,
Tales to make a tiger well.
Now I should get up and go, 'cos my husband calls me so.



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Comments:
If you haven't already, go memorise the saga of Jenab and the Jepung in Kelantaspeak. Now, that's allitration.
Big hugs.
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oh my god, you know what? After reading this, i realized that I tend to do the same.
Maybe that's why I like RHCP. They also tend to use a lot of alliterations on top of their rawking cadence.
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