Flocabulary’s Weekly Literary Term: Assonance
Teach Figurative Language with Flocabulary
Check out the lyrics and more.
Want to sound smooth, dude? It’s simple. Enlist the services of the illest literary figure: assonance.
Definition: The repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together.
HINT: the word assonance has assonance because the two “a”s make the same sound.
Why Writers Use it: Connecting vowel sounds creates internal rhyme. It makes the words flow together, and can help make phrases more memorable. It’s very popular amongst rappers and lyricists, and you’ll be more likely to find it in poetry rather than prose. You can find it in pretty much any (good) song. And, as noted, it will make you sound smooth. Assonance is also known as a “slant rhyme.” Read more about how to use slant rhymes in rap here.
Examples of Assonance in Hip-Hop
“My rhymes acid and yours asinine.”
“Every minute they in it, don’t need every illiterate ignorant critical dissed it…” -R.A. the Rugged Man
“I bomb atomically—Socrates’ philosophies and hypotheses can’t define how I be droppin’ these mockeries.”
“Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn’t do diddily.”
“For all the fellows and ladies,
I’m that 80‘s baby,
With a better rating than Tom Brady,
A brainiac on the track, that’s crazy.”
–September 23, 2011 Week in Rap
“I can feel the wind whipping past my face.
As we dance the night away”
-Beyonce’s latest hit, Love on Top, is filled with assonance:
Assonance in Shakespeare & Other Poetry
“Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks.”
–Romeo and Juliet
“On a proud round cloud in white high night”
“the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain”
-“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
Presidents Love Assonance
Some of the most memorable speeches in American history feature assonance. Coincidence?
“Four score and seven years ago…”
“We choose to go to the moon.”
-John F. Kennedy (You really need to watch this speech to appreciate the power of assonance here…the video is queued up to the right spot.)
“Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our Nation — not because of the height of our skyscrapers…”
– Barack Obama 2004 Speech
Assonance in Advertising. It sticks.
“It beeps… as it sweeps… as it cleans!”
-Old Hoover Vacuum ad
“Finger lickin’ good”
Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!
– Trix Cereal
Check Out the Previous Literary Terms in the Series
…and tune in next week for Metonymy!