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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:21

The sound of language: alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia

Video transcript

hello grammarians hello Rosie I did it so you've caught me mid scribble in the greatest challenge of my career will I be able to write the word oh no ma topia do it I got up you did it yeah this is one of my least favorite words to spell but one of my favorite things to talk about because what we're talking about today alliteration assonance and onomatopoeia uh and these are all words that are related to the way language sounds but let's begin with alliteration Rosie what is alliteration alliteration is when a series of words all start with the same consonant so what's a good example of that Robert Park swim swiftly surely and straight ahead so you can see that all these pink words here swims with leisurely straight ahead all begin with s and so this is why we call this a literation because s is a consonant and all of these things share a similar consonant sound now I want to contrast that with assonance which is what Rosie assonance is when a series of words all start with the same vowel Alfia abolished all anguish you can see all of these words in the sentence in the same vowel neighborhood right but my favorite evolved is onomatopoeia which comes from Greek and it basically means like autumn autumn ox means a name resulting from doing so really this is this word just means sounds like what it does so any really anything that you would conceive of as a a sound effect like a word that comes from a sound effect so the bees buzzed for example but what is what is buzz what's the sound that a bee makes it's it's what it does that that word is derived from the blue sound but that's not the only example of onomatopoeia we've compiled here a list we got released okay we've got splat it's kind of the sound of something hitting pavement yep we've got clang which is like the clang of a bell we've got bang which sounds like something exploding whoosh which sounds like air a wind beep yeah weak sounds like a beeping okay like that is literally so if you if you are trying to summon up the actual sound of a thing and transcribe it and use it as a noun or verb you're using onomatopoeia I know it's a terrifying looking word right like no one word should have this many vowels in front of the other I get it I get it I'm terrified of spelling this word but I managed to do it apparently and now you know what it means and that should take away some of its scariness and impart to you some of its power because here at Khan Academy we want you to have the power to harness language and specifically today to harness these three different language styles so alliteration repeating the same consonant a bunch of times in a row so swimming swiftly surely and straight ahead assonance where you repeat the same vowel like abolished all anguish and onomatopoeia where you make a word that sounds like what the words effect is so the bees buzz the pudding cup went splat the the the boxing Bell fell to the floor with a clang the firework went off with a bang a flight of bats whooshed past my head and the robit' the little baby robot beeped at me insistent I like those how can a robot be a baby I think it's just the size okay sure yeah that's legitimate so okay so I guess the question is now you know what these things are but Rosie why would a person want to use these techniques in language whether written or spoken that's a great question writers can use some of these techniques to basically use this sound to get across a pattern like if you're if you're going to use words that all sound the same at the beginning with a bunch of s's that kind of could potentially build some momentum to your sentence like it kind of makes the reader sit up and pay attention to like oh this is an interesting pattern so that could be one reason why a writer might use for example alliteration yeah so it's a way to express a pattern and to build on what you were saying you can also it's just a good attention grabber and it's also useful for its own sake just as a as a technique for for writing prose or poetry like it's something you it's a useful property of language to be able to sometimes access right and a good example with automata Piett Inomata Pia is you're really capturing you're really capturing the sound so the reader is really able to be immersed in the experience even more fully you can you can hear the sounds that are happening the buzzing of the bees or yeah it just puts you even more in the story that the writer is telling that's why you would want to learn how to use assonance alliteration and onomatopoeia you can learn anything Dave it out Rosie out