Which characteristic does the alliteration best describe


What is an alliteration?

Today alliteration is a rhetorical stylistic device that is often used in everyday life, in literature and in the language of advertising and the media. There are two or more words with same initial letter used in quick succession in a sentence. Examples of well-known alliterations in everyday language are the formulations "through thick and thin" or »At night and in fog«

Alliteration - origin of the term

It is assumed that the origin of this style figure lies in the area of ​​magical and conjuring formulas. The term alliteration was coined around 1500. It comes from Latin and is made up of »Ad« (»to«) and »Littera« (»letter«).

The alliteration in everyday life with many examples

There are numerous alliterations in everyday language. Sometimes they underline the togetherness of linked expressions. Some alliterations are part of the German vocabulary as fixed phrases. Some have taken on an almost pictorial character. For example, “at night and in fog” describes darkness that is perceived as particularly inhospitable or threatening. Other alliterations reinforce a statement such as "with disgrace and shame".

Examples of alliterations in everyday life:
  • "through thick and thin"
  • »At night and in fog«
  • "Man and mouse"
  • "Child and cone"
  • "zigzag"
  • "Bimmelbahn"
  • "The early bird catches the worm"
  • "Every beginning is difficult."
  • “Kitchen and cellar
  • »In wind and weather«
  • "The ruble is rolling"
  • "Well and gladly"
  • "House and Farm"
  • "clearly"
  • "With disgrace and shame"
  • "With trembling and hesitation"
  • "Don't waver and don't give way"
  • "null and void"
  • "From pillar to post"
  • "Veni, vidi, vici" (Latin = I came, I saw, I won); Caesar's saying about his victory at Zela, 47 BC. Chr .; the phrase is used today for a surprising success.

So-called tongue twisters are sentences that are difficult to pronounce. This is due to the sequence of similar or identical syllables. Alliterations are used specifically for this. Who hasn't tried "Fischers Fritze" before!

Examples of alliterations in tongue twisters:
  • "Fritze fisherman fishes fresh fish"
  • "Red cabbage remains red cabbage, and a wedding dress remains a wedding dress."
  • "Two swallows are chirping between two branches of plum."
  • "Bierbrauer Bauer brews brown beer, brown beer brews Bierbrauer Bauer."
  • "We Viennese laundry workers would wash white clothes if we knew where warm, soft water was."
  • "When Anna ate in the evening, Anna ate pineapple in the evening."
  • "Small children can't crack cherry pits."

Even nursery rhymes owe their charm to alliteration. A popular example of an initial rhyme comes from the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel".

Examples of alliterations in nursery rhymes:
  • »Crisp, crisp, knuckle,
    who is nibbling at my house? "
  • “Ene, mene, miste, it rattles in the box.
    Ene, mene, muh and you're out. "
  • »Ri Ra Rutsch,
    we're going by carriage. "

The alliteration in literature

In Prose texts and poems an alliteration makes it more memorable, but also makes the reader pause and pay attention. In addition, statements can be given a special drama or irony depending on the type of text and text passage through the use of several identical initial letters. When Clemens Brentano writes "Come cool, come kiss the sorrow", the alliteration increases the poetic effect and the emotional depth of this passage.

For literary texts, authors often create completely new alliterations that readers are not familiar with from everyday language and therefore leave a special impression.

Examples of alliterations in literature:
  • "His words and works" (Goethe, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, v. 5)
  • "That for the purpose" (v. 11, v. 25 ibid.)
  • "Stick, which you were, stand still again!" (V. 63f. Ibid.)
  • "Completely ready up" (v. 83 ibid.)
  • “Help me, oh! You high powers! "(V. 84 ibid.)
  • "Wet and wet" (v. 85 ibid.)
  • "Röslein, Röslein, Röslein red" (Goethe, "Heidenröslein")
  • "I dream deeply in the wine tank" (Rilke, "Gedichte")
  • "I was so afraid and you came softly and sweetly" (Rilke, "Gedichte")
  • "Come cool, come kiss the sorrow" (Clemens Brentano, "Rheinmärchen")

The alliteration in advertising

The use of alliterations in advertising texts makes it easy to remember and attracts the reader's attention. These functions also make them a popular stylistic device in the advertising. For example, almost everyone knows the slogan »Avarice is cool«.

A slogan from advertising in the 1950s, which many people can still remember today, is: "Milk perks up tired men." The advertising slogan owes this memorability over the decades to a large extent to alliteration, here in the special form of the tautograph.

Examples of alliteration in advertising:
  • "Stinginess is cool" -Saturn
  • "Create your coffee."Tchibo Qbo
  • »Buy smart clothes at Kik!« -KiK
  • »Have a delicious delivery« -Delivery hero
  • "Performance made of passion" -Deutsche Bank
  • "Milk perks up tired men."West German dairy industry
  • "Well, curious?"Children's surprise
  • "Ready to rock."Porsche 911 R.
  • »Games, fun, excitement, chocolate.« -Children's surprise
  • »Women at work.« -Hornbach
  • "I prefer tasty." Iglo
  • "Where effectiveness grows." Nun
  • »Toffifee« - Toffifee (Peculiarity of an alliteration in one word)
  • "From here, from the heart" - Swiss farmers

The alliteration in media and politics

Journalists in the press, radio and television also often use alliteration. Especially in the Tabloid journalism In many cases, events are dramatized in order to make them more interesting and therefore more salable. A headline in which all or almost all words begin with the same initial sound is particularly eye-catching from a purely visual point of view. In addition, there is the attention that the repetitive initial sounds arouse while reading. In this way, alliterations become, for example, a selling point for a tabloid at the kiosk. As text on the screen, but also in a spoken form, they arouse the interest of the viewers of an entertainment magazine on television.

Examples of alliteration in the media
  • "Titles, theses, temperaments" (title of an ARD broadcast)
  • »Putin's dolls« (front page DER SPIEGEL 15/2019)
  • »The soulful poultry farmer« (from the boulevard show »wanted daughter in law«, RTL)

Of course, politicians also use the good memorability for their advertising slogans, which can be achieved with the help of alliteration.

Examples of alliteration in politics and society
  • "Growth needs foresight" (CDU election poster)
  • "Responsibility instead of debt" (CDU election poster)
  • "Fridays for Future"
  • »Climate protection knows no borders.« (Green election poster)
  • »Children, Kitchen, Church« (The »three K«, a phrase that describes the social role of women in the 20th century)
  • »Children, Kitchen, Career« (The new »three K« in 21st century society)

Special forms of alliteration

The alliance as a special form

The Alliteration is a special case of alliteration: initials in alliterative verses are used and repeated according to certain rules. Known today as a stylistic device, the allotted rhyme was the common form of rhyme in old Germanic poetry: the stressed stem syllables of a verse were emphasized by the same initial sound. The rhyme form has been handed down, for example, in Old High German (around 800) "Hildebrand's Song". Later the alliteration (as a rhyme form) was replaced by the end rhyme. One of the first examples of this is the Middle High German (around 1200) Nibelungenlied.

Examples of allay rhyme
  • "I know one thing that lives forever: the fame of the dead" (Edda)
  • "Milk perks up tired men" (advertisement of the dairy industry)

It is essential to note the emphasis on the stem syllable: "Reason and renunciation" is an alliteration, but no alliance!

The tautogram as a special form of alliteration

This is a special form of literary alliteration Tautograph. This is a text in which all words begin with the same initial sound. In the Middle Ages, tautograms were initially only available in poetry. Later this stylistic device was also used for literary prose texts and in the meantime it has also found its way into other language areas, such as advertising.

Examples of a tautograph
  • "Röslein, Röslein, Röslein red" (Goethe, "Heidenröslein")
  • "Milk perks up tired men" (advertisement of the dairy industry)

Alliteration as a twin formula

A twin formula or pair formula is an alliteration that consists of two words with the same initial sound consists. Everyday language knows a multitude of such expressions.

Examples of a twin formula
  • "Man and mouse"
  • "Child and cone"

Alliteration in one word

Another specialty is the alliteration in "zigzag" or "Bimmelbahn": The same initial sound can be found here within a word.

Alliterations with different first letters

In the German writing system, letters are not written exclusively according to phonetics, i.e. their sound. For example, the letters V and F or I and Y sound the same. Therefore are also Alliterations with different first letters possible.

Examples of an alliteration with different initial letters
  • "The early bird catches the worm." (Proverb)
  • "In many cases"

Alliteration and assonance

Alliteration and assonance are related stylistic devices. Both are among the sound figures. Alliterative verses arise through their use Consonants. An assonance, on the other hand, denotes the consonance of the Vowels in the stressed syllables of two or more words.

Examples of assonances:
  • "Hans and Franz"
  • "Lies and deceit"
  • "Krethi and Plethi"
Page published on 07/23/2014. Last updated on April 21, 2021.