Why does assonance work better than consonance


What is an assonance?

The assonance is a stylistic device and describes the linguistic consonance of two or more words. The tonal agreement is based on an accumulation or Repetition of vowels; Consonants are not taken into account. The term assonance is derived from the Latin verb »assonare« (to sound, to agree).

Well-known assonances in everyday use
  • Year and day
  • Rank and name
  • Give and take

Like the alliteration related to it, the assonance is one Sound figure. Sound figures are used for the acoustic design of texts. In literature they play mainly in the Poetry a role, but also appear in other genres. Because they can be easily anchored in the memory, they are often used in colloquial idioms and in the advertising used.

Assessment of the assonance in the literature

In poetry, assonance means a certain form of rhyme, the so-called vowel half-rhyme. This is a phonetic correspondence between the transmissions, which is generated exclusively by the vowels used. That is why assonance has long been called "impure" or "incomplete" rhyme in German literature.

Since Romance languages ​​contain a particularly large number of vowels, the use of assonance in Romance literature is much more common than in German. In Spanish literature, for example, assonance has always been equated with the "pure" end rhyme.

Reassessment of Assonance in Romanticism

Rethinking in German literature only began in the Romantic era. For one, this is due to numerous Translations from Romance literature attributed by important romantic poets. Through his occupation with Calderón z. B. Ludwig Tieck used assonance as a design tool and transferred it to German in his translations.

Example of assonances translated into German:

“Oh my son, how dreadfully howling
The toad laments up from the moor!
Can you hear the ravens croaking?
The ghosts in the storm? "
Ludwig Tieck, The Signs in the Forest, 1801

On the other hand, the assonance with the folk song collection “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” (1805–1808) by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano was made “socially acceptable” because it was in orally transmitted song lyrics occurs frequently.

The consonance of the vowels does not necessarily have to appear when the message is sent. In Eduard Mörike's »Jägerlied« (1838) they appear in the middle of the line, particularly conspicuously in the third verse.

Example of an assonance in the middle of a poem:

"The bird's step in the snow is graceful,
When he walks on the heights of the mountain:
More delicate writes love's dear hand,
Write me a letter in distant lands. "
Eduard Mörike, Jägerlied, 1838

The assonance in modern poetry

Assonances in poems help to create a certain tonal atmosphere, a basic mood such as B. to create "dark", "bright", "hard" or "soft". That is why they are still a popular stylistic device, also in the poetry of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Examples of assonances in modern poetry:

1. Connection of the sending of two stanzas by assonance:

“It came from November. the hail brought
down him. all that water on the wings
the seams and the ridges of a mold

that hung in the rain until the wind cut them off
and then he hit the window like a hanger
who snaps out of his lock. the Maple"
Raoul Schrott, Physical Optics I, 1996

2. "ia" -assonance within a verse:

"But hosanna, you brokers!"
Kurt Drawert, Idylle zurück, 2011

3. "ä" -assonance in the middle of the verse, "u" -asonance at the end of the line:

»The nocturnal around us:
a woodpecker cuts a fir tree "
Sina Klein, cocoon, 2014

The assonance in rap

Sound figures like assonance bring linguistic structures closer to music than other rhetorical stylistic devices. The vowels, not the consonants, are actually sung in songs. That is why assonances unfold their effect better in spoken and sung language than in written text. This not only explains the abovementioned accumulation of vocal half-rhymes in folk songs. Assonances are also used in rap; often with great artistry and a pronounced feeling for language, especially in so-called "fun rap".

Example of assonances in rap:

“And he said: rap is just a fashion drug
Such an ascent and descent, such a Toblerone
Turn a clip with ten bitches topless
And a couple of homophobic monologues. "
Dendemann, Ersoichso Lyrics

In the example above, rapper Dendemann quotes the attitude of a record boss. Fabian Wolbring argues that Dendemann deliberately creates a contrast between form and content. The record boss thinks rap is a superficial fad. The artful reconstruction with numerous refined assonances proves exactly the opposite. In this way it undermines the statement that is conveyed through it - a virtuoso way of unmasking.[1]

The assonance in advertising

The accumulation of the same vowels or double sounds makes a text particularly memorable. That's why copywriters like to use the effect of assonance.

Examples of assonances in advertising:
  • "Performance made of passion"
    Deutsche Bank

  • "We love cinema"

  • "Three, two, one ... mine"

  • »Media Markt. Strong! "
    Media Markt

  • "Everything else can wait"

Connection of assonance and alliteration:

  • "One moment please!"

  • "We're fine with Gutfried"

  • "The real deal: Warsteiner"

  • "You just like men"

  • "Avarice is cool"

The assonance in colloquial idioms

Many people know the phenomenon that texts are easier to memorize in connection with a melody. Likewise, texts that work with many sound figures reach our collective linguistic memory more easily. So it is not surprising that many everyday expressions often used contain assonances.

Examples of assonances in colloquial language:
  • With letter and seal
  • My name is rabbit
  • Wine, women and song
  • Come in if it's not a tailor
[1] Source: Wolbring, Fabian. The poetics of German rap. Cologne: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015 ^
Page published on January 31, 2016. Last updated on September 3rd, 2020.