Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On Rhymes

I generally like rhymes. They draw attention to work at hand, stress the importance of what the speaker is trying to convey, facilitate memory, provide entertainment and verbal wit, and marks the end of soliloquies (if you’re William Shakespeare). There are many different kinds of rhymes of course, perfect rhymes, eye-rhymes, imperfect rhymes, half rhymes, and head rhymes (better known as alliteration) just to name a few. But for this blog post, I would like to concentrate on the best known, most widely accepted types of rhymes. These are often identical rhymes, eye rhymes, and perfect rhymes. Perfect rhymes can be divided into three subcategories: masculine, feminine, and dactylic. Let’s start with the eye rhyme. The eye rhyme, unlike some of the more traditional rhymes that rely on the “sound” (or pronunciation) of the word, rely on the spelling of the word. For example, while “slaughter” and “laughter” don’t “sound” much alike but they rhyme because of their almost identical spelling. The perfect rhyme can be split up into three categories: masculine, feminine, and dactylic. The first subcategory, masculine rhymes, is characterized by the stress on the final syllable of the word. “Sublime” and “rhyme” are a good example. While “sublime” and “rhyme” are not spelled the same way, they do sound the same, at least the last syllable does. Unlike the eye rhyme, with perfect rhyme does not depend on the spelling of a word. Instead, it relies on pronunciation. The stress is placed on the last syllable, meaning the “-ime” part of the word in “sublime” and “rhyme”. Feminine rhymes are a tad bit trickier than masculine rhymes. Feminine rhymes, like masculine rhymes, still depend on pronunciation over spelling and still uphold the expectation that the last syllable must match in sound. However, in terms of the “stressing” of the words, feminine rhymes differ. Unlike the masculine rhyme that places the stress on the last syllable, the feminine rhyme places the stress somewhere in the middle, usually the second to last syllable. For example, “tricky” and “picky” are both perfect rhymes. However, they are not masculine, they are feminine In both words, the stress is placed on the second to last syllable of the word. That’s the strong “i” in “tricky” and “picky”. If it was a masculine rhyme, the stress would be placed on the “y”. In a dactylic rhyme, the stress is on the third to last syllable. The dactylic rhyme is much more uncommon in comparison to the masculine and feminine rhymes, and that’s because such long words are harder to come across. “Cacophonies” and “Aristophanes” are an example of a dactylic rhyme. The stress is placed on the “o” sound in both words rather than the “fa” sound or “ees” at the end. Identical rhymes are probably the most well-known. These are often the first rhymes we are exposed to as children. An example of an identical rhyme would be “gun” and “begun”. Homonyms or “punning rhymes” would also be considered identical rhymes, such as “bear” and “bare”.

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