Alliteration vs Onomatopoeia Poems: Difference and Comparison

Alliteration and onomatopoeia are two different figures of speech. These are used in poetry to bring a desired rhyming effect.

Alliteration is the use of such words that begin with a similar-sounding letter. Onomatopoeia is another figure of speech that can be used to bring musical effects to a poem.

Key Takeaways

  1. Alliteration is a literary device that uses the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words nearby, while onomatopoeia involves words that imitate the sound they represent.
  2. Alliteration creates a musical effect and can enhance the mood or atmosphere of a poem, while onomatopoeia adds sensory detail and vividness to descriptions.
  3. Both alliteration and onomatopoeia can be used in various forms of literature, including poetry, prose, and song lyrics, to create engaging and memorable language.

Alliteration vs Onomatopoeia Poems

The difference between alliteration and an onomatopoeia poem is that an alliteration poem exploits the repeated letter sound at the beginning of closely connected words, whereas an onomatopoeia poem exploits the imitation of different sounds made by an animal, person, or any other thing. In alliteration, repetition happens in quick succession. In a nutshell, these two types of poems are a result of different figures of speech.

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Alliteration poems use the repetition of different consonant sounds in succession to create a musical effect. There are so many examples that we are familiar with that use alliteration.

One beautiful example would be Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost. In one of the lines which goes like this ‘The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew………’ Robert Frost uses the literary device to bring a beautiful musical tone.

Onomatopoeia poems use the literary device onomatopoeia which comes from a Greek word that roughly translates to ‘I make a name’.

The figure of speech uses the imitation of natural sounds to bring a poetic genre. This figure of speech is used in children’s poems.

The cat purred… splash of water… uses onomatopoeia. Here the word purr refers to the natural sound made by a cat, and splash is the sound made by water when it hits something.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlliteration PoemsOnomatopoeia Poems
DefinitionAlliteration poems the figure of speech called alliteration which is nothing but the use of repetitive constant sound.Onomatopoeia poems use the imitated sounds made by animals or things.
ExamplesYou are my sunshine, my only sunshine you make me happy…The ginger cat purred when she heard a splash sound coming from the sea.
UsageIt can be found in different types of poems.It is used in kids’ poems.
Use of soundIt uses different consonant-sounding words.It uses different onomatopoeic sounds.
MusicalityIt is the repetitive sound that creates musicality.It is the imitated sounds that create musicality.

What are Alliteration Poems?

Alliteration poems use repeated consonant or vowel sounds to create musicality or rhythm. The repeated sound is stressed, and the syllable which contains the letter is stressed upon.

Alliteration is the use of the phonetic aspect of speech, which is used in such poems to create a musical or rhythmic note.

It is primarily intended for performances as it contains musical features. The use of alliteration has been used in many famous poems such as Irish Verses.

Repeated sounds could occur at the beginning or at any point in the word. The use of such alliteration is called complex alliteration.

In complex alliteration, the use of non-initial consonants can also be used to bring the desired effect. The repeated sounds must not be from the beginning letter but should be from any syllable within a group of words.

The other names for the figure of speech could, however be misleading.

Names such as initial rhyme or head rhyme suggest that the initial letter should be the one that must rhyme, but it is not the case, as it can be any syllable that can have a repetitive sound.

There are many examples, such as ‘humble house’ in this, the initial letter is creating the musical effect.

What are Onomatopoeia Poems?

This type of poem exploits the phonetic imitation of sounds that could suggest the sound itself. The use of the figure of speech is very common in children’s poetry. Commonly the sounds imitated are of animals and sometimes actions such as splash.

The word onomatopoeia means imitating sound, which is a rough translation of the Greek compound word. However, the words for the same sound could differ from language to language.

The onomatopoeic words conform to a large family of phonetic sounds, which may differ depending on the Language involved.

In different languages, different strings of consonants or vowels may be used to create the word for a similar sound however the sound is the same.

The use of such poems can be seen in comic books as they exploit the figure of speech that relates action to words.

The figure of speech can also be used in advertisements to create a mnemonic effect that helps the customers remember the product. The use of such poetic devices is common in advertisements.

The name of some products, such as Fizz, is an example where onomatopoeia is used. Onomatopoeia poems thus can be used for multiple purposes. It is suggestive of the naturalness of languages.

Main Differences Between Alliteration and Onomatopoeia Poems

  1. Alliteration poems use the repetitive consonant sound in any word syllable, whereas onomatopoeia uses the imitation of sound into words.
  2. Onomatopoeia poems are made for kids, but the figure of speech can also be used in other ways, whereas alliteration is used in various types of poems.
  3. Alliteration poems use repeated sounds to create music or rhythm, whereas onomatopoeia uses imitated sounds in words.
  4. Both poems use the phonetic property of human speech to create desired effects, but onomatopoeia poems are based on a natural property of language which is not the case in Alliteration poems.
  5. Alliteration poems use consonant or vowel sounds, whereas onomatopoeia poems use different consonant strings.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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