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All About Alliteration

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Leo Selivan
Alliteration is used across all genres: poetry and nursery rhymes (“tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor”), advertising and pop culture (Mickey Mouse) as well as everyday life (Bed & Breakfast, credit crunch). In this light hearted workshop we will look at some classroom activities to make your students more aware of this phenomenon in English.

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All About Alliteration

  1. 1. All about Alliteration Leo Selivan British Council
  2. 3. Examples <ul><li>No r hyme or r eason </li></ul><ul><li>s afe and s ound </li></ul><ul><li>It’s n ow or n ever </li></ul><ul><li>d own in the d umps </li></ul><ul><li>t urn the t ables </li></ul><ul><li>p art and p arcel </li></ul><ul><li>p eer p ressure </li></ul>
  3. 4. Nursery rhymes <ul><li>Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers </li></ul><ul><li>Betty Botter bought some butter </li></ul><ul><li>Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor </li></ul>
  4. 5. In poetry <ul><li>Tyger! Tyger! b urning b right In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could f rame thy f earful symmetry? </li></ul><ul><li>William Blake “The Tyger” </li></ul><ul><li>Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,  With b eaded b ubbles winking at the b rim,  </li></ul><ul><li>John Keats &quot;Ode to a Nightingale&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>A h urry of h oofs in a village street, A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark, And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a s park S truck out by a s teed f lying f earless and f leet; </li></ul><ul><li>H. W. Longfellow “Paul Revere’s Ride” </li></ul>
  5. 6. Harry Potter <ul><li>Salazar Slytherin </li></ul><ul><li>Helga Hufflepuff </li></ul><ul><li>Cho Chang </li></ul><ul><li>Godric Gryffindor </li></ul><ul><li>Bathilda Bagshot </li></ul><ul><li>Gellert Grindelwald </li></ul><ul><li>Dedalus Diggle </li></ul><ul><li>Dinky Duddydums </li></ul><ul><li>Pansy Parkinson </li></ul><ul><li>About 1/3 of the names alliterate </li></ul><ul><li>About 1/3 chapter titles alliterate </li></ul>
  6. 7. Two types <ul><li>Assonance </li></ul><ul><li>J u mp the g u n </li></ul><ul><li>S ay a pr ay er </li></ul><ul><li>Consonance </li></ul><ul><li>B etty B otter </li></ul><ul><li>Rea d y ma d e </li></ul>Alliteration in its traditional sense
  7. 8. Why use? <ul><li>Memorable </li></ul><ul><li>Fun </li></ul><ul><li>Creative writing </li></ul>
  8. 9. B & B <ul><li>Bed & breakfast </li></ul><ul><li>Baby blues </li></ul><ul><li>Baby boom </li></ul><ul><li>B argain basement </li></ul><ul><li>Beer belly </li></ul><ul><li>Beach bum </li></ul><ul><li>The Big Bang </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bend it like Beckham” </li></ul>
  9. 10. In the media <ul><li>Bed & brawl for British tourists </li></ul><ul><li>Party Like Paris Hilton </li></ul>
  10. 13. More examples <ul><li>Lexicalise your Lesson </li></ul><ul><li>Collocation Corpus Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Connect! Communicate! Collaborate! </li></ul><ul><li>Recycling & Revising Lexis </li></ul><ul><li>“ in the classrooms of Berlin, Bangkok, and Beersheva, English is everywhere” (Bagrut paper) </li></ul>
  11. 14. Other uses <ul><li>Popular culture </li></ul><ul><li>Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck </li></ul><ul><li>Brand names </li></ul><ul><li>“ Coffee Corner&quot;, &quot;Sushi Station&quot;, &quot;Best Buy”, ”Dunkin’ donuts”, “Weight Watchers” </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising slogans </li></ul><ul><li>“ Guinness is good for you” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Put a tiger in your tank” </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.&quot; </li></ul>
  12. 16. Research on retaining <ul><li>Easier to remember </li></ul><ul><li>S eek + s anctuary / s ettlement / s olution / s olace / s olitude / s upport / a s ylym </li></ul><ul><li>L ook for + /s/-nouns? </li></ul><ul><li>Only 1 ( s olution) </li></ul><ul><li> Lindstromberg & Boers (2005) </li></ul>
  13. 17. Some statistics <ul><li>about 40 % of similes alliterate </li></ul><ul><li>cool as a cucumber </li></ul><ul><li>fit as a fiddle </li></ul>
  14. 18. Why so frequent in English? <ul><li>Word order (SVO) </li></ul><ul><li>Few inflections ( take-takes-taking-took-taken ) </li></ul><ul><li>Word stress (often on the first syllable) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of good rhymes (?) </li></ul>
  15. 19. Research (cont.) <ul><li>Multi-word expressions that alliterate are more memorable </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used as mnemonic </li></ul>Boers, F. & Lindstromberg, S. (2005)
  16. 20. Personal experience <ul><li>Students remember alliterated chunks better </li></ul><ul><li>She’s so prim and proper </li></ul><ul><li>I was scared stiff </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a slippery slope </li></ul>
  17. 21. Common collocations <ul><li>somewhat similar (2 nd most common) </li></ul><ul><li>fundamentally flawed (2 nd most common) </li></ul><ul><li>fatally flawed (most common) </li></ul><ul><li>increasingly important (2 nd most common) </li></ul><ul><li>deadly dull (3 rrd most common) </li></ul><ul><li>badly bruised (2 nd most common) / badly broken – also common </li></ul><ul><li>strangely silent (most common) </li></ul>
  18. 22. Common collocations (cont.) <ul><li>fully fledged </li></ul><ul><li>deeply disappointed </li></ul><ul><li>particularly popular </li></ul><ul><li>surprisingly strong / surprisingly small </li></ul><ul><li>simply stunning / simply splendid / simply superb </li></ul><ul><li>distinctly different / dramatically different </li></ul><ul><li>poorly planned / poorly protected </li></ul>
  19. 23. Classroom ideas <ul><li>Alliterated personality adjectives - nicknames </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. Lexical Leo </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper headlines </li></ul><ul><li>Make your own travel guides / brochures </li></ul><ul><li>Look at songs, especially rap </li></ul><ul><li>Make up twisters about famous people </li></ul><ul><li>Make up slogans for products you use </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight alliteration when teaching chunks </li></ul>
  20. 24. Song <ul><li>How many alliterated words can you find? </li></ul>
  21. 25. References <ul><li>Boers, F. & Lindstromberg, S. (2005). Finding ways to make phrase-learning feasible: The mnemonic effect of alliteration . System, 33(2), 225-238 </li></ul><ul><li>Lindstromberg, S. & Boers, F. (2005). Means of </li></ul><ul><li>mass memorization of multi-word expressions. Humanising Language Teaching, 7(1) </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.hltmag.co.uk/jan05/mart03.htm </li></ul>

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