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In today’s world people seem to be very anxious and suffer from stress. This stress is often harmful and some people need to seek medical treatment in order to recover. However, a more effective solution is for people to learn to relax. This can be achieved through a variety of leisure activities such as sport, reading, music or even gardening. Emphasis is placed on people spending time doing things that they enjoy, the ultimate aim being relaxation. Unfortunately, some people find this impossible and therefore need to take drugs prescribed by their doctor. These drugs are called tranquilizers. They calm people down, but can be dangerous if taken for long periods of time. Alternative methods are much safer and have no side effects.

  • Loneliness is a disease of modern living, a result of people being more mobile and having more opportunities. With the break-up of family units, there is less of stability to build good relationships. Loneliness isn’t something that can be solved simply by seeing a counselor, speaking to someone on the telephone or being in the company of many people. Advice often given includes: joining clubs, taking up a sociable hobby or even trying a part-time job if you don’t work outside the house. However, none of this advice will provide an easy answer. To ease the feeling of emptiness it takes time. Friendships have to be allowed to grow on and deep bonds can’t be formed with just anyone. Anyone might be like a victim of loneliness at some time or other in their lives. If you change jobs, get married or move, you too might have problems in a new environment.

(after V. Evans)

Reference materials:

Galperin I. R. “Stylistics

Arnold I. V. “Стилистика современного английского языка”

Skrebnev Y. M. “Стилистика английского языка”

Lebedeva L.B. 10 Lectures in Style


Phonetic stylistic devices.

        1. Alliteration and assonance. Onomatopoeia.

        2. Rhythm. Meter.

        3. Rhyme.

  • Task 1.

Alliteration is fun to say and enjoyable to hear. Without knowing it, you probably use alliteration to call attention to certain words. Many familiar phrases and expressions use alliteration. These include "down in the dumps," "hale and hearty," and "turn the tables." Tongue twisters rely on alliteration: "rubber baby buggy bumpers”. Many sayings such as these use alliteration:

  • He who laughs last laughs best.

  • Time and tide wait for no man.

When writers want to emphasize certain words, they may use alliteration. Notice the ideas that are emphasized by alliteration in these examples.

  • The deep churned. Something had happened down in the dim, foggy-green depths.

(P. Annixter)

  • Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail.

(H. Keller)

  • There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing.

(L. Hansberry)

  • Task 2.


Alliteration is one of the poet's most important sound techniques. It makes particular words stand out. It also connects the words to be emphasized. Look for the repeated consonant sounds in this poem:

Then up and spake an old sailor,
Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane."

(H. W. Longfellow)

Often the sounds and meanings of the words combine to create a mood. Here, repetition of b and t stresses a feeling of urgency.

Hear the loud alarum bells--
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

(E. A. Poe)

The same can be observed in one of Whitman’s poems.

Beat! beat! drums ! – blow! bugles! Blow! –

This line represents the beginning of the verse. It is also repeated several times throughout the poem. Vivid repetition of the sounds [b], [t], [d], [l] evokes in our minds the sound of drumming. The effect is enhanced by abrupt rhythm and punctuation.

Beat! beat ! drums ! – blow! bugles! Blow!

Through the windows – through doors – burst like a ruthless force.

  • Task 3.


Prose writers sometimes repeat vowel sounds to reinforce the meaning of the words. It also helps to create moods. Here, the diphthong / ou / sounds mysterious.

Poetry is old, ancient, goes back far. It is among the oldest of living things. So old it is that no man knows how and why the first poems came.

(C. Sandburg)

In poetry, too, assonance gives emphasis to words that create the required atmosphere. Analyse the lines below. What effect does assonance produce?

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my l
ife and my bride.

(E. A. Poe)

What consonant sounds are repeated in the following lines? What for?

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home.

Find the examples of assonance in the following selections.

Slow things are beautiful:
The closing of the day,
The pause of the wave
That curves downward to spray

(E. Coatsworth)

Cacophony: harsh joining of sounds.

We want no parlay with you and your grisly gang who work your wicked will.

(W. Churchill)

  • Task 5.

Say what makes the sentence and the text below so elevated and impressive.

    • Night came on, and a full moon rose high over the trees into the sky, lighting the land till it lay bathed in ghostly day.

(J. London)

    • Sea just touch my tongue so salty

& wash me with your water-body

May be I will choose a warm wave to follow

Sea-water lick away fine sand crumbles

Just lick away even my eye-wrinkles

For me, just run away with my wrinkles

But now simply sinking my boat

& I, I even can’t swim dear

So you are only for me today

You are only for me sea-water (I want you to be mine)

Sea-water don’t mention that I’m so slim

But look & see how handsome I am

& take away my eye-wrinkles

Sea in water I meet the bottom quietly

& close my eyes & rush like a warm wave

& become a warm wave seaworthy

  • Task 6.


The use of words to imitate sounds is called onomatopoeia. Bang, pop, hiss, and sizzle, tattarrattat are typical examples. Explain the difference between direct and indirect onomatopoeia. Supply examples.

Find examples of onomatopoeia in the following poem. Interpret the verse.

Cynthia in the Snow

It hushes
The loudness in the road.
It flitter-twitters,
And laughs away from me.
It laughs a lovely whiteness,
And whitely whirs away,
To be
Some otherwhere,
Still white as milk or shirts,
So beautiful it hurts.

(G. Brooks)

  • Task 7.


Rhythm is usually defined as a regular repetition of certain elements: phonemes, morphemes, syllables, lexemes, parts of sentences, sentences and even passages of text. Most laymen believe that we can only speak of rhythm when we deal with poetry whereas prose is devoid of it. This approach is erroneous. Both poetry and prose are characterized by rhythm.

Rhythm in prose

By contrast to poetry, where we first of all speak of the phonological level of repetitions – and thus – rhythm, rhythm in prose is more or less syntactically based. It is rather difficult to catch it, but it is still present and fulfils a number of functions. Rhythm in prose is aimed at emphasizing ideas and emotions, it is a powerful means of creating a certain atmosphere, it can imitate movement, behaviour. Rhythm makes texts slow or dynamic, narration – smooth or abrupt. It enables the author to express his ideas and feelings in a more coherent and suggestive way.

Interpret the passages below accounting for the interrelation between its message and change of rhythm.

In the garden back of our house we planted vegetables, you know, peas and corn and such things. We went to Columbus in early March and as soon as the days became warm I went to work in the garden. With a spade I turned up the black ground while she ran about laughing and pretended to be afraid of the worms I uncovered. Late in April came the planting. In the little paths among the seedbeds she stood holding a paper bag in her hand. The bag was filled with seeds. A few at a time she handed me the seeds that I might thrust them into the warm, soft ground. There in the dusk in the spring evening I crawled along the black ground to her feet and groveled before her. I kissed her shoes and the ankles above her shoes. When the hem of her garment touched my face I trembled. When after two years of that life I found she had managed to acquire three other lovers who came regularly to our house when I was away at work, I didn’t want to touch them or her. I just sent her home to her mother and said nothing. There was nothing to say. I had four hundred dollars in the bank and I gave her that. I didn't ask her reasons. I didn't say anything. When she had gone I cried like a silly boy. Pretty soon I had a chance to sell the house and I sent that money to her.

(Sh. Anderson)

Soft sucking lips kiss my left armpit: a coiling kiss on myriad veins. I burn! I crumple like a burning leaf! From my right armpit a fang of flame leaps out. A starry snake has kissed me: a cold nightsnake. I am lost!

(J. Joyce)

I hold the websoft edges of her gown and drawing them out to hook them I see through the opening of the black veil her lithe body sheathed in an orange shift. It slips its ribbons of moorings at her shoulders and falls slowly: a lithe smooth naked body shimmering with silvery scales. It slips slowly over the slender buttocks of smooth tarnished silver and over their furrow, a tarnished silver shadow…

(J. Joyce)

Мощный механический организм большого банка функционирует исправно. Активы преумножаются. Операции совершаются. Кредиты выделяются. Платежи осуществляются. Проценты начисляются. Money talks. Бизнес встречает деньги.

(Гаррос - Евдокимов)

Rhythm in poetry.

Rhythm in poetry is closely connected with the idea of meter. English versification has 5 main types of meter:

  • Iambus - +

  • Trochee + -

  • Dactyl + - -

  • Amphibrach - + -

  • Anapest - - +

In his book “Разговор о стихах” E.G. Etkind singles out 10 kinds of rhythm:

    1. Rhythm of meter stresses

    2. Rhythm of end stresses

    3. Rhythm of end accords (rhyme)

    4. Rhythm of syllables number (syllabic)

    5. Rhythm of end pauses

    6. Rhythm of interior pauses (caesuras)

    7. Rhythm of interior accords (interior rhymes)

    8. Rhythm of real stresses

    9. Phrase rhythm (syntactical)

    10. Rhythm of stanzas

All these types of rhythm perform particular functions. Rhythm not only organizes a poem, it also introduces logical accents, creates its atmosphere.

  • Task 8.


Rhyme is another significant means of creating artistic images. It has two main aims:

  • the phonic function: provides a kind of basement for the whole poem

  • semantic-rhymical – makes the reader anticipate certain words

Rhymes can be classified in accordance with several factors:

  • position in a poem: initial; internal; end rhymes; cross-rhyme; adjacent; framing type

  • degree of sound coincidence: full (consonants are rhymed as well as vowels) or incomplete (partial) – (either consonants or vowels are rhymed); eye-rhyme; rich or poor

  • ending of a rhyme: open; closed

  • meter: male; female; dactyl

In any verse rhyme is subordinated to the general message of the poem.

a) Provide examples of all metrical types.

b) Define the type of rhyme in the examples below.

  • Defend-impend; feature-creature; tenderly-slenderly; better-letter, both-growth; never-whether; eyes- joys; vow-grow, home-come;

  • When the lamp is shattered

The light in the dust lies dead –

When the cloud is scattered

The rainbow’s glory is shed.

When the lute is broken,

Sweet tones are remembered not;

When the lips have spoken,

Loved accents are soon forgot…

(P.B. Shelley.)

c) Analyse the poem considering rhythm and rhyme as powerful means of creating artistic images.

The Jazz of This Hotel”:

Why do I curse the jazz of this hotel?

I like the slower tom-toms of the sea;

I like the slower tom-toms of the thunder;

I like the more deliberate dancing knee

Of outdoor love, of outdoor talk and wonder.

I like the slower deeper violin

Of the wind across the fields of Indian corn;

I like the far more ancient violoncello

Of whittling loafers telling stories mellow

Down at the village grocery in the sun;

I like the slower bells that ring for church

Across the Indiana landscape old.

Therefore I curse the jazz of this hotel

That seems so hot, but is so hard and cold.

(V. Lindsey)

d) Give a careful interpretation of E. Poe’s “Raven”. Explain in what way phonetic stylistic devices helped the author to make the atmosphere of the poem so gloomy and mysterious.

by Edgar Allan Poe (1845)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;

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