Aural Decoration

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Aural Decoration


secondary (not directly communicative) sound features of speech used in literature to express different emotions, overtones in meaning, and so on. The theorists of ancient Indian poetics already had a concept of aural decoration; they linked different poetic ‘“styles” with the prevalence or absence of particular sounds (liquids, sibilants, etc.). The following are kinds of aural decorating: (1) the repetition of a sound—Voron kanul na sosnu, ITronul sonnuiu strunu, “The raven sank into the pine tree/And touched the drowsy string” (A. Blok); (2) the repetition of phonetically similar sounds—Shurshit voda po usham, i. chiriknuv, iNa tsypochkakh skachet chizh, “The water whispers over the ears and, giving a loud chirp,/The siskin jumps on tiptoe” (B. Pasternak); (3) the contraposition of phonetically contrasting sounds—Veter veet i v’ etsia ukradkamilMeih vetvei, nad vodoi naklonennykhJShevelia tiahelymi skladkami/Shelkov zelenykh, “The wind blows and whirls furtively/Among the boughs, bent above the water/ And moves the heavy folds/Of green silks” (M. Voloshin); (4) a varying organization of sequences of sounds and intonational units—V iiule, v samyi znoi, v poludennuiu poru, /Sypuchimi peskami, v goru/S poklazhei i sem’ei dvorian,/Chetverkoiu rydvan/Tashchilsia, “In July, in the hottest heat, at midday,/Through the quicksands, uphill,/With luggage and the nobleman’s family,/A coach and four-in-hand/Dragged” (I. Krylov). The use of aural decoration may be canonized, that is, generally accepted in a given literature, or individual. Thus, alliteration is canonized in Turkic popular poetry and individual in Russian folk poetry.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.