Figure Name tautophony
Source Hill (1883)
Earliest Source
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Phonological

1. (1) by the recurrence of the same sound, - Tautophony (Hill)

1. 1. Tautophony.
(1) (1) Offensive Tautophony.- The unpleasant effect of the repetition of the same sound in the following sentence is felt at once: “The Captain ordered the Orderly to order the ordnance arranged in order.” The substitution of synonyms for some of these words improve the effect. (Hill)
(2) Intentional Tautophony.- In alliterative and consonantal rhyme, tautophony is purposely employed. How such repetition of sounds becomes subservient to expression will presently appear.
1) Absence of Intentional Rhyme in the Classic Languages.- Mr. Marsh observes that "It has been thought singular that with the multitude of like terminations, and the great sensibility of the Greek and Latin ear, neither rhyme, alliteration, nor accent should have become metrical elements, but that, on the contrary, repetition of sound in all its forms should have been sedulously avoided." He then offers the following explanation of this fact: "The frequent recurrence of like sounds in those languages was unavoidable; it was a grammatical necessity, and if such sounds had been designedly introduced as rhymes, and thus made still more conspicuous, they could not but have been as offensive to the delicacy of ancient ears as excessive alliteration is to our own. To them such obvious coincidences appeared too gross to be regarded as proper instrumentalities in so ethereal an art as poetry, and they constructed a prosody depending simply on the subtilest element of articulation, the quantity of relative length of the vowels."
2) Reason of this Absence.- The absence of intentional rhyme in Greek and Latin poetry results not so much from its grossness as from its inutility. (Hill)

1. 3) The Adaptation of Rhyme to Poetry.- We find here also an explanation of the adaptation of rhymed verse to poetic ideas. Emotion is a subjective state, and is interrupted by any objective diversion of the attention. Pain and grief for example are forgotten when the mind is occupied with externals. But rhyme, by the economy of expectant attention, reduces the causes of diversion; for, substituting the regularity of periodic consonance for the irregularity of prose, it leaves the mind more completely absorbed in the contemplation of emotive images. (Hill)


1. (1) The recurrence of the same syllable often becomes offensive. Thus 'holily,' lowlily,' uniform formality,' are unpleasant to the ear. Dr. Johnson says: "Tediousness is the most 'fatal of all faults.'" Here the first two words his sharply, and the sentence ends with an unmelodious repetition of "al." Clearness of meaning sometimes renders such collocations difficult to avoid. (Hill)

Kind Of Repetition
Part Of
Related Figures onomatopoeia, tautologia
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Samantha Price
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No