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What is Sibilance?
What is Sibilance?
What do you know about sibilance? Some writers may argue that sibilance involves the use of the consonant letter “s”. Other writers may argue sibilance involves the use of the consonant sound s. Who could be right? Let’s find out.
The definition of sibilance
Sibilance is a figure of speech that entails the creation of a hissing sound in successive words or a group of words through the repetition of the sound s. It is important to note that sibilance only deals with the sound s and not the letter “s”. This is so because sometimes the use of the letter “s” does not necessarily make the sound s or the hissing sound. For example, consider the following words:
All the words in the above examples have the letter “s” and also produce the sound s when being pronounced. There are also other sounds (apart from sound s) that are considered to be sibilant. They produce a hissing sound when being pronounced. These sounds include sound sh, sound f, sound v, sound z. Although sound th produces a weak or soft hissing sound, it is also considered a sibilant sound. Examples of words with these sounds include:
Consonant letters such as the letter “c” can also produce the sound s. It is common too for a combination of the letters “s” and “c” to produce a hissing sound.
Examples of the use of sibilance in literature
Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story
What we have two nights seen.
(Hamlet by William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare uses sibilance in his Hamlet as shown in the excerpt above. You can find the hissing sound in the words “us”, “once”, “assail”, “ears”.
Examples of the use of sibilance in tongue twisters
“Surely Sylvia swims!” shrieked Sammy, surprised. “Someone should show Sylvia some strokes so she shall not sink.”
If you must cross a course cross cow across a crowded cow crossing, cross the cross coarse cow across the crowded cow crossing carefully.
Through three cheese trees, three free fleas flew. While these fleas flew, a freezy breeze blew. The freezy breeze made these three trees freeze. Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze. That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.
Chris crosses the crisscrossed crews on the crystal cruise. He caresses cress crosses and crosses the crystal crews at the crux of the crossed cruise.
Sing a single synonym for cinnamon since cinnamon synonyms are simply singable. Singeing cinnamon sounds like sinning cymbals; singing synonyms sends sinewy symbols to singles.
The uses of sibilance
Sibilance makes the reader interested in a literary work
The effect of the hissing sound can make the reader pay close attention to the work he or she is reading. This is especially because the hissing sound tends to slow down the reader’s pace of reading.
Sibilance adds musicality to a literary work
The hissing sound produced by sibilant sounds can make a literary work musical. Musicality can appeal to the reader and therefore make him or her interested in a writer’s work.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Keith Mbuya