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Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry Essay

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General topic Highlights topic; study interested in scrutinizing alliteration and how it generally functions as a memory cue during the process of poetry comprehension; study also interested in examining the effectiveness of semantic prompts in reactivating the memory
Experiments and Hypothesis The study utilized 3 experiments; the paper discusses the first experiment; hypothesis – alliteration raised significant reactivation of memory
Methodology Discuss sample, control group; issues of alliterative overlap and target line amendment; and same-alliteration condition, different-alliteration condition, and no-alliteration condition
Results Significant recognition latencies in same-alliteration poems
Conclusion from data Surface features and representations of knowledge can manipulate readers’ access to information
Real-life circumstances Discuss how alliteration is used by educators to instill meanings to words during formative years of education
How research should be extended Need to investigate cue-driven techniques in ways other than semantic associations, syntactic expectations, and repetitions

In the research article “Sweet silent thought: alliteration and resonance in poetry comprehension,” the researchers were mainly interested in scrutinizing alliteration and how it generally functions as a memory cue during the process of poetry comprehension (Lea et al, 2008, p. 709). Also, the researchers were interested in examining the effectiveness of semantic prompts or cues in reactivating memory. The study was guided by the basic premise that tools used by poets to embellish their poetic works may assist the authors and other individuals to remember the impressive poems by aiding memory through associations with similar sounds. In this perspective, the researchers were also interested in examining whether such memory outcomes could be detected experimentally during the process of poetry comprehension (Lea et al, 2008, p. 713).

The study made use of 3 experiments to test the memory-related purposes of alliteration in poetry and prose (Lea et al, 2008, p. 710). It is important to deal with the first experiment since the other two experiments draw from this particular experiment. The experiment was mainly concerned with the effects of alliteration on reactivation. The hypothesis for this particular experiment was that alliteration caused significant reactivation of memory (Lea et al, 2008, p. 710). In regards to the research methodology, this particular experiment used 21 slightly revised poems to test the existence of alliteration on reactivation. The alliterative phrase was inserted towards the end of the poetic works. The forty participants, all drawn from Macalester College, were instructed to read the poems aloud so that they could highlight instances of alliteration once they were through with the reading. Twenty-four filler poems were also included in the study to provide negative instances for the recognition task. It is important to note that an alliterative overlap was manipulated in the poems by amending the target line in 3 ways, namely the same-alliteration condition, different-alliteration condition, and no-alliteration condition. This particular experiment revealed significant recognition of latencies in same-alliteration poems. In other words, the overlapping sounds contained in poems with the same-alliteration condition were found to reactivate information that had been earlier read. It can therefore be concluded that the surface features and representation of language can manipulate readers’ access to information (Lea et al, 2008, p. 715).

As already mentioned, the purpose of the discussed study was to understand how alliteration functions as a memory cue during the process of memory comprehension. The study findings revealed that alliteration assists in the reactivation of information. In a real-life situation, alliteration is used by educators to instill meanings to words especially during the formative years of education. According to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, learning can be passed to school children using three approaches, namely imitative learning, instructed learning, and collaborative learning (Edwards, 2005, p. 39). In teaching kindergarten-age children, a simple form of alliteration is exhibited when the educator uses imitative and instructed learning processes to enhance the knowledgebase of these children. Consecutive studies have revealed that alliteration can serve as an important stimulus in summoning information from earlier poetic material and other previous experiences (Lea et al, 2008, p. 715). In the same vein, it has been used in real-life situations to enhance the language processing capacities of children through imitative and instructed learning.

The research is very informative in showing how cue-driven retrieval techniques such as alliteration can be effectively used to enhance readers’ recall of some impressive poetic pieces. Alliteration can also be effectively used to intensify the readers’ aesthetic experiences. However, the cue-driven technique has never been investigated in ways other than about semantic associations, syntactic expectations, and repetitions (Lea, et al, 2008, p. 715). In this perspective, it is imperative to conduct a study that will determine whether memory retrieval is guided by other factors apart from the ones highlighted above. This will go a long way in the development of an all-inclusive theoretical framework that can assist individuals to enhance their memory retrieval capacities not only in poetry comprehension but also in other critical areas of life.

Reference List

Edwards, S. (2005). Constructivism does not only happen in the individual: Sociocultural theory and early childhood education. Early Childhood Development and Care, Vol. 175, No. 1, pp. 37-47

Lea, R.B., Rapp, D.N., Effenbein, A., Mitchel, A.D., & Romine, R.S. (2008). Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Resonance in Poetry Comprehension. Association for Psychological Science, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp. 709-716

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IvyPanda. (2021, March 18). Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/sweet-silent-thought-alliteration-and-poetry/

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"Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry." IvyPanda, 18 Mar. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/sweet-silent-thought-alliteration-and-poetry/.

1. IvyPanda. "Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry." March 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sweet-silent-thought-alliteration-and-poetry/.


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IvyPanda. "Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry." March 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sweet-silent-thought-alliteration-and-poetry/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry." March 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sweet-silent-thought-alliteration-and-poetry/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Sweet Silent Thought: Alliteration and Poetry'. 18 March.

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