to Tree's branches
back to Welcome on to Conclusion
24 Rhyme and Alliteration
Rhyme yields pleasure; if it did not, it would not be so widely used. Alliteration is similar although not quite so obvious. The present Tree could be called a Tree of Pleasures, but Tree of Treats has a little more of some quality; there is a tiny pleasure from the repetition of syllables.
As soon as an infant begins to burble, parents begin trying to converse, or at least to engage the infant in a kind of conversational to-and-fro. At this stage, there is little emphasis on meaning but there is emphasis on repetition. Even if you are in a different room, you can tell when an adult is talking to an infant from the many repetitive sounds --- mama, boo-boo, etc. Why so? Because the infant enjoys repetition; it continues to be a feature of mother-and-baby talk until meaning gradually creeps in and provides match-ups of another kind.
(And what about young lovers? That's another time in life when fond feelings are the central feature and the meaning of one's words is of minor interest. And sure enough, repetitive sounds make a come-back: all of a sudden, adults revert to baby-talk and rhyming words.)