The Superpower of Alliteration: A Partridge in a Pear Tree.Dec 24, 2022
by Jonathan Peters, PhD
Chief Motivation Officer
When I was in second grade, there were 4 Jonathans. One, of course, got to go by Jon, one got Jonathan, one had to settle for Jonny, and since I have two first names, I was labeled “Pete.” And I was called Pete all the way through high school (yes, friends thought my name was Pete Peters). Even my sister called me Pete. Only my parents called me Jonathan, which confused people.
When your name is Pete as a child, kids are always asking you about your pickled peppers and why you couldn’t keep your wife.
The reason you understand my reference is because of the power of alliteration.
Alliteration is the repetition of sounds within words and phrases. It is a device that helps us remember exact phrases with accuracy.
In studies, whether read aloud or silently, participants reading literature using alteration were able to remember both the content of the poems they read as well other thematic aspects of the text.
Granted, the studies I could easily find of the memory effects of alliteration have to do with literature, and probably there are only a handful of you who are gamifying college literary courses; however, in the marketing world we understand the power of alliteration without scholarly studies to support us. You’ve heard of Coca-Cola? What about Best Buy? Even Sententia has a more subtle (thus, hypnotic) alliteration, though that isn’t why Monica Cornetti chose the name for her company.
Those of us who have studied conversational hypnosis certainly grasp the power of alliteration. We have witnessed how quickly clients reach “state” with alliterative phrases. Of course, this is best achieved when speaking aloud to someone, but even written language can have an effect, especially if the reader “hears” the words while they are reading.
What does this have to do with creating learning experiences?
Do you have concepts learners need to learn and retrieve quickly? Our tendency is to frame phrases, sentences, and paragraphs without thoughts of the words we are selecting. And yet, we have tremendously more impact if we pay attention to the “poetry” of our presentations.
Read that last sentence again, aloud if possible. Notice the repetition of certain sounds. If I were to, now, use that paragraph to place you in state, can you imagine what you will remember from this short, easily read post.
[If you and I were in person, and the above was actually coming out of my mouth, instead of my text, I would now snap my fingers, or make some other sound, to slide you out of state, remembering each and every thought you had while reading this post.]
And that's the superpower of alliteration.
Our alliteration game can help you to manage the workload and realistically complete essential tasks. Please feel free to share the strategy with colleagues and friends.
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