3

There is a children's television program called "Ben & Holly" in which there are a few repeated phrases/themes. I'm trying to find the correct terminology to describe them.

Example 1: In almost every episode there is a variation of a phrase - usually "and I'm an elf" or "and we're elves", followed by the elf/elves blowing a horn.

Example 2: About once every 5 episodes a location is flooded with jelly and all the characters all shout "Jelly flood!"

7

motif should work for this.

a dominant or recurring idea in an artistic work.

Just found another possibility, epanalepsis, courtesy of a rhetorical devices page on YourDictionary.

repetition of the same word or phrase after other words have intervened.

Thought of another one as well: trope.

The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.

  • Thanks. That was my initial thought - I think it works well for describing the idea of, for example, the jelly flood, but I'm wondering if there isn't a more fitting word to describe repeated phrases. – nwebb Mar 3 '16 at 13:15
  • The only other one I've been able to find so far is anaphora, but that's more the repetition of words/phrases at the beginning of several successive verses/clauses/paragraphs and isn't really what you wanted. (just edited the answer with another possibility I found) – John Clifford Mar 3 '16 at 13:24
  • If it's not so much the motif you want to describe, but actual text, would 'idiomatic expression' cover the bill? (From Freedictionary: locution, saying, expression - a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; "pardon the expression") – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 13:28
0

You could consider using buzz phrase if your children keep repeating them. It means:

a fashionable phrase in widespread use, a voguish phrase: '“Customer for life” is becoming an off-repeated buzz phrase.'

[Merriam-Webster]

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.