• Buzz/Does/Was
  • Too/Blue/Grew/Flu/Through/Threw

I overheard a claim that this phenomenon is only present in English and Japanese. I'm not well versed in enough other languages to know whether this true, and I find it unlikely to be so. When I attempted to search for examples, I discovered that I don't know what this is called, or if it even has a name.

So, is there a name for groups of words with these relationships?

Bonus points: do you know of other languages in which this phenomenon exists?

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    This will occur in every language whose writing system is not largely phonetic, so English is a prime candidate. French is another: eau, aux, haut, os, aulx, and oh are all pronounced exactly the same (and therefore rhyme), but are spelt quite differently. And Irish is fab for this: an bhfaighidh and an ghaoth are exact homophones in some dialects—despite their spellings, both are pronounced /ə wiː/ ‘a wee’! Arguably, Japanese is one of the languages where this doesn’t occur, since the two sound-based writing systems used for Japanese are completely phonetic. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 18 '18 at 20:43
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    @JanusBahsJacquet: The Japanese kana aren't completely phonetic, just mostly. There are correspondences between multiple spellings to single sounds even in the present standard, which is the result of relatively recent spelling reform. The "rhymes" framing of this Q isn't really applicable because of the syllabic nature of the writing system, so it's normal for rhyming Japanese words to not end in the same sequence of characters, but e.g. there's the di/zi and du/zu spelling distinctions, as well as some ambiguities related to the spelling of long /eː/ and /oː/. – herisson Jan 18 '18 at 20:54
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    Rhyming is purely phonetic. Spelling has nothing to do with it at all. – Mike Harris Jan 18 '18 at 21:01
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    @Cascabel When the experts on this site converse among themselves it is truly a privilege to be a spectator. – Nigel J Jan 18 '18 at 21:13
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    @MikeHarris obviously. But words that sound exactly the same but which aren’t (necessarily) spelled the same have a name: homophone. I was just wondering if there was something similar for word groupings in which the thing that sounds the same is just part of the word (specifically the last part), rather than the entire word. – JakeRobb Jan 19 '18 at 3:55

I don't think there's an established word for it.

It's kind of the opposite of an eye rhyme, where the words are spelled the same but don't actually end with the same sounds (e.g., wind and find). So you could call it an ear rhyme.

But usually, we just use the word rhyme for this, and don't distinguish between the cases where the words end with the same letters or not.


It's called 'assonance' meaning 'sounds the same'. As you note, words do not need to be spelled the same in order to sound the same.

‘Sounds the same’ is what assonance means. https://www.google.co.id/search?q=etymology+assonance&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-id&client=safari

  • There I thought assonance was - broadly - as Julie Walter's Rita puts it, "when you get the rhyme wrong…" ie, the words appear as they ought to but in fact don't quite sound the same. – Robbie Goodwin Jan 28 '18 at 15:14
  • I'm going from my sense of the origin of the word, @RobbieGoodwin - son - is sound. It's origin is from sounds like, or I think it means 'resonates with' Think of it like, 2 bells sounding together, resonating. I think that's what it means. Here's a link: google.com.sg/… – Jelila Jan 29 '18 at 7:41
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    Use citations to defend your answers. I did some research, and didn't find anything to support your claim. – AndyT Mar 20 '18 at 10:39
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    Assonance is rhyming mud and love. Same vowel, but not necessarily the same consonant. Eye rhyme is rhyming mind and wind. – Peter Shor Mar 20 '18 at 11:43

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