Friday, November 15, 2013

To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme

Many of you have probably figured it out already, but I realized recently that perhaps the reason editors and agents discourage rhyming stories for picture books (besides the fact that it's often not well done) is that rhyming words depend largely on the culture, language, and geographical region of the reader. This became apparent to me when I realized that "gardener" could be pronounced with 2 syllables (gard-ner) or 3 (gar-den-er)  depending on where you live. 

We all know Bostonians pronounce words differently than Houstonians. Do you say "Where are you all going?" Or "Where are y'all headed?"  

I grew up in Nevada, but when I lived in Texas, I learned a lot of new pronunciations. At Thanksgiving, most native Texans say turkey and all the "fixins" not "fixings" or even "sides." My daughter pointed out that I say, the days of the week as (e.g., Monday as "Mon-dee, Tues-dee" instead of "Mon-day, Tues-day"). 

In an article on the subject, James Joyner notes, "I say “loyer,” not “law-yer,” despite the latter pronunciation dominating the places I’ve mostly lived.  Ditto “may-uh-naze” rather than “man-aze.” 

So then, if I have a rhyme about the "sea" and planned to rhyme it with "Thurs-dee" I'd have a problem. A reader in another geographical area would think the rhyme was broken or just wrong. I love to play with rhyming texts, but it is something to think about when tempted to rhyme the next picture book story.

1 comment:

  1. That is all so true! But sometimes I just love to rhyme, seems like that's the only way a story comes to me.