It's 'about time to Banish Betty Batson


 So let’s “…set up sentences that send shivers down spines with their suspense!” Or invent, “…syllables that slip and slide off our slobbering tongues because of their sheer silliness”…Now you might wonder what on earth we’re up to. Oh, don’t worry, we’re “ Just jumbling around juicy jargon.”

Sorry! It seems that I’ve caught the Alliteration Virus and cannot stop even when I want to. “I mean to make more meaningful messages, but my mind meanders back to more …more…” I’m, stuck, now! Can’t find a suitable word beginning with ‘m’. Which also means the virus hasn’t REALLY infected me!

Now let’s get definitions out of the way. Alliteration is the repetition of similar sounds at the beginning of consecutive words (or slightly separated ones) in a sentence. But that’s what Wikipedia says. I think it is irresistible acrobatics for your tongue.

SPREAD THE VIRUS! Here’s how to get everybody hooked and enjoying twisting their tongues at all times of day! Imagine calling up your fried, Deepa, and saying, “Don’t depend on dim-witted dodos to deliver dosas at your doorstep, Deepa!” At first, she might think YOU are dim-witted, or have lost your mind. But once you’ve explained to your friend the pleasures of alliterative words (like ‘bitter butter’ or ‘slip, slide or swim in slime’), this ‘virus’ will spread even through the phone and soon she’ll switch to peppering her sentences and speech with ‘similar sounds’. Try it.

Add words from other languages when you’re stuck. (Cheeky Chintu was told to sit chup-chaap, if he didn’t want his chubby cheeks to be chopped.) Multi-lingual masala may make mothers moan at the mindlessness of this madness. That’s true…when the alliteration bug bites, normally polite kids can reply to questions like, ‘So, have you studied for your physics test?” with, “No, but nevertheless, not to worry, since nothing necessarily new has happened to Newton since 1909!” (that last number is a great finish because when spoken out loud, it has the alliterative flourish of ‘nineteen not nine’ and will make most adults grit their teeth with irritation!)

So let’s banish the batty and now boring, ‘Betty Batson bought some butter, but the butter was very bitter. So Betty Batson bought some better butter to make the bitter butter better.’ That must be a 100 years old. Here’s what you can do with alliterative twisters.
All you friends take a vow that for one year, every birthday card, Diwali greeting or get-well-soon message that you make for each other, HAS to have a twister about the birthday kid (or patient)! You’ll soon have a great collection that only you friends can share. For example, if close friend Surya is celebrating her birthday, your tongue twisting card could say, “Sweet Surya sipped on so much sugary syrup, that the syrup turned sour, so Surya sipped on salty soup…” or some such nonsense!

Creating sentences with every letter of the alphabet can be fun and a good exercise too. Start out by making ‘nonsense’ sentences. Then challenge yourself to make alliterative sentences that make sense. Or, find a theme and keep it simple. Make an animal-based A-B-C book for a younger brother or cousin…with your own illustrations. (B is for the bear who bought buns from the baker on his birthday)

Make up twisters of facts you need to remember for a test. For instance “Tipoo’s father thought it time he toppled those terrible English troops in Tiruvanaamalai and then again in St. Thomas’ Mount.” There…that was even historically correct! 
 

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