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Euphonics

8 9 The short E is too common to have individual character, but the long E, drawn out in the cry of eeeee, is a sound of grief, and supernatural terror. It puts a shiver in words such as creepy, weird, eerie, fearsome, feverish dream and evil demon, and it resounds in verbs of distress, such as keen, weep, shriek, scream, screech, squeak, squeal, plead and beseech. The keening sound uttered by the ominous Irish wraithwoman, the banshee, is heard in the last syllable of her name. A classic example of the use of the E and other long vowel sounds to brew up a dense, solemn, uncanny atmosphere is in the opening lines of Poes The Raven Once upon a midnight dreary.... The following is a travesty with added eeees E O nce from dreams of mystic meaning, I awoke to sounds of keening, Sounds which seemed to echo from a being with a greenish gleam. Flickering oer its evil features Scenes of weird demonic creatures Teased my brain ... I could but scream. The doctor said, Youll be all right. Just turn the TV off at night. eeeek, she squealed, its eerie in ere D has the ring of death, doomsday and sad endings. As an initial it implies loss or lessening, demotion, dismissal, diminution or degradation. As a final letter it tells of deeds dead and done. Dread, with a D at each end, sums it up. The depressing effect of D may be detected in the following incantation dim, dumb, dingy, droop, done down, dark, dank, drear, disgraceful, drown, damp, dump, dismal, damned, dire dread, drop, dope, doleful, doddering, dead. Particularly dreary is the DGE sound, as in dredge, drudge, trudge, dungeon, sludge, smudge, stodgy porridge, curmudgeon, grudge and dudgeon. See also G. D own in a dungeon, Dank and dread, Dreary despondent, Droops my dismal head. A dark, depressing death Will be my dire doom, Abandoned underground, This dugout for my tomb. D down in the dumps or dead as a dodo
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