Conventions of Nursery Rhymes

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Conventions of Nursery Rhymes

The conventional nursery rhyme is a vehicle for educating children at an early age of development. Originally constructed to help with language acquisition and understanding, these rhymes are often characterized as “very short poems designed specifically to teach children in one way or another” (Grace 13 Sept 2013). The purpose of a nursery rhyme is to teach language to children by using different techniques helping to stimulate their imagination, while at the same time introducing the skill of memorization and comprehension of simple words (Zuralski). Many nursery rhymes are fashioned as short poems with metrical rhythms, rhyme schemes and repetition of words or sounds. In the poems Young Night-Thought
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For example, the words “sand” (2), and “hand” (4) are almost identical sounding words with the exception of one letter being different. Rhymes like this are simple and can be remembered easily. Disyllabic words on the other hand are slightly more challenging for children to pronounce due to the complete change in spelling, for example “river” (1), and “ever” (3), requires changing the words completely, yet they are still words that a child can easily follow because of the matching syllables.
Changing slightly to examine the repetition of words in this poem, it is quite similar to Young Night-Thought insofar as there are again two separate words being repeated three times. The first word that Stephenson repeats throughout the text is “the river” (1) in the first, ninth, and thirteenth lines of the poem. What is interesting in the placement of the word “river” in the first line is that it answers the question posed in the title Where Go the Boats? The repetition of the word river allows a child listener to associate it with the idea that boats can be found at the river, while at the same time identifying the question being asked in the poem. A child will become familiar with the connection made between the boats and the river through this constant repetition.
Another significant word that Stephenson repeats throughout this poem is the word “Away” (11). It is introduced in a different manner than the
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