The tautogram is a text whose words begin with the same initial letter. This makes the tautogram very memorable and is often used in advertising or in print media. Historically, however, the tautogram is a form of the poem. The tautogram is a special form of the alliteration (→ examples of the alliteration)
Often it is difficult for us to clearly distinguish the tautogram from alliteration. However, this is due to the fact that the current definitions are not precise enough.
In principle, it means that all the words in a text have an identical initial letter. It is true that a poem can also be called a tautogram, if there are singular deviations, but basically all initial letters are meant.
Note: The most important difference between tautogram and alliteration is that the alliteration is a phonetic phenomenon (sound) due to the accumulation, whereas the tautogram also has a strong visual effect since all letters are identical.
The word is derived from the Greek (tauto: dieelbe; gramma: Buchstabe). You could translate this with “the same letter”, which basically represents a beautiful donkey bridge.
Examples of the tautogram
To illustrate the whole thing a bit, we would like to illustrate the tautogram by means of examples. Some are interventions, others show complete poems.
Example: Tautogram in the advertising slogan
Milk makes tired men cheerfully!
With this slogan, the dairy industry in the 1950s and up to now, it reappeared in this or a modified form. Furthermore, this line is found in numerous specialist books as a prime example for the alliterative verse and is, of course, a tautogram as a whole.
2. Example: Tautogram with “B”
Soon Bearded Bioload owners get blue beer.
This sentence does not come from a well-known work and is also not a slogan. Here, we are dealing with a strong focus on the letter “B”, which accompanies the alliterative verse in each word and thus explains it to the described stylistic figure.
2. Example: Tautogram in a stanza of the “Makamen of Hariri”
Heil’ge, high heavenly home, Hime,
Salvation! you have the Lord as a promising promise.
Huge hills, secretly hollow grove of trees!
Do not harshe a harsh breath even hotter!
The herd of sheep,
Heisa, hussa, hurray, hu, hihi, haha,
Hall healed, heart and throat is hoarse.
This stanza is based on the letter “H” and is the German replica of the Makamen of Hariri from the pen Friedrich Rückerts. There are also some words in the individual verse lines which do not fit into the scheme, but the text can undoubtedly be regarded as a tautogram. Here the visual component of the poem form becomes evident.
Tongue breakers as examples
At the tenth tenth, ten o’clock
ten tame goats pulled tens of pounds of sugar to the zoo.
Red cabbage remains red cabbage, wedding dress remains wedding dress.
Hundreds of fast-hitting dogs hound after a hundred harsh hares.
Tongue breakers or nursery rhymes are often constructed using the tautogram or at least characterized by numerous alliterative elements. This is due to the fact that the frequent naming of the letters almost invariably leads to a slip in repetition.