Fiddleheads: Furled Fronds from a Fledgling Fern

Leor Grebler
2 min readMay 15, 2024
Generated by author using Midjourney

Alliterations are rare except in poetry and songs but the Wikipedia article on fiddleheads led with one. My reaction was… is this a joke? How did this get by the horde of censors that make up the Wikipedia crowd. In fact, viewing the history of the article shows that an editor actually improved the alliteration.

Why did I have such a visceral reaction to alliteration? Ignoring language models for English, it’s likely that we’d encounter alliterations in everyday text. Without a language model, it’s likely we’d read one at least once a day and taking into account a language model, 3–4 times a day (looking at four words or more in a row, each with the same starting letter).

It could be because alliteration feels like it’s deliberate, rather than a random word sequence to explain a meaning. It also takes the reader out of the context and makes them focus on the medium rather than the message. However, often the style informs the content.

As an aside, I consulted with the new ChatGPT 4o to investigate the occurences of alliteration in normal English written language. Then, I asked it for an alliteration to which it happily obliged…

“Frequently, finding four fabulous, flowing phrases feels fantastically fortunate for folks.” — ChatGPT4o

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Leor Grebler

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler