# Mathematics of Rhyme (perfect, slant)

I have recently been working on some programming frameworks incorporating audio analysis of the English language, particularly whether words "rhyme" or not (pure rhyme, slant rhyme, etc.)

Short from using an AI, is their any way to mathematically assume that two words rhyme? Any ideas for such an approach?

So far, I have worked on breaking the words down into their syllables, but from there I am a bit lost. Another idea I have had is to assign a number to each letter in each syllable, and then average the sums of these.

However, there are obviously some shortcomings with this: completely different letters could add (and average to the same thing), yet the words could still not rhyme. I would like to stay away from a "brute-force" approach (eg no mapping of all letter sounds/combinations)

• In the last paragraph, you mention the word letters, which suggests that you are working from written English. Rhyme is a phenomenon of spoken English, and English spelling does not represent English pronunciation consistently. Hence, it does not represent English rhyme. Period. Why not start with a consistent representation, like the phonemic one used in Kendall and Knott's Pronouncing Dictionary? Aug 12, 2021 at 14:37
• Interesting. Your point about rhyme being a phenomenon of spoken English, and not written English shows I obviously overlooked some aspects of this. However, by looking at two side-by-side words, most people can tell if they rhyme or not, which seems to go against what you said. I am just looking for a simple formula using phonetics, disregarding some obvious pitfalls such as regional pronunciation. Aug 12, 2021 at 15:04
• @Finn_Lancaster People can only tell by looking at words side by side because they know (through education and a lifetime of exposure) how those words are pronounced – that is, they know what spoken words the written words represent. Take that away (as you’d have to for a computer), and people are lost. Can you tell me whether the names Gough (Street), Crough (surname) and Slough (city) rhyme? If you’re not familiar with the names from speech beforehand, you can’t. (They don’t, by the way – Gough Street is like ‘cough’, the other two rhyme with ‘vow’.) Aug 12, 2021 at 17:09