The History of Rhymes

There is evidence of rhymes used by poets in historical texts worldwide; rhymes aren’t exclusively something you will find in the English language. Although you’ll find proof of rhymes used in the Bible, the history of rhymes predates biblical times.

One of the earliest surviving examples of rhyming is in the Chinese Shi Jing (a book of classical poetry). The rhymes found in Shi Jing date back to the 10th century BCE (before the common era - i.e., “Before Christ”).

Rhymes have also been found in classical Greek and Latin poetry, although rhyming in poetry was not standard at the time. You’ll even find rhyming in Arabic poetry, dating back to its pre-Islamic roots in the 6th century.

Why Are Rhymes Important?

It’s no secret that rhymes are very popular in modern life, just as they were in the past. No one is really sure what that’s the case, but one theory of why rhymes are so important in people’s lives is because they make information more memorable.

Some stories such as folklore, for example, get passed down from generation to generation. Most people find it easier to recall those stories in rhyme form than if they were in a conventional book format.

That’s also why singers can remember the verses to their songs, and speakers can recite poetry without having a poetry book in front of them.

Are Rhymes Used in Different Languages?

An interesting fact about rhymes is you will find them used in most languages around the world. For example, rhymes became popular in the Arabian peninsula from the 6th century and featured in letters, poems, and songs.

Historically, rhymes also got used in various forms in languages such as Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. However, it’s worth noting that rhymes translated from different languages into English don’t always match up as some foreign words don’t have literal translations.