I’m so enthralled with lyrics – their inherent musicality
I love the words I’ve heard, for both their quantity and quality.
And so I’ll share with you this recent lexic revela-ation –
My favorite word-device goes by the name ‘reduplica-ation’.
This humble term is used to group some marvellous crea-ations;
Some are quite recent – chick flick, boy-toy – playful innova-ations.
For others, spoke with reverence, their birth can date back centuries
Like hully-gully, boogie-woogie, riff-raff, and hurdy-gurdy.
These fuzzy-wuzzy friends are formed by vocal repeti-ition,
With wi-fi you might find them in Wiki’s current edi-ition;
The three important sub-types you are certain to learn more about
Are known as Rhyming, Exact, and the oddly German-named Ablaut (rhymes with ‘shout’).
2) RHYMING REDUPLICATES
A hodge-podge of examples start with “h”, like hokey-pokey, see!
And humdrum, hubbub, and hillbilly, and higgledy-piggledy.
Hell’s bells! there’s hanky-panky, hootchie-kootchie, hobnob and hotshot
And hobo, handy-dandy, hurly-burly, honky-tonk, hotspot.
There’s hocus-pocus, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, hoi-polloi
And holy moly! hoity-toity, hip-hop, heeby-jeebies, oy!
Although the showing’s not so glowing for some, like the letter “D”
With ding-aling and Double-Bubble, and surname of H.-Dumpty.
3) EXACT REDUPLICATES
As toddlers we knew quite precisely what pee-pee and yum-yum meant
They’re constituted by exact repeating of the elements.
Extension into adult life – it doesn’t seem to ma-atter
For mahi-mahi, hubba-hubba, night-night, yada-ya-ada.
4) ABLAUT REDUPLICATES
Linguistic term that might put off, but don’t throw in the to-owel
To form the second part you usually change a single vo-owel.
Though tidbit, wampum, whipper-snapper show some varia-ation
Criss-cross, splish-splash, ding-dong, mish-mash provide the explana-ation.
5) RELATED FORMS, e.g. collocation
Dream Teams of paired words get primetime - in rhyming collocation
These catchy terms, like kitty-cat, aren’t true reduplications.
Some seem, like grandstand, nightlight, space race, born of sheer coincidence
While heyday, tattle-tale, and yo-yo reflect deeper sentiments.
And so for many wild child words, there's no accord on how they're grouped
Like laptop, meal deal, Walla Walla, out-of-order, hula-hoop
Folks wiki-wiki (quickly) get upset re punctuation;
Does snail mail, snail-mail, or snailmail enhance communication?
6) A LEXICON OF REDUPLICATES
There’s achy-breaky, artsy-fartsy, bigwig, bow-wow, and aye-aye
Abra-cadabra, bumper thumper, boulder holder, and bye-bye
And Bora Bora, beriberi, (good) bees knees, and (bad) boo-boo
And blogger flogger, culture vulture, clipp'ty-clop, chug-chug, choo-choo
There’s clap-trap, credit debit, chit-chat, chug-alug, cluck-cluck, chop-chop
And dingle-dangle, easy-peasy, even Steven, and flip-flop
And flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, fuddy-duddy, fat cat, funny mon(ey)
Fender bender, flower power, golden oldy, honey-bun.
There’s ga-ga, goody-goody, go-go, hippy-dippy, and hoo-haw
Hush-hush! knock-knock, NewYork NewYork, (its zip is fixed twixt MA and PA)
And itsy-bitsy, jeepers-creepers, jingle-jangle, and knick-knack
And local yokel, lovey-dovey, French expression bric-a-brac.
There’s lazy Daisy, loosey-goosey, Ling Ling, and lickety-split
And mumbo-jumbo, mellow yellow, namby-pamby, and nitwit
And muu-muu, nitty-gritty, okey-doke, Bony Maro-oney
And no-no, ooey-gooey, pell-mell, and phoney-balo-oney.
There’s pitter-patter, pow-wow, pooper-scooper, plain Jane, and ping pong
And pom-pom, palsy-walsy, pasty-faced, slap-happy, singalong
And roly-poly, razzle-dazzle, rail trail, ragtag, ring-aling
And rah-rah! rumble-tumble, seesaw, razzmatazz, also SingSing.
There’s roly-poly, Roger dodger, super-duper, or so-so
And ready Freddy, rollick-frolic, “fuddle-duddle” (P. Trudeau)
And shock jock, sure cure, snip-snap, sci-fi, smartcart, shipshape, and stungun,
And silly billy, speed read, shilly-shally, squish-squash, stumblebum.
Tick-tock, tut-tut, tum-tum, tip-top, and tootsie-wootsie, PigglyWig'
And teeter-totter, tittle-tattle, teentsie-weentsie, thing’majig.
And willy-nilly, wishy-washy, wingding, wiseguys, woman’s womb
And tubby-wubby, walkie-talkie, voodoo, zig-zag and zoom-zoom.
The lesson's sung, my cha-cha's done, we’ve reached our termina-ation
(Boo-hoo!) True blue, and through and through we’ve viewed reduplica-ation
But while we bid our fond ta-tas, I leave this final message – “HI!”
These phrases love to start with “h”, and their initial vowel – “i”.