An addition to my “na na na” posting, with an xkcd cartoon compressing a collection of “na” songs into a chart: the song “Get a Job” and the name Sha Na Na for the rock group that took its name from the song. Nonsense syllables rule!
Archive for the ‘Nonsense’ Category
Following my posting on perilla and phonologically similar words, I was playing with Camilla Perilla and sashimi and that’s my spicy duchess hanging on the wall scooby dooby, and I caught an echo of
Daisy and Lily,
Lazy and silly,
Walk by the shore of the wan grassy sea
The “Valse” from Façade, which I seem not to have posted about before.
Today’s Zippy, which incorporates the comic-within-the-comic, Fletcher and Tanya:
F&T is a recurrent feature in Zippy. It’s a masterpiece of (Gricean) irrelevance, in which the conversational partners flagrantly talk past one another. What each of them says is grammatical English, though often peculiar in content. But the exchanges don’t cohere at all.
The strip starts with the opposed figures Kool-Aid Man and Speedy Alka-Seltzer and then rambles incoherently through a giant pile of cultural references.
One cartoonist who reveled in language but has been largely neglected in my postings on linguistics in the comics is Walt Kelly, the creator of Pogo. The problem is that good examples of Pogo material are hard to find on the net. But here are a few high points: the quote “We have met the enemy and he is us”; notes on the Okefenokee swamp dialect in Pogo; and the inspired nonsense of Kelly’s song parodies.
Yesterday was Edward Lear’s 200th birthday, certainly a day to celebrate. The barest facts, from Wikipedia:
Edward Lear (12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) was a British artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.
On limericks, see here.
And then, yesterday in the NYT, an appreciation by Verlyn Klinkenborg:
Today’s Zippy:has the denizens of Dingburg’s Beatnik District bopping on the bongos:
Shades of Mr. Zopittybop-Bop-Bop (here)!
More play on nonsense syllables — bebop, rebop, plain bop, oobity, doo-wop, etc. — from various musical genres: R&B in Lionel Hampton’s “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop” (1946), “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” from Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950), rockabilly in Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (1956), the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (1968), Afro-beat/punk/rock in Who Shot Jonson’s “Oobity Bap” (2009). And more, much more.
… caught on the radio as I was going to sleep several days ago. Didn’t record the source, but you can google up large numbers of this expanded version of the predicative idiom few and far between — and also a respectable number of the truncated version few and far ‘few and far between/apart/away’. The expanded version looks like it originated, eggcornishly, as an attempt to make more sense of the standard idiom (by incorporating the idiom in between in it), and the truncated version looks like a nonce truncation that might be spreading on its own.