Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Limericks: How We Speak and Write

POST #139: Singable Limericks 
ORIGINAL SONG: These verses can be sung to  "The Limerick Song", as per YouTube here.
LIMERICK VERSE:  Original verses composed by Giorgio Coniglio.
November 2016, updated June 2017. The final verse (Gallicism) was co-authored with Bernd Rink. 


(To the tune of "The Limerick Song") 

Think of this, if you thought there's some doubt:
Ace those verbs you've been taught; you'll have clout
With a single vowel shift.
Drive to drove; get my drift?
That's what ablaut (get/got) is about.
Come, came, come; drink, drank, drunk; sing, sang, sung;
Swim, swam, swum; stink, stank, stunk; spring, sprang, sprung;
Hold, held, held; ran, run, run;
Fling, flung, flung; win, won, won;
Stick, stuck, stuck; sink, sank, sunk; ring, rang, rung.

Ablaut (AH-blowt) is a linguistic term, derived from German, for a vowel transition resulting in a change in word meaning. Such changes are the basis of the simple past tense and the past participle in a substantial proportion of irregular English verbs, as exemplified in the second verse.

Though leery at first and contrary
To merge merry and marry with Mary,
Larry later found times
Where he'd spin far more rhymes;
When asked, "Any regrets?" he said, "Nary".
General American, sometimes known as Standard American English, is the pronunciation system used by the majority of American speakers. There are some areas of flux within this 'standard', a prominent one being the progressive tendency to coalesce vowel sounds used before the letter 'r'; this linguistic tendency, known as the Mary/merry/marry merger has spread across the northern and western US, leaving only the Atlantic coastal region as a holdout.

Some folks find flowery script efficacious.
After all, a blank page is capacious.
Others, quasi-omniscient,
Can be terse and efficient,
But the worst are the blurts disputatious.
The author disavows overly blunt speech and writing, but finds the tendency to
embellish disconcerting. Efficaciousseems to be used disproportionately when effective or efficient would do. Other words with inflated frequency of usage include symptomatologymethodology and, yes, even usage.

It's addictively frequent extrusion
Of short verses not void of confusion —
Three rhymes 'A', and two 'B'. Ah!
Could be called 'limerrhea',
For a lexicon lacking conclusion.
The mental disorder in which sufferers (including the author) feel endlessly compelled to write innumerable limericks might be dubbed limerrheahyperlimerosis, or more simply, limerick addiction.

The ACcent / ahk-SOHN Québécois
Doesn't equal French studied by moi.
Speaking joual, what they say
Sounds much more like 'mo-AY';
If I speak, I'll blurt, "Mw-é, j'parle pas."
Accent is a word written similarly, but spoken very differently in French and English. Joual (ZHWAHL) is the name for the accent, grammar and even spelling used naturally by many speakers in the Canadian province of Quebec; this dialect had evolved over several centuries separately from the language spoken in France. In schools, businesses and media in Quebec and other francophone areas of Canada, 'québécois' (kay-bay-KWA), more standard French, with a local inflection and local vocabulary, now predominates. In Canadian English and French, residents of the province are known asQuebeckers or québécois respectively.

Gallicism? Its origin: French.
coquette: a flirtatious French wench.
RSV (won't you), Please,
massage: rub and squeeze,
Rendezvoustête-à-tête, or a clench.
RSVP is a widely used initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s'il vous plaît meaning "Please reply."
Although Gallicism, pronounced in English, is stressed on the first syllable, a bilingual speaker, thinking of the cognate French word gallicisme, might emphasize the third syllable, as here.

It's a name fired in history's forge (though
The English form sticks in your gorge). Oh,
I implore, say it right:
Just two syllables, tight-
ly pronounce my Italian name JOHR-joh.
Ζεύς Γεωργός, Zeus Georgos, "the farmer", or "tiller" was a deity venerated in ancient Athens. Following the martyrdom of the Christian Saint George in the 4th century A.D., the name became widespread in the Eastern Empire, and spread to the West, where it became widely popular during the Middle Ages. Other forms of the name include, in various languages, Georg, Georges, Jorge, Yuri etc.
The e's in the English and French forms, and the i's in the Italian form Giorgio, serve only to soften the hard g-sound, and are not otherwise pronounced.

"No attack dog, more scary than poochy,
Nor sex scandal that screams, 'Hoochie-coochie'
Could match the release
Of that New Yorker piece:
My profane rant." The Mooch Scaramucci.
In July 2017, the appointment of a new White House Director of Communications resulted in 2 records in short order. These were a) the most obscene published rant attributed to an American political figure, and b) the shortest tenure in office of a White House section head.

I told Fulton my fulminant views
As he frequently fails to get clues:
At his funky new 'Gnu Bar'
Table service was FUBAR —
Patrons fled, overwhelmed by SNAFUs.
Slang expressions derived from the American military in the early 1940s, FUBAR (used primarily as adjective) and SNAFU (used primarily as noun) were acronyms for F***ed Up Beyond All Repair, and Situation Normal, All F***ed Up, respectively. In more polite situations, the F-word is explained as "fouled". As these words have become more commonplace, they are often written without the capitals. Snafu has also come to have a less global import, implying a glitch or obstacle.

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