Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Singable Limericks #10: 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.

I give zeal and direction wide berth.
I prefer mild bemusement to mirth.

I abjure love as 'loathsome'
(Though at times I do both some).
That's ambivalence - for what it's worth.
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