Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Suggestive nonsense (was: K-Rad)

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 20, 2001, 11:22
claudio scripsit:

> child: "mullo schnuppel bille bongo mamma pipi" . > father answers: "grabosch ! borbatz watsch kronk, ghurbratz fratzen pauke !"
Ah yes, Katzenjammerdeutsch. We have that in English too.
> do words always have to have a meaning ?
I think these words do have meaning, even if we can't see exactly what it is. English, at least, has a long tradition of semi-meaningful nonsense: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. Now it is the most elementary observation of anglophone linguistics (literally; it is an example used in elementary courses) that this is parseable, and that the proper morphological assignments are: It was Adjective, and the Adjective Noun-SING Did Verb-INF and Verb-INF in the Noun-SING; All Adjective were the Noun-PL, And the Adjective Noun-PL Verb-Past. But the content words themselves, though not one of them is English, (with the marginal exception of "gyre" = "rotate"), have distinctly English resonances: they bring to mind similar morphs which are English, as in "slithy" which was consciously devised as a blend of "sly" and "lithe".
> or do they have also a sound, which got an own kind of "message" ?
Except for onomatopoeia, I think that it is not so much sound as such, but suggestive sound, that gives such words what meaning they have. -- John Cowan One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore --Douglas Hofstadter


Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>