Wordplay (wordplay) to some extent peculiar to us all, it is a natural ability of each person. For example, look at the baby, who is just learning to talk. He plays every day with sounds that are heard, «try» their taste, trying to try on, rhyming words. In fact, playing with words and rhymes as one of the brightest of its forms — an important stage in language acquisition in children, which is closely linked to the subsequent mastery of language and literacy. Many English nursery rhymes are built on a play of words, namely, the use of rhyming compounds:
| Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
And all the king’s horses
And all the kings men
Could not put Humpty together again
| Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty fell off in his sleep
All the king’s horses and all the King’s Men
Can not Humpty can not bolt,
Humpty Dumpty to collect!
| The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.
| A small spider up the drainpipe. Then the rain and washed the spider.
The sun came out and the rain has dried up,
And a small spider back up the pipe
| Georgie Porgie, Puddin ‘and Pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry,
When the boys came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away.
| Georgie Pordzhi, pudding and pie
I kissed the girls and they wept.
And when the boys came out to play,
George ran away.
Humpty Dumpty, itsy bitsy, Georgie Porgie — vivid examples of the use of rhyming compounds, which mimic the child’s speech.
Later, playing with words and play with language occur at different levels of linguistic communication in adults: we can see clear examples of wordplay in the media, advertising or literature; as it becomes a part of everyday communication.
One option is a play on words so-called reduplication, that is the repetition of two or more words that can be associated with either semantically (by value) or phonologically (in sound). English, like no other, has a wealth of potential for wordplay. Even the Englishmen so often widespread use reduplication in their everyday speech that is not paying attention to what is an unusual phenomenon.
«What would the English language be without Georgie-Porgie, tootsy-wootsy, razzle-dazzle, heebie-jeebies, walkie-talkie, nitty-gritty, and polly-wolly-doodle? . . . We barely notice the presence of rhyme in picnic, humdrum, humbug, hobnob, and tidbit: the humor of their inner form has worn off «.
(Anatoly Liberman, «Word Origins: Etymology for Everyone»)
«What would the English language without Georgie-Porgie, tootsy-wootsy, razzle-dazzle, heebie-jeebies, walkie-talkie, nitty-gritty, polly-wolly-doodle? We almost do not notice the presence of rhyming words: picnic, humdrum, humbug, hobnob, and tidbit: fun essence of their inner form has worn off. »
(Anatoly Liberman, «The origin of the word: Etymology for Everyone»)
In English, there are several types of replication (reduplicative compounds), but today we will focus on only one of them — rhymed (rhyming reduplication), in other words, this composite rhyming words (rhyming compounds).
The essence of rhyming compounds that second word duplicates first to change only the initial sound (or sounds) in a word, so the two words form a full rhyme: fuzzy-wuzzy, handy-dandy, hanky panky (translation and meaning of expressions, see below).
It is difficult to keep track of time when rhyming compounds appeared in the English language, because it seems they have always existed in the spoken language. We can only mention the flourishing use rhyming compounds in the literature of England. It coincided with a splash of literature in general, and especially the active use in its spoken form — the time of Chaucer, the Elizabethan era, the period of Romanticism.
Also significantly increased the use of rhyming compounds in the late 20th century thanks to the dominance of advertising on television, because the consumer needs to be witty, inventive and eye-catching slogans. Most rhyming compounds, appeared in the late 20th century, is the brainchild of creative advertisers, and it came to English-speaking people today because of advertising, such as: yummy mummy, chick flick and wild child.
So why rhyming compounds are so popular in the English colloquial language?
- Rhyme, simplicity and brevity makes them resistant and memorable.
- They have great potential for the invention of new words, they constantly fill up English.
- They can bring notes of humor, sarcasm, added poignancy in the statement, but also can sound dismissive and insulting.
Let me give you a few examples of the most common colloquial rhyming compounds. Most of them contains a value judgment, often negative — tone of sarcasm, ridicule or disdain. Only a few are neutral emotional. And even fewer that have positive connotations, such as: dream team. And, of course, you can use them in his speech to make the statement sharpness. (Note: there are many slang).
To learn more about the data words, you can watch the video in English, where values are illustrated rhyming compounds, listed below, as well as some of the others:
- Chick flick (slang) — «girly» movies (romantic and sentimental film about love, designed for a female audience).
«Made of Honor» is the worst chick flick of all. Why does my girlfriend like it so much? — «Bridesmaids» — the worst «girly» movie of all. And why my girlfriend loves him so?
- Chugalug (slang) — chug.
Hey, let’s go chugalug a mug. — Hey, let’s roll forward mug.
- Claptrap — rant, chatter ostentatious, designed for cheap effect.
His speeches seem to be erudite but analysis reveals them to be a mere claptrap. — His speeches seem thought out, but the analysis shows that this is idle chatter.
- Fuddy daddy, fuddy-duddy — an old-fashioned man, who does not tolerate anything new, and the youth. The phrase can be used by children in relation to their parents, who are fond of saying, «But in our time …»
He is such an old fuddy-duddy! — He’s just an old curmudgeon!
- Hanky panky (slang) — anything that might occur between the two lovers. There is no clear definition of what it is. It may be kissing, hugging. The term has derogatory.
Hey you two, stop doing hanky panky at my backseat! — Hey, you two, stop lisp in my back seat!
- Hodge-podge — a bunch of different things, randomly scattered objects.
Clean up this hodge-podge of a room! — Tidy this mess in the room!
- Hoity-toity — arrogant, haughty, imagines himself to people. Again, it has a pronounced negative judgment.
The hoity-toity girl walked by holding her Prada bag with her nose in the air. — Arrogant girl with a handbag from Prada went past us, with his nose.
- Hot shot — a successful and energetic man who knows his worth. Often used as an ironic reference to such a person.
If you’re such a hot shot, why can not you straighten out the whole thing? — If you have such a big «bump», why can not you fix it?
- Helter skelter — in a disorderly rush mixed randomly.
I sneezed so hard that birds arose from those bushes and went helter skelter. — I sneezed so hard that the birds of the bushes scattered in all directions.
- Hubbub — loud noise, often from large crowds, the roar of the crowd, cry, cry. It has a neutral color.
Voices swelled below, a hubbub of excited speech and shouting. — From below came the screams and cries excited.
- Jelly belly — a huge belly in men or a man with his stomach; fat.
When was the last time you went to gym? That jelly belly is getting pretty big. — When was the last time you dropped in the gym? You have a fairly decent belly.
- Legal beagle (slang) — a skillful lawyer (especially behaves aggressively or show great insight).
He made his reputation as a legal beagle before entering private practice. — He proved himself a skillful lawyer before you start a private practice.
- Namby-pamby — sentimental, corny, cutesy (eg. Style); indecisive, no stomach energetic, gruel (of the person).
His namby-pamby writing makes me sick. — I’m sick of his mawkish writing style.
Did you just give your last 100 $ to Billy? You’re a real namby-pamby! — Did you give her last $ 100 Billy? You’re a real mattress!
- Lovey dovey — love, sentimental.
They were very lovey dovey and holding hands under the table all night. — They were a real couple in love, holding hands under the table all evening.
- Mumbo jumbo — nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, too difficult saying abracadabra.
It all sounded like mumbo jumbo, not like science at all. — It was like crap, not on science.
- Nitty-gritty — the essence, the details of the case. Often used with an expression of get down to smth. — To move, to start something.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. — Let’s get to the point.
- He who has an unkempt appearance; in tatters.
- Diverse, unorganized group of people.
- Neglect the people in general.
The ragtag had been organized into some kind of marching order. — This mob was organized in a kind of marching columns.
- Razzle-dazzle, razzmatazz — something spectacular, catchy, impressive, but false; show.
His lecture was more razzle-dazzle than substance. — His lecture was more than window-dressing than meaningful.
- Teeny weeny — very small, tiny.
Remember that song about a girl in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini? — Remember that song about a girl in a tiny yellow bikini-primalyusenkom polka dots?
- Wheeler dealer — an astute man who knows how to overcome the difficulties. Anyone who is involved in commercial or political intrigues or light-fingered, wheeler-dealer.
He is a great wheeler dealer in the corridors of power. — He’s a great wheeler-dealer in the ruling circles.
- Whing ding, wing ding (slang) — shindig.
Fred had one of the best whing-dings this town had ever seen. — Fred gave one of the craziest parties who have ever seen this city
- Willy-nilly — willy-nilly forced to, want-not want.
After her boss fell sick, she willy-nilly found herself directing the project. — After her boss was ill, she had no choice but to lead the project.
- Yummy mummy (slang) — appetizing young mom, you have a young woman who looks good and are interested in the opposite sex, despite the birth and upbringing of children.
There is nothing a yummy mummy likes more than leaving the kids with dad and taking off for a manicure. — Hobby young moms — to leave the children with my dad and go for a manicure.
This catchy expression easily create an impression of you as a person, which is familiar with the informal side of the English language. Start listening to the English speech around you (in movies, songs, programs), and you will hear many of the examples discussed here. They are short, but at the same time creative and memorable.
For convenience, we have collected all the words in a table, enjoy!
↓ Download the table «Components rhyming words in the English» (* .pdf, 197 KB)
|Chick flick (slang)||«Girly» movie|
|Claptrap||Anything designed for cheap effect|
|Fuddy-duddy||Man with outdated views|
|Hanky panky (slang, taboo)||Hanky-panky, affair, adultery|
|Hot shot||Most «bump» the big man|
|Helter skelter||Scattered, turmoil, confusion|
|Hubbub||Noise, noise, hum of voices|
|Jelly belly||Fat Man|
|Legal beagle (slang)||A skilled lawyer|
|Lovey dovey||Love, sentimental|
|Mumbo jumbo||Nonsense, nonsense, gibberish|
|Nitty-gritty||The bottom line, details of the case|
|Ragtag||Diverse, unorganized group|
|Tittle tattle||Spread rumors, gossip|
|Teeny weeny||Very small, tiny|
|Pitter patter||Frequent tapping (eg. Rain)|
|Pell mell||Messy, anyhow, at breakneck speed|
|Wheeler dealer||An astute man, light-fingered|
|Whing ding (slang)||Shindig|
|Yummy mummy (slang)||Appetizing young mom|
Now you can test yourself by performing a simple test on the composite rhymed words.