Rhyme combinations are twin forms consisting of two elements (most often two pseudo-morphemes) which are joined to rhyme: boogie-woogie, flibberty-gibberty frivolous, harum-scarum disorganised, helter-skelter in disordered haste, hoity-toity snobbish, humdrum bore, hurry-scurry great hurry, hurdy-gurdy a small organ, lovey-dovey darling, mumbo-jumbo deliberate mystification, fetish,

1 O. Jespersen, H. Koziol and the author of this book in a previous work.

namby-pamby weakly sentimental, titbit a choice morsel, willy-nilly compulsorily (cf. Lat volens-nolens).

The choice of the basic sound cluster in some way or other is often not arbitrary but motivated, for instance, lovey-dovey is motivated in both parts, as well as willy-nilly. Hurry-scurry and a few other combinations are motivated in the first part, while the second is probably a blend if we take into consideration that in helter-skelter the second element is from obsolete skelt hasten.

About 40% of these rhyme combinations (a much higher percentage than with the ablaut combinations) are not motivated: namby-pamby, razzle-dazzle. A few are borrowed: pow-wow a noisy assembly (an Algonquin1 word), mumbo-jumbo (from West African), but the type is purely English, and mostly modern.

The pattern is emotionally charged and chiefly colloquial, jocular, often sentimental in a babyish sort of way. The expressive character is mainly due to the effect of rhythm, rhyme and sound suggestiveness. It is intensified by endearing suffixes -y, -sie and the jocular -ty, -dy. Semantically predominant in this group are words denoting disorder, trickery, teasing names for persons, and lastly some playful nursery words. Baby-talk words are highly connotative because of their background.


: 2015-09-13; : 69; !;

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