Thursday 27 August 2015


POST #92
ORIGINAL SONG:  "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious",  from the movie "Mary Poppins", Sherman Brothers, 1963, as performed by Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, August 2015.
WORDPLAY LINK: For discussion of legalese on our sister blogsite "SILLY SONGS AND SATIRE", click here.

KEYWORDS: goldenoldy, showtune, language

In spite of various campaigns to improve the language style used for communication by lawyers, most of us still can't understand what they say. One particularly vexing element is their apparently mandatory use of redundant pairs of words in a form of cliché, sometimes having an archaic sound.  
For better or worse, there does not appear to be a covenant and agreement between linguists and lawyers as to what to call these expressions. Such pairings of items with similar or overlapping meaning are known as doublets  in the legal literature. They consist of pairs of nouns, verbs adjectives or even adverbs, joined by a conjunction, most commonly 'and'; hence they would usually be referred to as binomials by linguists. Linguists generally have a specific concept in mind with respect to word derivation in using the term doublet

Clear, Correct, Concise and Complete is a motto in the campaign to improve written English. Unfortunately, "legalese" and legal professionals may be inseparable.


(to the tune of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" - Mary Poppins)

Now, "formula"  applies 
Whereas word-order's always set;
And if the first one shows up
So'll the other, you can bet!
And "pleonasm" indicates
A frank redundancy, 
If clients check out Wiki'
"Legal doublets" they shall see.

They're formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic-doublets
Now and henceforth use them to stay free and clear of trouble, it's
Fit and also proper, to pursue them and enjoy, it's
A formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic ploy.  

Um diddle diddle diddle, um diddle ay! 
Clear and Correct and Complete and Concise

When I was still a minor,
As you've heretofore inferred,
I'd swear, even subscribe
With a sole and exclusive word.
But then I felt an urge to cover
Each and every base
Proclaiming with force and effect,
Thereby I'll rest my case. 

They're formulaic pleonasms, they aid and abet, it's
Not so new or novel, yet you get full faith and credit
You can't annul or cancel, now that you've deposed and said it
Formulaic pleonasms - don't revise or edit.

Um diddle diddle diddle, um diddle ay! 
Clear and Correct and Complete and Concise 

While touring all and sundry ports 
To furnish and supply,
Surprising lets and hindrances  
Provoked a hue and cry.
He sought to be indemnified
And also held harmless 
He had and held a trick that 
He'll acknowledge and confess.....

Spout formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic diction! 
In a court of law where there's dispute and even friction - 
Helps attesting and asserting facts or only fiction
Formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic diction.

Um diddle diddle diddle, um diddle ay! 
Clear and Correct and Complete and Concise

When liens and encumbrances
You can't shun and avoid,
Your power and authority
Is rendered null and void
Just cite and quote these phrases
And you'll double what you say,
And over and above
You still can transfer or convey.

Use formulaic pleonasms in your legal documents,
To give and grant, or bequeath and devise such lands and tenements.
With signed and sealed, full-and-complete testimony 'n' evidence
Heirs and assigns keep and maintain their chattels, with due diligence. 

Um diddle diddle diddle, um diddle ay! 
Clear and Correct and Complete and Concise.

They're legalistic pleonasms - not sure what those terms meant?
That should be a focus of attention and concernment;
Unless and until there's a postponement or adjournment
Formulaic-pleonastic-legalese discernment.


Oh! Formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic thinking  
Though such words seem laudable, implies a brain that's shrinking,
With cause good and sufficient, you might find your case dismissed 
If judge-and-jury order-and-direct cease-and-desist. 

Notwithstanding legal valid rules and regulations
Please deem and consider all due terms and stipulations
Legal doublets - part and parcel, final formulation 
Is your last will and testament, and end and termination. 

Formulaic-pleonastic-legalistic thinking!

Other Examples of Legal Doublets

Other expressions with legal implications were included in my previous posts dealing with alliterative binomials. These include..... 
drunken and disorderly 
lend or lease
lewd and lascivious
mind and matter
search and seizure   
wrack and ruin
A compendium of other commonly used "legal doublets" that you might encounter is found at "SILLY SONGS AND SATIRE" here
Note that a number of the particularly-redundant expressions e.g. "terms and conditions", have been criticized in official and academic circles as contributing to lack of clarity in communication, and have been purged from specific usage in certain jurisdictions.

(Click on any chord-chart slide to move to 'song-presentation mode'; then navigate through thumbnails at bottom of page.)

The ukulele chords for this song are extremely simple, and the song could easily be transposed to a different key. 


Wednesday 26 August 2015

Thanks to Tom Lehrer#9: The Elements of Etymology

POST #91
ORIGINAL SONG"The Elements", Tom Lehrer, 1959.

PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, August, 2015.

KEYWORDS: goldenoldy, language, math-and-science


(to the tune of "The Elements' - Tom Lehrer)

Can’t stop from writing wordplay to the pattern of Tom’s patter-song
It’s an enticing vehicle for grouping words to sing along
Invoked it several times before, and so it’s no coincidence
I’ll use its rhythm to explore The Origin Of Elements. 

I’ve strained to educate myself in English Etymology
It’s so much more enticing than Ge-, Zö- or Entom-ology
In citing “Shorter Oxford” I need offer no apology
Its elements of evidence exceed those of phrenology.

The Bohr Model
I'm drawn to find the story of the origin of elements
Those elementary chemicals whose finders found much eminence
For some, who stride like Laureates, there's no doubt where the terms come from -
Thus Einstein-, Curi-, Nobel-, Fermi-, Bohr- and Rutherford-ium

I wish I'd been in Britain at the advent of centurions,
When they exclaimed to side-kicks, "Elementary, dear Wats(uri)on!"
Their Latin list gave just four names for ELEMENTUM, I lament
So  - earth, air, water, fire - Aristotle's concepts what they meant.

The closest thing they had in mind to matter fundame-ental
They found in ore that they had mined, for 7 ancient me-etals
That's silver - Ag, gold - Au, and tin - Sn, and lead - Pb
And iron - Fe, copper - Cu, and Hg for mercury.

The Roman Empire's now declined, for that there's no recovery
Yet Latin place-names have been honored with the new discoveries
By plenty, at least twenty, sites of chemistry laborat’ries
(Like holmium for Stockholm), each with glorious science histories.

This space is much too short for baby-photos of each element.
In my remaining time I'll try to deal with this bedevilment -
Though oft we’d borrowed loanwords of Roman and Norman ancestry
Who thought we'd need earfuls of nouns in “E” that end in  -E-N-T ?

A handful of these words can be imbued with Latin elegance
As such, we cleave off the –U-M and voice them with much eloquence,
Though few in number to join with our fine friend ELEMENTUM:
Perhaps there's just emolument-, experiment-, and excrement-um

The French are prone to form their adverbs with the self-same ending 
I doubt so many –MENT nouns were used by Guillaume le Conquérant *,
He could proclaim his edicts nonetheless, we don’t know how (comment)
Maybe with nouns like engage-ment, encercle-ment, enforce-ment?

I hoped to figure out where all these fascinating words come from.
Although I’ve learned a lot, I’m feeling, elementally, rather dumb.

* William the Conqueror, 1028-1087.

 When turning to the fav’rite part of my 2-volume diction’ry
A mighty river flows with such engorgement to its estuary.
A surge of ancient verbal roots were grafted on, just to concoct
A lengthy list of nouns that look part-Latin-like but sound ad hoc.

There’s easement and embodiment, effacement and embarrassment,
Elopement and embellishment, embankment and embezzlement
Empuzzlement, employment and embroilment and embitterment.
Enablement, entrapment and enticement and empowerment.

Encasement and encampment and entrenchment and encouragement
Encroachment and enactment and enchantment and enfranchisement
Endowment and endorsement and endearment and endangerment
Enlightenment, enhancement and entwinement and engenderment.

Enjoyment and enlistment and enlargement and ennoblement
Enrollment and enrichment and entanglement, enlivenment  
Ensconcement and enshrinement and ensnarement and entra-ainment
Enslavement and enthrallment and entailment, entertainment.

Entitlement, entrancement and entreatment and envelopment
Entrustment and enwrapment and entrenchment and environment.
Envisagement, equipment and escarpment and establishment,
Estrangement and extolment and excitement and extinguishment.  

Contrast this excess with the paltry showing for the letter "S". 
A statement for the shipment shows this segment boasts ten words or less; 
Just settle-, sedi-, senti-, secure-, sacra-ment; that's all, God bless.
The cause of this disparity? I'd hate to even take a guess.

Monday 24 August 2015

The parody of word-pairs: RHYMING BINOMIALS, M to Z

POST #90
PARODY-LYRICS, a continuation of post #89.
ORIGINAL SONG: "The Elements", Tom Lehrer, 1959.
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, July 2015.

KEYWORDS: language, goldenoldy 

(word-pairs), M to Z

(to the tune of Tom Lehr's "The Elements")

There’s make or break, and move and groove, neither or either, mash- and mish-
And meet and greet, and meter-feed, and moans and groans, and meat or fish.
It’s my way or the highway, metes and limits, also leer and peer
Obama and Osama, and the news and views, both near and dear.

An ocean of devotion, moon in June -it’s grouped with-  odds and sods 
An Okie from Muskogee, onward upward, also nod and prod
And pedal to the metal, a man with a plan, no pain - no gain 
And slump or hump, and scrimp or primp, there’s pump and dump, and planes and trains.

There’s red or dead, and rough and tough, and rude and crude, and rain in Spain
And Seven and Eleven, stash and dash, and stain you can’t explain
And slice and dice, and shake and bake, and surf and turf, and scowl and frown
And shop ‘til drop, and slim and trim, saggy and baggy, town and gown.

Son of a gun, and thrills and chills, and sine and cosine, twine and line   
And twirl and swirl, and use or lose it, weed and feed, and wine and dine.
Whale of a tale, wham bam and thank you, wary chary, wheel and deal
And wear and tear, and yeas and nays, and zoot suit, and religious zeal.

There’s likely umpteen others, but so far I can’t imagine them
They’d spread across the alphabet from a-ardvark to zymogen.


Alliterative Binomials, part #1
Alliterative Binomials, part #2
Reduplications - Lesson
Reduplications - Lexicon A to K
Reduplications - Lexicon M to Z
Rhyming Binomials, A to M
Rhyming Binomials, M to Z (see below)
Legal Doublets

(Click on any chord-chart slide to move to 'song-presentation mode'; then navigate through thumbnails at bottom of page.)


(to the tune of "I've Been Everywhere")

I was sitting at my desk with “The Joy of Lex” composing palindromes;
When along came a thought, where sometimes seems nobody’s home
If you’re gonna write some wordplay, go with what you understand
Cause you start off every morning, Jumble puzzle in your hand
There’s no doubt that I can go both ways in handling anagrams,
But first I’d need return a message, I was told that a ‘Sam’ rang.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

The parody of word-pairs: RHYMING BINOMIALS, A to M

POST #89
ORIGINAL SONG: "The Elements", Tom Lehrer, 1959.
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, July, 2015.

The inherent music of language is an important element in the toolkit of parodists. In a recent posting, I used Tom Lehrer’s format to sing a nonsense-song about irreversible binomials, focusing on examples where the 2 elements show alliteration e.g. 'hot and heavy' and ‘prim and proper’. The current offering highlights pairs in which the 2 elements rhyme, e.g. ‘age and stage’. Specific cases may border on cliché, but delight us with their musical quality. Sneak a peek!

Most binomial pairs are not rhyming

WARNING!  Do not attempt to sing this at the pace of a patter-song. The management of this blog will take no responsibility for any injuries sustained.

(word-pairs), A to M

(to the tune of Tom Lehr's "The Elements")

There’s age and stage, bug in a rug, out and about, and ants in pants
And agony and ecstasy, and amble ramble, ain’ts and shan’ts
  A rhyming binomial
There’s bows and arrows, brake and take, more bounce to ounce, and box and cox
Bird is the word, feathered not furred, and claws and paws, cock of the walk.

There’s chips and dip, and chalk and talk, and cruising for a brui-uising
Candy is dandy, liquor’s quicker – it’s your pick and choo-oosing.
And crime and grime, and croon a tune, crumpled and rumpled, (blushing groom)
Cat in the Hat, Dancer and Prancer, dream and scheme, and doom and gloom.

Dennis the Menace, dives and drive-ins, fair and square, and eyes on prize
Delicious and nutritious, flotsam jetsam, also Five Alive.
There’s gym and swim, and gap and lap, and grip or slip, Amazing Grace
And shades of Hades!  hurry  scurry, huff and puff, and haste makes waste.

The hostess with the mostest, hire and fire, and high and dry, haircare
Highway and byway, health- and wealthy, height and weight, and here and there.
By hook or crook, and grope and hope, and hulk and skulk, and hitch and snatch
Hasten and chasten, hustle bustle, hither thither, itch and scratch.

There’s kneel and squeal, and kitty litter, luck and pluck, and keen and mean
Loonie and toonie, life of strife, lock stock, muss fuss, and lean cuisine.  
The latest and the greatest, loot and booty, Mod Squad, lie and pry
Lotions and potions, ma-and-pa, musty and dusty, my and thy.

Burns’ ‘Louse’ and ‘Mouse’*, and Looney-Tunes, and old cartoons with Mick and Minn
Or Huey Dewey Louie, while the cat is OUT and mice are IN.  

There’s likely umpteen others, but so far I can’t imagine them
They’d spread across the alphabet from a-ardvark to zymogen.

*   Among Robert Burns many famous poems, "To A Louse" and "To A Mouse" figure prominently. 

Funny! - Rhyming money


Alliterative Binomials, part #1
Alliterative Binomials, part #2
Reduplications - Lesson
Reduplications - Lexicon A to K
Reduplications - Lexicon M to Z
Rhyming Binomials, A to M (see below)
Rhyming Binomials, M to Z
Legal Doublets


(Click on any chord-chart slide to move to 'song-presentation mode'; then navigate through thumbnails at bottom of page.)

I seem to be addicted to this "OS" (original song) as a vehicle for parodies. Try using the search function at the top of the page ("Lehrer" will get you there) to review the 3 previous submissions of this type.

You can also play/sing Tom Lehrer's original patter-song, The Elements,  by checking  ouCorktunes, the songbook of the Corktown Ukulele Jam here.  The chord-charts have the alternate-line superscript format that many ukers find preferable.
Lehrer had adapted the melody from "The Major General's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance". There are 3 somewhat different melodies/chord-sequences used in alteration through the GandS song, and in Lehrer's derived take-off. 

For more fun, proceed to the next blogpost "Rhyming Binomials, M to Z