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. 


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