Helter Skelter and ñugl ñagl: English and Kalam rhyming jingles and the psychic unity of mankind

Statement of Responsibility:
Pawley, Andrew
Authors:
Series:
Series Issue:
19
Date:
2010
Publisher:
SIL International
Publisher Place:
[Dallas]
Part Of Series:
SIL e-Books 19
Extent:
pages 273-293
Abstract:

Kalam, a Trans New Guinea (TNG) language of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, has at least 60 “rhyming jingles,” expressions similar to English higgledy piggledy and dilly dally. A rhyming jingle consists of two phonological words, the base and the rhyme, which differ in the form of first syllable, and together form a single grammatical word. Kalam rhyming jingles fall into several phonological types, chiefly those where, in the rhyme, (1) only the first consonant changes, e.g., gadal badal, jnow bnow, slom dlom, (2) only the first vowel changes, e.g., gtiŋ gtoŋ, ñugl ñagl, nugsum nagsum, and (3) the first CV changes, e.g., gogeb mageb, kosi masi, ñugog pagog. Such expressions are widespread among TNG languages as well as occurring in many other languages around the world. After examining the phonology, semantics and grammar of the Kalam expressions, I will try to place them in comparative perspective, asking what the occurrence of such similar patterns in unrelated languages tells us about the psychic unity of Mankind?

Publication Status:
Published
Country:
Papua New Guinea
Subject Languages:
Content Language:
Field:
Work Type:
Subject:
Universals
Phonology
Comparison
Nature of Work:
Relation Text:
A Mosaic of languages and cultures: studies celebrating the career of Karl J. Franklin, Kenneth A. McElhanon and Ger Reesink
Entry Number:
9282
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