Reduplicatives

To navigate through the world, we give the physical things around us names. Sometimes the sound of the words themselves delights the ear; and for commentator Brian McConnachie, that's enough of a reason to marvel.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Commentator Brian McConnachie has been delighting in the way some words sound.

BRIAN McCONNACHIE:

Stuck in a traffic jam, I noticed people don't call each other nincompoops anymore. And considering what we do call each other, nincompoop sounded pretty elegant. Then I sort of tumbled down a rabbit hole of rhythmic sounds I hadn't heard in a while, like fuddy-duddy, dillydally, Piggly Wiggly, wallah wallah, wickywacky, funny bunny, howdy doody, "Hokey Pokey," whoopsie daisy, loosey-goosey, Lackawanna, mamma mia, higgledy-piggledy, willy-nilly, bula bula, Tricky Dicky, ticky-tacky, Betsy Wetsy, Cancun, Lorna Doon, hubba-hubba, lucky ducky, Santa Ana, Ouagadougou, candelabra, hacky sacky, knickknack, Silly Billy, Wagga Wagga, tutti-frutti, cruncha cruncha, Benihana, chunky monkey, hully gully, "Hokey Pokey," Honolulu, Steady Eddie, ipso facto, hunky-dory, Polly wolly, Harry Carey, ipse dixit, Shuga Wuga, Luca Brasi--Luca Brasi?

Roly-poly, acetabula, Halle Berry, motor scooter, Handy Andy, golden oldie, Lille Langtry, calla lily, Nagasaki, freaky deaky, Catalina, Kitty Kelley, holy moly, Lana Turner, Ling-Ling, Scooby Dooby, Tamiami, Willy Wonka, Andy Panda, kumquat, kowtow, couscous, Corpus Christi, Fannie Farmer, oogabogga, helter skelter, teeter-totter, Peterborough, Pango Pango, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Weehawken, topsy-turvy, cuckoo clock and, again, nincompoop. Thank you, and bye-bye.

(Soundbite of "Mamma Mia")

ABBA: (Singing) Mamma mia, here I go again. My, my, how can I resist...

NORRIS: Brian McConnachie lives in New York, New York.

(Soundbite of "Mamma Mia")

ABBA: (Singing) Mamma mia, does it show again, my, my, just how much I missed you? Yes, I've been brokenhearted, ooh, since the day we started.

ROBERT SIEGEL (Host): This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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