Rhymes with "orange"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon May 1 16:07:03 UTC 2006

On May 1, 2006, at 8:36 AM, John Baker wrote:

>         For orange, at least, there's a classic nursery rhyme:
> What is the rhyme for porringer?
> What is the rhyme for porringer?
> The king he had a daughter fair
> And gave the Prince of Orange her.

> ....        In addition to orange and silver, purple is a third
> color that
> is traditionally considered unrhymable, but Louis Sachar came up with
> this clever rhyme in Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger:
> The baby won't stop crying.
> His face is turning purple.
> Will anything make him feel better?
> I bet a burp'll.

more instances of needing to be clear about the rules of the game.
the last lines of both verses are unacceptable for most modern
english speakers, though they have substructures that are fine in
other versions or in other contexts.

the first has a double-object construction (with the first object
referring to the recipient of the transfer, the second to the thing
transferred).  the construction is famous for being unacceptable when
the first object is nonpronominal and the second is a personal
pronoun, as in the verse.  "and gave the Prince of Orange his
daughter" is fine, though.

the second has Auxiliary Reduction (here, "contraction" of "will") in
a Verb Phrase Ellipsis context, the most famous context that
disallows AR for most people.  "i bet a burp'll help", is fine, though.

this is entertaining play, but not quite fair.


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