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Song Parodies -> "The Elements of Etymology"

Original Song Title:

"The Elements"

Original Performer:

Tom Lehrer

Parody Song Title:

"The Elements of Etymology"

Parody Written by:

Giorgio Coniglio's Grandson

The Lyrics

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 Ento-mology
In citing “Shorter Oxford” I need offer no apology
Its elements of evidence exceed those of phrenology.

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 concept’s 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’d think we'd need earfuls of words 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 wishes 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"
The statement for the shipment says this segment boasts 10 words or less
Just settle-, seg- and sedi-, senti-, sacra-ment; that's all, God bless
The cause of this disparity? I hate to even take a guess.

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Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 2.2
How Funny: 2.2
Overall Rating: 2.2

Total Votes: 16

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   8
 2   3
 3   1
 4   1
 5   3

User Comments

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Factor this - August 25, 2015 - Report this comment
Another laborous, long winded, extended, uninteresting collection of useless information in a package of yawn inspiring terminology that no doubt had GCG overwhelmed with emotion as he mentally masturbated in the box once again. In a word- lackadaisical.
Jim - August 25, 2015 - Report this comment
Wow, a dictionary under letter E as a parody!
Big Äl - August 26, 2015 - Report this comment
Hey, kid, you're a hard working scholar, unlike my oldest grandson who's addicted to video games and an accursed device in the palm of his hand. I hope your Grandpa is singing these Elements parodies to an audience, accompanying himself on uke. If he can do it without breaking a crown on his second molar, I'll go to another computer and give you a second set of 5s.
GC'sG - August 26, 2015 - Report this comment
@BigAl; thanks for your interest. Grandpa started the week by performing "The Reduplications" (blog version) at his ukejam; he did "the lesson" part in singalong style, showed the group the first verse of "the lexicon", but left performing it for another day. Similarly, when the present spoof's turn comes, the singable supplement will likely be left unstrummed. BTW, the gefilte-fish line in the R-Lesson got a lot of laughs.
Al-Schmal - August 27, 2015 - Report this comment
I never ate gefilte-fish. Too fancy-shmancy for my choosy-shmoozy palate. This is for the language connoisseur to answer: Am I a shmuck or a schmuck? My spellcheck informs me it's the latter. Therefore, "schmancy" and "schmoozy," and that's no bullschit.
Walton-Schmalton - August 27, 2015 - Report this comment
This is the time of the year when the gefilte are plentiful in the rivers and streams near my shtetl. You may have seen jars of gefilte swimming upstream to mate. They are caught not be a hook, but by a plastic loop. Throw them back if they can be seen only by using a loupe.
GC'sG - August 27, 2015 - Report this comment
@Al-Schmal; You seem to be a schm-scholar, perhaps affiliated with a schminstitute. Should I discount your remarks by saying "bullschit-schmullschit" or "bullschit-bullschmit"? Good luck with your insolent shpellchecker.
Schmeckle - August 27, 2015 - Report this comment
Your Great Grandmother should have had a Schmschmortion (quoting Knocked Up Jonah).
GC'sG - August 27, 2015 - Report this comment
Gentlemen: Enough dissension, already. Schmeckle (and indeed UR1), why don't you honor us with a song?
Gregory - August 27, 2015 - Report this comment
If you are so popular, why just three five votes?
Al-Schmal - August 28, 2015 - Report this comment
I had gone to your blog again to see what was funny about "gefilte-fish." Embedded with this word were examples of Yiddish sh- tack-ons. I have often noted the randomness with which either sh- or sch- are used and I asked you, in good faith, to comment on this. I am not a scholar and I'm not affiliated with a think tank, if that's what you mean by "institute." I'm just trying to have a little fun, but this is the wrong environment. Adieu, mon ami.
GC'sG - August 28, 2015 - Report this comment
@Al(Schmal); Here's what I could figure out. The use of 'sh' instead of 's' before other consonants, usually at the start of words is found in some urban American accents, e.g. Philadelphia - Fift Shtreet, conshtruction, but Italian immigrants might have used it firsht, as a carry-over from shpeaking Neapolitan dialects. The NY-centered reduplications are listed by Wiki as SHM-, with schm- as a variant. My Oxford dictionary does it the other way, like your spellchecker. It's a schizophrenic world. But, what do I know? Up here in Canada, language variants are found less frequently.
GC'sG - August 29, 2015 - Report this comment
@Walton; Thanks for your insights into the natural world. And your fishing tips - no wonder I sometimes have trouble in my local deli! @Gregory; You have incorrectly assumed that the voting is related to popularity. The All-1s majority who rate my efforts have concluded that they contain no shred of pacing or humor, and I abide by their esteemed judgment. I will try again.

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