The Phonosemantics of Nasal-Stop Clusters

The Phonosemantics of Nasal-Stop Clusters by Ralph Emerson
The humorousness of nasal-stops also makes them one of the secrets of nonsense poets. Dr. Seuss’s books have dozens of nasal-stop coinages, from the Grinch to the Rink-Rinker-Fink. The flora and fauna in Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” include a “Tumtum tree” and a “frumious Bandersnatch.” Edward Lear’s little Jumblies set sail for “the hills of the Chankly Bore” with “forty bottles of ring-bo-ree.” And Spike Milligan writes of a very “noisy place to belong” called the “Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!”
[This article about the symbolism of nasal-stop clusters (the sounds MB, MP; ND, NT; NG, NK) also mentions The Jumblies, but � while doing much of ‘ding’s and ‘dong’s � incredibly does not refer to The Dong With a Luminous Nose!]
Iconicity in Language (9/9/2001)

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