Ken Jennings

Message Boards

Seven catchy syllables...

The place to talk. "On topic"? "Off topic"? We make no such petty distinctions here.

Seven catchy syllables...

Postby skullturfq » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:14 am

I'm seeking seven catchy syllables...

Like many other people, my fiancee is quite taken with Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical "Hamilton".

Even if you haven't been seeking it out, you may have heard some of the songs, including the opening number, which is called "Alexander Hamilton".

We were amusing ourselves by trying to come up with examples of reasonably common seven-syllable expressions that have the same pattern of emphasis as "Alexander Hamilton", meaning that they can be sung to the same tune.

Some examples that, like "Alexander Hamilton", consist of one four-syllable word followed by one three-syllable word:

"Photographic memory"
"Alcoholic beverage"
"Pennsylvania Avenue"

Note that "Connecticut Avenue" doesn't work: "Connecticut" is four syllables, but the emphasis is wrong.

If you want the same pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, but are more flexible about the breaks between words:

"Bucharest, Romania"
"Jefferson Memorial"
"Battlestar Galactica"
"Lawrence of Arabia"
"Romeo and Juliet"
"Devil with a blue dress on"

Perhaps having too many short words makes it easier.

Any other fun examples?
Posts: 3969
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:05 pm
Location: Miami

Re: Seven catchy syllables...

Postby Bill » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:59 am

I haven't seen Hamilton yet, but some of the bits I've heard are brilliant.

What we're looking at here is a line of iambic tetrameter with the first syllable omitted.

So, if we take something that was written in iambic tetrameter and delete the first syllable of each line, we could fit your meter.

Would not eat them in a house.
Would not eat them with a mouse.
Would not eat them here or there.
Would not eat them anywhere.
Do not like Green Eggs & Ham.
Will not eat them, Sam-I-Am!

Your example of "Romeo and Juliet," then, would seem to be straightforwardly obvious, as Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter. However, in Shakespeare's time, both "Romeo" and "Juliet" would have been pronounced with two syllables. Think "Rom-yo" and "Jul-yet," each with the stress on the second syllable. So, "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" can actually scan as iambic pentameter.

Your example still holds up though, because we don't pronounce the names Romeo and Juliet as iambic today. Everyone's a cretic.

Sometimes an English poet would throw in an extra foot at the end of a stanza. This line of iambic hexameter was known as - I kid you not - an alexandrine.
Posts: 1930
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:32 am
Location: New York City

Re: Seven catchy syllables...

Postby marpocky » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:47 am

Happy anniversary
Merry Christmas, everyone
Harvard/Stanford/Temple/Bovine/(etc.) University
Minnesota Timberwolves
Arizona Cardinals/Diamondbacks
Bandar Seri Begawan (not sure about the stress on this one, but I think it works)
Wollongong, Austra*li*a
Abelard and Heloise
Coming to America
(For)get it Jake, it's Chinatown
British Beatlemania (or a number of lines from that song, I guess)
Batman vs Superman
Absolutely Fabulous
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Peanut butter jelly time
Modern Major General
Syndicated TV show
Motorcycle Diaries
Posts: 1623
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:39 pm
Location: Suzhou, China

Re: Seven catchy syllables...

Postby Ken Jennings » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:58 am

If this were a double dactyl poem, one of these per stanza would have to be a single word.

Like, uh, "deuterocanonical." Or "paleoconservative." Or " artificiality."
Ken Jennings
Site Admin
Posts: 4557
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:43 am

Re: Seven catchy syllables...

Postby Dobie » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:38 am


There, now that I got that out of the way, what was the question?

Double dactyl poetry
Link to wikipedia
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:36 pm

Re: Seven catchy syllables...

Postby Bill » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:49 pm


How does a real estate tycoon, a blustering buffoon,
A Richie Rich cartoon with a silver spoon,
With no initiation, political education,
Or policy information win a major party nomination?

A rent discriminator, a groper and a hater,
So bad, but just had to make America greater.
A race-baiter, a woman rater.
If Ivanka weren't his daughter, he said he'd date her.

The Republican primary had too many cooks,
He kept slamming opponents with hooks,
By calling them crooks or dissing their looks,
Until he was the only one alone on the books.

And now the racist, he faces a Secretary he can't shame, ma'am.
A weighty First Lady who makes him look shady like a caveman.
But he'll raise the base to implement his game plan
In a private plane that blazes his name. What's your name, man?

Donald Trump for President.
Go vote for Donald Trump for President.
And I will be the White House resident.
Just you wait. Just you wait.
Posts: 1930
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:32 am
Location: New York City

Re: Seven catchy syllables...

Postby Dobie » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:30 am

Catching seven silly bulls
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:36 pm

Return to Main Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests