Ask Me Another
11:12 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Submit It In Reduplicate

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 8:42 am

Did you know Ke$ha's song "Tik Tok" demonstrates a linguistic oddity? And we're not talking about her spelling. "Reduplicated" words contain repeated syllables, but with different vowel sounds. Puzzle guru Art Chung leads contestants in a game full of reduplicated word pairs, so quit your "chit-chat" and listen in!

Plus, guest music duo Paul & Storm play an extra-special cover of "Splish-Splash."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's welcome our next two brave contestants: Matt Strefani and Leah Gibbs-Gore to our ASK ME ANOTHER stage.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Matt, I understand you're a graphic designer, illustrator.

MATT STEFANI: I recently made a sculpture of a blanket out of garbage, apartment garbage. So that's probably the thing I'm most proud of right now.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And you've turned a Scrabble Slam into a drinking game. Now what is a Scrabble Slam? I don't know what that is.

STEFANI: Well, a Scrabble Slam is a card variation of the Scrabble game. You get four or five people and you lay down a - you make a word. They're cards with letters on the front and back and...

EISENBERG: This is like the most complicated drinking game.

(LAUGHTER)

STEFANI: It's really complicated. It gets harder the more you drink.

EISENBERG: I guess so. Welcome, Leah.

LEAH GIBBS-GORE: Hey, Ophira.

EISENBERG: You have already won some word contestant, a spelling bee when you were a kid. How old were you?

GIBBS-GORE: I didn't win it. When I was in sixth grade, and we lived in Colorado, I actually went to the Colorado State Spelling Bee.

EISENBERG: Oh, nice.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And how did it go?

GIBBS-GORE: I didn't make it past the first round.

EISENBERG: Okay.

(LAUGHTER)

GIBBS-GORE: But I made it there.

EISENBERG: That's right, you showed up, which is very important, Leah.

GIBBS-GORE: Right.

EISENBERG: Well, I'm going to hand this game over to our puzzle guru Art Chung, because the title of the game doesn't actually even make sense to me. Submit it in reduplicate. Please explain, Art.

ART CHUNG: Well, sure, Ophira. Reduplicated words contain syllables that are repeated, sometimes with a slight change, such as in the word flip-flop or chitchat. In this game, all of the answers are reduplicated sounds where the only change between the double parts is the vowel. So for example, if I said it's a jumble or hodgepodge of things, you would say mishmash.

EISENBERG: Of course, I would.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Who doesn't like to say mishmash?

EISENBERG: I love mishmash, one of my favorites.

CHUNG: Matt and Leah, ring in when you know the reduplicated words. It's the pleasant sound of tiny little baby feet.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt?

STEFANI: Pitter-patter.

CHUNG: Pitter-patter, correct.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: It's a tchotchke you might find yourself buying at a flea market.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt again.

STEFANI: A doodad.

CHUNG: No.

STEFANI: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That is awesome.

STEFANI: It should be.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Leah?

GIBBS-GORE: A knickknack.

CHUNG: Knickknack, correct.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Your next clue: we don't mingle with these disreputable people, who you might call the rabble.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt?

STEFANI: Riffraff.

CHUNG: Riffraff, correct.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Close game here. It's a series of sharp turns in opposite directions.

EISENBERG: You stumped them.

CHUNG: Your clue is I did this when everyone else did that.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt?

STEFANI: Oh, boy.

(LAUGHTER)

STEFANI: Let me just stall for a second. Swiv-swerve.

EISENBERG: Swiv-serve.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Swiv-swerves.

CHUNG: That sounds like a word. Does that sound like a word? No. Leah, do you have any guess?

GIBBS-GORE: No.

CHUNG: Should we throw it out there?

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIENCE YELLING)

CHUNG: Zigzag.

EISENBERG: Zigzag.

CHUNG: To mark with intersecting lines or a pair of kid rappers from the 90s who wore their clothes backwards.

(LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Leah?

GIBBS-GORE: Crisscross.

CHUNG: Crisscross.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Okay, this word means to loiter or delay.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Leah?

GIBBS-GORE: Dillydally.

CHUNG: Dillydally, correct.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Once known as wiff-waff, it's been an Olympic sport since 1988.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt?

STEFANI: Ping pong.

CHUNG: Ping-Pong.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: Mr. T wants you to cut this meaningless talk.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt?

STEFANI: Jibber-jabber.

CHUNG: Your jibber-jabber.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: With delivery.

CHUNG: This arcade game from the 80s requires you to inflate underground monsters with an air pump until they explode.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Matt again.

STEFANI: Dig Dug.

CHUNG: Dig Dug, correct.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Never played that game. And now that I've heard the description, ridiculous.

(LAUGHTER)

STEFANI: It was before your time.

EISENBERG: Hey, watch it. I mean thanks. What? I'm confused.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I'm so used to being insulted. Did you see what happened there?

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Here we go. DJ Kool Herc is considered one of the founders of this music genre.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHUNG: Leah?

GIBBS-GORE: Hip-hop.

CHUNG: Hip-hop.

(APPLAUSE)

CHUNG: It was a close game, but Matt, you are our winner.

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Matt.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You'll be moving on to our final showdown at the end of the show. Leah, a huge hand for Leah for being a wonderful contestant.

Hi, Paul.

PAUL: Hello, Ophira.

EISENBERG: Hi, Storm.

STORM: Hi, Ophira.

EISENBERG: How would you guys like to play us a tune?

STORM: We were hoping you would ask.

EISENBERG: What do you have in mind?

PAUL: We thought we'd be in keeping with the theme of this last game we just played.

EISENBERG: All right, I'm intrigued.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

PAUL AND STORM: Splish splash, I was taking a bath, long about a Saturday night. Rub-a-dub, just relaxing in the tub, thinking everything was all right. Well, I stepped out the tub, put my feet on the floor, wrapped the towel around me and I opened the door. And then, splish splash, I jumped back in the bath. How does...

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: It's just so exciting. I can't wait to see how the story ends.

STORM: Yeah, I don't know.

PAUL: I'll tell you how it ends.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: I'll tell you right now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

STORM: There was a splishing and a splashing, reeling with the feeling, moving and grooving, rocking and a rolling, zigging and a zagging, knicking and a knacking, hipping and a hopping, jibbering and a jabbing, digging and a dugging, whoo, splish splash.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Paul and Storm. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.