Hello all, I am back from vacation, but rather than get right back into programming language design, let's have some fun for a Friday.
Most of you are probably familiar with iambic pentameter, which is the poetic meter that Shakespeare wrote in: most lines in Shakespeare are ten syllables, divided up into five iambic feet. Each foot has an unstressed syllable at the beginning and a stressed syllable at the end. As Hamlet says:
O, THAT this TOO too SOlid FLESH would MELT Thaw AND reSOLVE itSELF inTO a DEW!
Very serious, iambs. By contrast, the trochee, in which the stress comes on the first syllable, is hilarious. All you have to do to make internet comedy gold is put two or more trochees together. Try it!
NINja DOCtor VERsus BAcon PIrate DILbert RObot UNder ANgry CHIcken
You could easily write an automated movie elevator pitch generator that was all trochees, and likely get results no worse than the last few years of Hollywood movies.
Harder to work with than the trochee is the dactyl, or, more specifically, the double dactyl. A dactyl is a poetic foot with three syllables, the first one stressed. A double dactyl is either simply two dactyls, or a poem in the following double-dactyl-heavy form:
DUM dum dum DUM dum dum -- nonsense DUM dum dum DUM dum dum -- person's name DUM dum dum DUM dum dum -- description of person DUM dum dum DUM. -- rhymes with line 8, ends sentence. DUM dum dum DUM dum dum -- second section comments further DUM dum dum DUM dum dum -- one of lines 5, 6 or 7 is a single word DUM dum dum DUM dum dum -- DUM dum dum DUM. -- rhymes with line 4
The two hardest parts of the double dactyl are coming up with a person's name and coming up with a single six syllable word. 1
For example, here's one I wrote which is a very short summary and critique of a Kurt Vonnegut short story.
Higgledy-piggledy Harrison Bergeron Became the Emperor And then was shot. Vonnegut wasn’t an Egalitarian. Satiric tone makes for Unlikely plot.
I've started compiling a list of the double-dactyl six syllable words by reading the Scrabble tournament word list. Of the first five thousand words in the list I've found eighteen double dactyls. There are 178 thousand words in the list, so I've got a ways to go yet. So far:
abecedarian abiogenesis abiological accessibility acetaminophen addressability admirability aerodynamical aerodynamicist albuminuria allergenicity alphanumerical alterability ambassadorial ambidexterity amiability amicability amphitheatrical
My challenge to you is: write a double dactyl on the subject of Benedict Cumberbatch, and leave it in the comments. Any additions to my list of double dactyl words would also be appreciated.
- Serious double dactyl enthusiasts go further and require each double dactyl to have a unique six syllable word, but that seems a bit too hard core for me. ↩