Ding Dong!

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 03 June 2020 > Webpicks

Have you ever wondered why the sound of bells in English is rendered by "ding dong"? "Zig zag" or "Kit Kat" or "ping pong" are more examples of the same linguistic phenomenon, called "ablaut reduplication". This short video explains the phenomenon, which isn't only prevalent in English, it is also present in French, German and Japanese.

In the video, from the BBC Reel series, lexicographer Susie Dent explains why it just isn't natural for English speakers to say "dally dilly", "flop flips", "chat chit" or "hop hip".