Chic-ory Chic

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 79
Occupation: Retired, Former Jeweler
Residence: Kelseyville, California
Date of Performance/Collection: May 1, 2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background:

My informant, who is my grandmother, learned this nonsense rhyme from her mother, who used it as a lullaby when she was a young girl. She has since passed it on to her children and grandchildren, remembering it as a source of nostalgia and for the satisfaction of its recitation. I also remember that my mother sang it to me when I was younger!

Context:

My grandma sings this tune quite often in times of relaxation when joking around is warranted. Specifically, I remember her using it as a lullaby for my cousins and me when we were growing up. I also remember that my mother sang it to me when I was younger!

Main Piece:

“Chic-ory chic chala chala,

Checkoleroma in a bananica,

Balacawalaka can’t you see?

Chic-ory chic is me!”

Analysis:

I think this nursery rhyme has been passed on because of its short length and rhythmic structure, which both work to make it easier to memorize. While it might not have any significant meaning, there is something to be said about the fact that nonsense rhymes like this one can exist and persist over time simply because they’re satisfying to the ear. In the text of the rhyme, alliteration, consonance, internal rhyme, and end rhyme can be recognized. By jamming all of these writing strategies into such a short piece of speech, it is made into something quite nice to hear.

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