In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Leonard asked his girlfriend, “Why would you buy peppermint schnapps?” Penny’s response was, “Because I like peppermint, and it’s fun to say schnapps!” I will be honest; I cannot watch that episode without repeating “schnapps” a couple of times. The question is why is schnapps a fun word to say?
Author Roy Blount Jr. argues, “All language, at some level, is body language.” Your lips and mouth form the words with the help of air exhaled from your lungs. He also said, at a Chicago Humanities Festival, “The sonic value of language needs to be appreciated.”
Now some enjoy words for their entomology or meaning. Cacophony can be a cumbersome word to say and it just so happens to mean discord. Onomatopoeia is a fun word to say, but ironically, it does not sound like what it is. Then you have words like bumbershoot, which are portmanteaus: a blend of parts of multiple words, or their phones (sounds), and their meanings combined into a new word, in this case, umbrella and parachute. A humorous synonym for portmanteau words is frankenword, which is an example of the very phenomenon it describes.
Then you have words that sound as if you may be saying something you oughtn’t, like assassin or Bolshevik. There is a child in all of us, so don’t feel bad if you mentally giggle at the sound of these words.
The structure of the word, with its formation can be pleasing to say. Just like schnapps (see, I said it again), shenanigans is also enjoyable. I also like gazpacho, Nicaragua, and quadrant. It seems that the glottal stops, tongue rolls, and lip-smacks are like a workout for my mouth and I get a runner’s high. Just watch out for those tongue twisters or you may hurt yourself.
Whether the words be chewy or juicy, feast on the language that we speak; it is a smorgasbord of sounds. If you have some favorite words, feel free to comment with what they are and why you enjoy them.