When Nonsense Syllables Make Perfect Sense

Take, for instance, the word tararam, meaningwhat else?—“fuss” or “hullabaloo.”

Louis Armstrong and Danny Kaye making a tararam in The Five Pennies, 1959. PARAMOUNT PICTURES and A.F. ARCHIVE.

Louis Armstrong and Danny Kaye making a tararam in The Five Pennies, 1959. PARAMOUNT PICTURES and A.F. ARCHIVE.

Observation
March 20 2019
About the author

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.


The American Jewish sociologist Jerome Chanes has sent me a recent article of his that begins with the sentence, “There is an increased tararam—in some cases bordering on hysteria—surrounding anti-Semitism.” And he adds this note:

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More about: Arts & Culture, Hebrew