11/01/17 Grammelot: The Art of Speaking Nonsense

Firstly the main purpose of this lesson was to research a more detailed Commedia dell’ Arte. Then create a ‘Grammelot’ scene in pairs.

Today we visited Commedia dell’ Arte, it is an Italian theatrical form, which toured around Europe from the 16th through to the 18th century. Touring caused a language problem! This meant they had to adapt to the language barrier, this was when ‘Grammelot’, also known as nonsense language was introduced. Any voice, language or accent can be portrayed and it doesn’t even matter if it cant be understood. It could just be people on stage making silly noises, the audience will still understand what they are taking about, as long as the pitch and actions make sense to the emotion or thought…. I think that’s the best I can explain it without actually listing some examples which I will do below.

I am now able to give name to the way people speak to babies and other nonsense language.

Baby language: Babies wouldn’t understand a detailed conversation between adults, they would probably be scared if adults spoke to the same way they speak to peers. So instead we make as many random noises, for example when trying to make a baby eat you might make silly noises to indicate what you want them to do. They will understand and most probably giggle! This is an example of ‘Grammelot’.

Television: CBeebies has a lot of characters that use ‘Grammelot’ nonsense language as a way of communication. One I use to watch was the Teletubbies, we all understand what they are doing on there adventures and that hover. Even the sun in the teletubbies makes funny noises to indicate it is happy. Another Pinghu and Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men. All these characters are perfect examples!

An example Lynn gave us and told us to watch in class was Rowley Birkin speaking on ‘Fast Car’. This funny guy makes no sense but the adults watching find it hilarious because they understand what he is talking about…….

We then had a go trying this for ourselves. Watch the videos below the class demonstrating things… Instructions. You will understand don’t worry, maybe you might learn something.

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