Usually the speaker intends something like "and similar"

I have seen this usage in several languages, e.g. Turkish, Slovakian, Russian, Polish. But i have not heard it in English, German or French

Examples can be found e.g. in Restaurant names like: Pizza Mizza. pasta masta. Sushi Mushi Kebap Mebap (or Döner Möner)

What is this concept called, and where does it originate?

  • In Hindi it is 'va'...Pasta vasta. Hey wait there are attested usages of 'sh' also...but never both with the same word...do you have examples of this in Sanskrit? – ARi Dec 12 '15 at 14:15

I think it's a type of reduplication. As noted above, English has a similar process, replacing the first onset with schm-. A language that has this in spades is Thai, with several types of reduplication with internal changes (usually to the vowel).


In English, we use "shm-". See The phonology of shm-reduplication

  • 5
    English shminglish! That reduplication type came out of Yiddish. – dwoz Dec 9 '15 at 20:58
  • 1
    @dwoz. Indeed. And it is really only common in East-Coast US English. – fdb Dec 9 '15 at 21:14
  • Paper title in the link: "Metalinguistic shmetalinguistic: The phonology of shm-reduplication." Linguistics papers have the goofiest titles. – user11054 Dec 10 '15 at 2:37
  • 1
    Perhaps this answer can be rephrased so that it more clearly answers the question: "What is this concept called, and where does it originate?" – justhalf Dec 10 '15 at 5:19

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