Articulus (ar-tic’-u-lus): Roughly equivalent to “phrase” in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

What language is “ee-I-ee-I-oh?” I think it’s of French, Italian, Swedish, Icelandic, and possibly, Chinese origins. Millions of years ago people routinely hiked around the world. There were no impediments. For example, there were land bridges from Paulus Hook (Jersey City) to New Amsterdam. With the farmland more affordable in Paulus Hook, world-hikers flocked there. They raised sheep and developed a code for displaying ownership that was understood in all languages operative then in Paulus Hook. They would point at their flock and sing “ee-I-ee-I-oh.” Eventually, this phrase evolved into an autobiographical song that was more expansive and included farmers’ entire lives—from agriculture school graduation, to moving to a dell, to taking a wife, to starting a dairy, to a livestock inventory—from chickens to goats.

My family emigrated to New Amsterdam from The Netherlands in the 1600s. They wore painted and varnished wooden shoes and loved tulips. They covered their mouths when they yawned and did not speak when chewing gum. Way ahead of their time, my ancestors went dancing at the “Van Gogh-A-Go-Go.” They did “The Wood Shoe Clomp,” the “Licorice Twist” and the “ee-I-ee-I-oh.” It was a beautiful, lovely, amazing, wonderful time back then; until the British showed up and took New Amsterdam away from my ancestors and named it New York, after York, a city in England with a wall around it to keep the residents in—licking boots and being lapdogs.

The English outlawed everything and ridiculed our culture. They wouldn’t cover their mouths when they yawned—this would make children cry. And they would roll their chewing gum around their tongues when they talked, making women and some men sick to see. Because “ee-I-ee-I-oh” was not derived from English, they deemed it subversive and banned it, and jailed anybody who used it. However, as an act of resistance, when they recited their vowels my ancestors would say “a-e-I-e-I-o-u.” It became a sort of anthem that wasn’t detected by the English until the Anglophile traitor Daan DeJong, pretending to be drunk, revealed the secret. He was granted a manor in New Ark, New Jersey, displacing its Dutch occupants. He was killed one week later by canon fire directed at his privy.

History is complex. Language is complex. Culture is complex.


Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

Paper and Kindle versions of The Daily Trope are available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s