There there

Posted by R. Berg on May 27, 2007

In Reply to: There there posted by ESC on May 27, 2007

: : Where does the saying 'there there' come from, like what you say to someone when they are sad?

: Previous discussion at:
: bulletin_board 29 messages 874.html

: Anyone have something to add to the above?

The previous discussion at the link doesn't really answer the poster's question. Maybe no one knows why "There, there" is used in comforting. If I had to guess, I'd say the th- sound might be calming. It sounds soft, like a cushion. (Do speakers of languages with harsher consonants say the equivalent of "There, there"?) And the meaning of the word may ground comfortees by emphasizing their location in their bodies. ~rb