Thursday, October 02, 2008

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt is a traditional children's song of obscure origin. Its lyrics are:

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too.
Whenever we go out
The people always shout,
"There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt."
da, da, da, da, da, da, da
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too... (repeat ad infinitum)
The song is commonly sung by young children at communal outings such as long bus rides and Boy Scout or Girl Scout outings. It's also a classic informal parade song in Pennsylvania.[citation needed]

The mock German name celebrated in the song suggests that some English speakers still find longer northern-European names to be inherently funny words; compare the Blinkenlights faxlore in which English words are deformed to form a pseudo-German warning text. The surname Schmidt and the surname suffix -heimer are of Germanic origin. Schmidt is one of the most common last names in German heritage.

Part of the appeal of the song seems to be its infinite loop, presenting the opportunity to turn a potentially intolerably long wait into an informal psychological experiment with the idea of infinitude and the infinite-loop motif. Compare "The Song That Never Ends", "My Name is Jan Jansen" and "High Hopes".

Each repetition is sung more quietly than the previous, except for the final line which is sung at full volume. The "last" repetition is sung in pantomime; typically the final line is then shouted as loud as possible.

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