Leerie speak

My favorite part of “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is when Mary Poppins slips into “leerie speak”. The rhythm is soothing, and realistically, it’s probably the closest thing to rapping Emily Blunt is ever going to do.

However, I’ve been thinking about it recently, and something doesn’t quite add up. When he’s explaining “leerie speak” to the children, Jack says

Kick and prance – it means “dance”

It’s Leerie speak. You don’t say the word you mean

mean; you say something that rhymes only –

Here, I’ll show you how it works. Angus …

Give us your weep and wail

To the rest of ya, that means: “tale”

Leerie speak uses words to mean other words in the same language. How does one Leerie know what another is talking about? From the little information in the movie, it seems like you’d always need a translator.

I know it’s a movie, so it doesn’t really need to make sense, but that’s the language nerd in me rearing its head.