^_^Please native speakers of English help me with "Bells on bobtail ring"^_^?

Bells on bobtail ring----(1)

Making spirits bright

What fun it is to ride and sing

A sleighing song tonight----(2)


(1) As we know, "bobtail" can mean "a short tail" or "a bobtail horse or a bobtail dog". In this case, what does the "bobtail" in this line actually refer to? A tail or a horse?

(2) As we know, a noun sometimes can also be an adjective, say, "table lamp". Then why is it "sleighing song" rather than "sleigh song"?

(3) a sleighing song = a song you sing when you go sleighing?

Please explain in details!

Thank you very much in advance^_^

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all, don't take songs too literally, especially Christmas Carols! Often, the words are played to fit the rhythm rather than to make sense :)

    The bob-tail line is open to interpretation, but historically horses tails were bobbed and they wore bells on their collar, the horses pulled the sleigh, and so on and so on. To me this line means the horse pulling the sleigh has a bobbed tail and is wearing bells, which is what traditionally would have happened.

    As for the 'sleighing song' - yes, it could be a song you sing while sleighing or one about sleighing. Sleighing is the verb, but in this case is used as an adjective to describe the noun 'song' and change the meaning of the sentence i.e. sleighing is what you are doing, the sleigh what you do it on. Sleigh song means something else entirely:

    Sleighing song = a song about sleighing

    Sleigh song = a song about a sleigh

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The song is "Jingle Bells". The first verse is about riding in a one-horse sleigh, and the horse is wearing bells. They always put bells on horses in the wintertime, in the nineteenth century, so people could hear the horses coming, because there was snow on the ground which muffled the sound of the horses's hooves, and there were no wheels hitting dry pavement. This was a safety device, much like a horn on a car, today.

    So, a bobtail, refers to the bobtailed horse, the one horse, pulling the sleigh in the song, has a bobbed (cut short) tail, as you have figured out. Not a dog. Dogs don't pull sleighs in ordinary situations. (sleds in Alaska, but not big sleighs in the rest of the world - and I don't think they ever bobbed the tails on Huskies, anyway).

    a sleighing song is the song you are singing while riding in a sleigh...or about such times, like, for instance. "JINGLE BELLS", we are referring to the song that we are singing...right in the song we are singing...

    a sleigh song wouldn't work...just wouldn't...it isn't about "sleighing", (the act of driving around town in a sleigh, which is what is going on in the song) nor does it fit the music.

    BTW the jingling bells are a happy, bright sound, which is what the second line of the verse is referring to...how that happy sound makes people happy.

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  • 1 decade ago

    1) The horse itself has a short tail or a bobtail. The song is referring to the horse's short tail.

    2) Ok, this is kind of tricky. In English, the past participle often becomes a gerund (a noun). ex. Swimming/fighting/running/diving is fun. In many cases the gerund form can be used as an adjective, just like the regular noun. So in what cases would it make sense to use the gerund as an adjective instead of the regular noun?

    3) You guessed it!

    a sleighing song = a song you sing when you go sleighing

    a working song = a song you sing when you are working

    running speed = the speed measured while you are running

    walking distance = the distance meausred when someone is walking

    sometimes both uses make sense...

    swimsuit OR swimming suit

    (you use the suit when swimming or you use it to swim)

    somtimes only one makes sense:

    rain jacket (raining jacket makes no sense), running / walking / jogging distance (run distance makes no sense), smoking pipe, race track.

    confused yet?

    race track > horse racing track

    I hope this helps.

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  • 6 years ago

    It is true that they would "bobtail" a horses tail, however the correct answer is this:

    Bells on "Bobtail" ring, making spirits bright.

    "Bobtail" is the name of the horse.

    (This answer was taken out of a Christmas Trivia book)

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  • 1 decade ago

    1-a horse because bells dont have tails.In wikipedia it says that bobtail refers to animals.

    2-beacuse sleighing here means a very peaceful, bright, cheerful, flowing song. No one is on a sleigh.

    3-sleighing here means a very peaceful, bright, cheerful, flowing song.

    hope that helps!

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  • 1 decade ago
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