I'm here to comfort you. There there.

It was a Simpsons scene, with Rev. Lovejoy and Bart, but they didn’t originate it of course. Of all words in the English language, what makes "there there "supposedly comforting words?

Hmm. I provided a cite the last time this was asked here, and I can’t find anything more recent that’s better.

It’s not so much the words as their rythm and the acompanying gestures. People don’t say “there, there” when trying to calm someone over the phone; they do it while patting that someone. The same rythms and gestures are used in Spanish with completely unrelated words. The words have become literary shorthand for the whole thing.

What are the words?

Is it venga, venga?

Venga, venga; vamos, vamos; calma, calma; vale, vale; dale, dale… in any case the rythm is TAta TAta, it probably has a name in Greek but I don’t know it.

And there are certainly plenty of folks who find ta’ ta’s comforting…

Trochaic dimeter, commonly doubled as quatrameter.

Wiki gives two samples pretty uncalming: Double, double toil and trouble; Dies Irae, Dies Illa (Requiem). Also Poe’s The Raven, for more spooky.

Plus One-fish two-fish; Mary had a little lamb. So there’s that.

Plus Mommy, Daddy, and seems to be ingrained for all diminutive, affectionate personal names in English I can think of. And Leo and Nava.