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When imitating scuba divers, especially "old-timey" ones, extra Z's or "izz"es get added to the middle of words. What is the origin of this?

I have heard this in a few older shows, including the original Scooby Doo series, and now most recently in How I Met Your Mother, where Barney Stinson modifies "Target Acquired" to become "Tizzarget Aquizzired", while wearing a diving suit.

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    I think it's just a kind of "speech impediment / affectation" popularised by voiceovers for cinema/TV cartoon characters. For example, Sylvester the Cat's trademark exclamation is "Sufferin' succotash!", which is said to be a minced oath of "Suffering Savior". We don't generally let children laugh at people with disabilities today, but speech impediments in Cartoonland seem to be exempt from that principle. Also native speakers of certain specific languages may not normally be able to easily enunciate certain English phonemes. May 25, 2020 at 12:02
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    (Also - your diction might be characteristically affected in this way if you're trying to speak while keeping your teeth firmly clamped on the mouthpiece of a snorkel, for example. I don't have a snorkel to hand, so I'm not in a position to test this theory out more fully! :) May 25, 2020 at 12:08
  • @FumbleFingers I'm no diver, but might the speaker not also be emitting bubbles while talking? May 25, 2020 at 12:32
  • @Kate: I was being a bit "tichy" ("tongue-in-cheeky") when I said I don't have a snorkel! Just clench your teeth together and try to speak without introducing unwanted sibilance. May 25, 2020 at 12:36
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    @FumbleFingers If you've ever seen Monty Python's hilarious Life of Brian, you'll know that it wasn't just CartoonLand that made fun of speech impediments back in the day. "Your father was a woman?" "No, a Roman. [gets slapped] OW!" May 25, 2020 at 14:38

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