Friday, January 01, 2010

Word Play

Spoonerisms are phrases, sentences, or words in language with swapped sounds. Usually this happens by accident, particularly if you're speaking fast. Come and wook out of the lindow, is an example. It means, Come & look out of the window.

Spoonerisms are the act of switching things around.

The name Spoonerism comes from the Reverend William Archibald Spooner who is reputed to have been particularly prone to making this type of verbal slip.

Of course, there are many millions of possible Spoonerisms, but those which are of most interest (mainly for their amusement value) are the ones in which the Spoonerism makes sense as well as the original phrase. Go and shake a tower and a well-boiled icicle illustrate this well (go and take a shower, a well-oiled bicycle).

Since Spoonerisms are phonetic transpositions, it is not so much the letters which are swapped as the sounds themselves. Transposing initial consonants in the speed of light gives the leed of spight which is clearly meaningless when written, but phonetically it becomes the lead of spite.
EXAMPLES : 1.Fighting a liar - lighting a fire
2.You hissed my mystery lecture - you missed my history lecture
3.Cattle ships and bruisers - battle ships and cruisers
4.You've tasted two worms - you've wasted two terms
5.Is the bean dizzy? is the Dean busy?

History of Spoonerism :

Spooner was an albino, small, with a pink face, poor eyesight, and a head too large for his body. His reputation was that of a genial, kindly, hospitable man. He seems also to have been something of an absent-minded professor.

Reverend Spooner's tendency to get words and sounds crossed up could happen at any time, but especially when he was agitated. He reprimanded one student for "fighting a liar in the quadrangle" and another who "hissed my mystery lecture." To the latter he added in disgust, "You have tasted two worms."
So if you have made a verbal slip, rest easy.
Thanks to Reverend Spooner's style-setting somersaults, our own little tips of the slung will not be looked upon as the embarrassing babblings of a nitwit, but rather the whimsical lapses of a nimble brain. So let us applaud that gentle man who lent his tame to the nerm. May sod rest his goal.

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