Sunday, 4 November 2012

Mondays with Crazy English

Learning English is fun. I've given you plenty of examples. Here's another one: spoonerisms. They are slips of the tongue due to inattention, insufficient knowledge or a deliberate play on words.

This tendency to switch consonants and vowels is manifest with little kids, but adults are also prone to this impediment. This tendency was named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner  who was famous for this tendency. According to Wikipedia the following examples are attributed to him:
  • "Three cheers for our queer old dean!" (dear old queen, referring to Queen Victoria)
  • "Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?" (customary to kiss)
  • "The Lord is a shoving leopard." (a loving shepherd)
  • "A blushing crow." (crushing blow)
  • "A well-boiled icicle" (well-oiled bicycle)
  • "You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle." (lighting a fire)
  • "Is the bean dizzy?" (Dean busy)
  • "Someone is occupewing my pie. Please sew me to another sheet." (occupying my me to another seat)
  • "You have hissed all my mystery lectures. You have tasted a whole worm. Please leave Oxford on the next town drain." (missed...history, wasted...term, down train)[6]
A newspaper column[2] attributes this additional example to Spooner: "A nosey little cook." (cozy little nook).

The English language develops and if we have a spoon(erism), why can't we have a fork(erism) and knif(erism). They are usually known as nonce words (words that are not excepted to occur twice. 

"Honorificabilitudinitatibus" is such an example and was used by Shakespeare in his works.

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