Spoonerism

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Spoonerism

Postby Sabina » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:30 pm

First take a guess... What is spoonerism?
Does it have anything to do with spooning, or silverware?
It doesn't.
Spoonerism is a play on words or an error in speech, in which corresponding letters are switched.
The term itself is based on William Archibald Spooner, who simply happened to do that a lot!
It is also known as marrowsky, based on a Polish count who had the same tendency (some say 'the same impediment').

Wikipedia wrote:Spooner has become famous for his (real or alleged) "spoonerisms", plays on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched. Few, if any, of his own spoonerisms were deliberate, and many of those attributed to him are apocryphal.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (3rd edition, 1979) lists only one substantiated Spoonerism - "The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer". Spooner himself admitted to uttering "Kinkering Congs Their Titles Take" in a 1930 interview. Spooner is said to have disliked the reputation gained for getting his words muddled.

After the concept of Spoonerisms became popularized, Spooner denounced a crowd that had gathered to hear him speak by saying, "You haven't come for my lecture, you just want to hear one of those...things."

Spooner is supposed to have committed other absent-minded gaffes. He was said to have invited a don to tea, "to welcome Stanley Casson, our new archaeology Fellow". "But, sir," the man replied, "I am Stanley Casson". "Never mind," Spooner said, "Come all the same."

At a party in North Oxfordshire his wife sustained a cut on her finger. When concerned friends asked him "Did she lose her finger permanently?", he is supposed to have answered "She lost her finger permanently, for a time."

One recorded incident had Spooner write a note asking for a fellow lecturer at New College to see him immediately about a matter. The note had a postscript informing the lecturer that the matter had been resolved and he no longer needed to see him.

Another story tells of Spooner preaching a sermon about St. Paul, but substituted the name Aristotle for St. Paul. When he finished, he came down from the pulpit, paused, went back up, and told his bewildered congregation, "Did I say Aristotle? I meant St. Paul." Some versions of this story have Spooner substituting Aristotle for Aquinas.

It is said that Canon Spooner not only mixed up words, but entire concepts upon occasion. Reportedly, he once spilled salt at a dinner and absent-mindedly poured some wine on it, a reversal of the usual procedure. According to sources, he once remarked of a widow that "her husband was eaten by missionaries."

His attitude towards his unintentional fame softened in his final years, even granting the occasional reprint for humour's sake, regardless of validity.


The following spoonerisms are attributed to Spooner:
Fighting a liar ( Lighting a fire )
You hissed my mystery lecture ( You missed my history lecture )
Cattle ships and bruisers ( Battle ships and cruisers )
Nosey little cook ( Cosy little nook )
A blushing crow ( A crushing blow )
Tons of soil ( Sons of toil )
Our queer old Dean ( Our dear old Queen )
We'll have the hags flung out ( We'll have the flags hung out )
You've tasted two worms ( You've wasted two terms )
Our shoving leopard ( Our loving shepherd )
A half-warmed fish ( A half-formed wish )
Is the bean dizzy? ( Is the Dean busy? )

Here are a few more examples of spoonerisms...
Tease my ears ( Ease my tears )
A lack of pies ( A pack of lies )
Wave the sails ( Save the whales )
Know your blows ( Blow your nose )
Go and shake a tower ( Go and take a shower )
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Sabina
 
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Re: Spoonerism

Postby mirjana » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:59 pm

Sabina,
Thank you for this little article about spoonerism. I have a tendency to make such error in speech, playing so with words that I switch corresponding letters. Sometimes it brings very interesting combination and sometimes it is just funny.
I am very glad to know the name for that now .

<3
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Re: Spoonerism

Postby Daywhite » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:53 pm

Possible Spoonerism:

Spank spinach (Speak Spanish)
"Sometimes you do it to save your own life, not anybody else's. That's mostly why I write. I'm not trying to change anybody else's life or the world; I'm trying to keep from blowing my own brains out. That's the real point." -- Guy Clark
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