Spoonerism! Yes it actually exists. And no, nothing sexual in nature as some may pressume, but simply a speech error that results in hysterical laughter and often some serious blushing.
For the intellectuals, the definition goes something like this:
A spoonerism is an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels or morphemes are switched between two or more words in a phrase.
Named after a reverend, William Archibald Spooner in the 1840’s, it’s simply a mixing up of letters and words and parts of words within a phrase or sentence.
For example, in the famous story of Cinderella:
- There is the well known Gairy Fodmother
- Cinderalla had to flop the moors
- Win the washdows
- Fook the cood
My favourite has to be my husband’s attempt at just being himself (and I am not entirely sure if he genuinely wanted to mimic Bugs Bunny), it goes like this:
What a woad of wubbish!
Try say that fast, letting it roll off your tongue! It really isn’t that easy. We could even make bracelets with that one: WaWoW, pretty sure they would be a hit!
I decided to dedicate this past week to really listen to what people were saying and what spoonerisms they came up with. Not to say that I don’t always listen, but to really try harder than normal. Can you believe that I didn’t hear any? I was actually quite disappointed. Maybe they aren’t as common as one thinks! Or maybe we are saying them all the time that they actually sound like the norm! Or maybe my husband is just genuinely fluent at spoonerism – although I haven’t heard any new ones this week!
So heres my challenge to you. Listen out for any kind of spoonerisms and leave a message with the quoted text. Let’s see how many we can get from real life scenarios.