Sunday, January 01, 2006

Nappy Yew Hear!

I transpose the initial sounds of words from time to time. My mother did, too, especially with names. I was standing next to her once when she accidentally introduced someone whose first name was Christophe but whose last name started with P as "Pistophe Cr_____". I have to say, given his reaction, it was an accurate moniker.

Transposition of initial consonants in a pair of words.
"spoonerism." WordNet 1.7.1. Princeton University, 2001. 01 . 2006.

A Spoonerism is a play on words in which corresponding consonants or vowels are switched, named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency. Some of his famous (and possibly apocryphal) quotes from the chapel include "The Lord is a shoving leopard," "It is kisstomary to cuss the bride," and "Mardon me padam, this pie is occupewed. Can I sew you to another sheet?." (Pardon me, madam, this pew is occupied. Can I show you to another seat?) The spoonerism is a now legendary 'slip of the tongue.'...

...Spoonerisms are prolific in a few other languages. For example, the quirks of the Finnish language (such as vowel harmony and a relatively narrow selectio of phonemes) lend themselves well to this purpose, and Finnish sanankäännökset ('word-turnings') a.k.a. sananmuunnokset ('word transformations'), mainly used in jokes, in all likelihood predate Rev. Spooner. Unfortunately, some Finnish names work as spoonerism. For example ordinary name "Pentti Hirvonen" turns into "hintti pervonen" (which means something like "Gay McPervert").
"spoonerism." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2005. 01 . 2006.