July 24, 2006

Word Play

Most people who know me notice how I often do weird things with words when I talk, like switch consonants around or substitute like sounding words for others. Recently, on one of my Wikipedia voyages, I discovered there are actual terms for my once-thought unclassified techniques.

I think it all started with my dad who would say things like "right arm!" (right on) and "farm out!" (far out). These, I discovered, are malapropisms, or "an incorrect usage of a word by substituting a similar-sounding word with different meaning, usually with comic effect." I developed others over the years, such as "fangs and good knife" (thanks and good night), "it's been a pressure" (pleasure) and "your wagon" (your welcome).

One day, my sister, while riding an escalator and waving goodbye to her friend shouted "escalator!" (see you later). This was a moment of genius, and since then other similar words have been adapted to suit the same expression, including "calculator", "emulator", "A.C. Slater", "Rollerblader", "mashed potater", etc.

Other malapropisms, or "eggcorns" as they are sometime called, that we came up with include the following:
"Breast of flesh air" (breath of fresh air)
"I'll be black in a bitch" (back in a bit)
"Scabway: Eat Flesh" (Subway: Eat Fresh)
"It'll only take a mint" (minute)

Of course, a popular and rather crude example of malapropism is best shown in the phrase, "Twat? I cunt hear you. Bare ass me again. Tits okay, I must have an ear infucktion."

Another type of word play I regularly practice is switching corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes, known as spoonerisms, named after William Archibald Spooner who was notorious for doing it. Usually it's a way of getting you "mords wixed up" or falling victim to a "tip of the slongue" by accident, but done purposely can have comedic effects, for example, "a sale of two titties, by darlse chickens" and "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy." Other spoonerisms found in popular culture include "buck fush", "buck futter" and "hucking filarious".

Some of the spoonerisms I dicovered and sometimes use include:
Cock porn (pop corn)
B-chord (keyboard)
Tai chi (chai tea)
Gayer pride (prayer guide)

Spoonerisms fall under the linguistic category of metathesis. Something I practice when I persistently refer to Walmart as Wamlart.

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