Archive for the ‘Spoonerisms’ Category

Three kinds of cartoons

October 31, 2017

In an old New Yorker (from 7/6/15), two cartoons that especially struck me: a Mick Stevens meta-cartoon, and a Liana Finck with a playful word transposition. The second led me to a Finck from this spring that presents a real challenge in understanding.


Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit: three cartoons for the 1st

May 1, 2017

It’s May Day, an ancient spring festival — think maypoles and all that — so, the beginning of the cycle of the seasons. (Everybody knows the Vivaldi. Try listening instead to the Haydn, here.) And it’s the first of the month, an occasion for still other rituals, including one that calls for everyone to greet the new month, upon awakening, by saying “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit” (or some variant thereof). There’s even a Rabbit Rabbit Day Facebook community, with this page art (not attributed to an artist):


The three-rabbit variant is the one I’m familiar with. (I got it as an adult from Ann Daingerfield Zwicky. Since she was from the South, I thought it was a specifically Southern thing. But today I learned, from an astonishingly detailed Wikipedia page, that that is very much not so.)

Today also brought a Facebook posting from my friend Mary Ballard, to whom the whole inaugural-rabbit thing was news, and, by good fortune, three cartoons from various sources: a Bizarro I’ve already posted about; a Mother Goose and Grimm with an outrageous bit of language play; and a Calvin and Hobbes reflection on the meaning of the verb read.


Erson of Pinterest

October 21, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

A Spoonerism for playful purposes, based on the expression (a) person of interest, and using the name of the software tool Pinterest.


Classical Spoonerism

December 6, 2013

Reported by Joel Berson on ADS-L on the 4th:

grewd loaseness: Uttered (and soon corrected) by a radio news broadcaster about what a man who appeared nude in public, beat his fists on his head, and claimed he was God was arrested for.

Victor Steinbok noted that “genuine Spoonerisms” are rare, meaning that inadvertent word-part transpositions are rare (though he cited an example from his own experience: tissy pookler for pussy tickler ‘mustache’, and I’ve posted on inadvertent Oback Barama). Intentional — playful — word-part transpositions are extremely common, and so are inadvertent whole-word transpositions, reported on here fairly often, for instance in the porn quote:

You wanna fuck your shooting load! You wanna shoot your fuckin’ load!

In the midst of death we are in life

June 4, 2013

Though there is some uncertainty in the date (June 6th is the date on the death certificate), today is the day on my calendar for remembering the death of my husband-equivalent, Jacques Transue, who died ten years ago after twelve years of terrible decline from radiation-caused dementia. There’s a lot I could say about Jacques, our life together, and the appalling course of his death — a posting of mine on aphasia links to a brief medical history here and to notes on Jacques’s linguistic abilities from 1998-2002 here, and has some telling of the last things he was able to say — but here’s a story about his final days.

The miracle of those last days was that, through a complex history that isn’t relevant here, my grand-daughter Opal was conceived then. When Jacques’s family heard the news that our daughter Elizabeth was pregnant, they were delighted; his sister-in-law Virginia said at the time, with pleasure, “In the midst of death we are in life”.


Transposed proverbs

May 31, 2013

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, with a proverb altered spooneristically (and a pun folded in):

(A pun on gnu and new and a transposition of dog and new in You can’t teach an old dog new tricks — though a transposition of a N and an Adj is unlikely, though not unknown, in the world of inadvertent errors.)

On the wildebeest, from Wikipedia:

The wildebeest …, also called the gnu … is an antelope of the genus Connochaetes. It is a hooved (ungulate) mammal. Wildebeest is Dutch for “wild beast” or “wild cattle” in Afrikaans (beest = cattle), while Connochaetes derives from the Greek words κόννος, kónnos, “beard”, and χαίτη, khaítē, “flowing hair”, “mane”. The name “gnu” originates from the Khoikhoi name for these animals, gnou.


Spoonerism Day

April 30, 2013

Today is what I have come to think of (thanks to my friend Robert Coren) as Spoonerism Day, in honor of the famous (and undoubtedly apocryphal) transposition from Rev. Spooner himself: my queer dean for my dear Queen. But what’s the connection to April 30th?, you ask.


Nick Danger: an appreciation

April 29, 2013

My iTunes woke me this morning with “The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye” (from Firesign Theatre’s How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All (1969)). It’s packed full of playfulness, silliness, and absurdity, much of it linguistic.


Spoonerisms for fun

April 26, 2013

Over on ADS-L, Gerald Cohen and Joel Berson have been enjoying recollections of Shel Silverstein’s Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook (2005). Delightful childish pleasure in the (intentional) transposition of syllable onsets (or, sometimes, just the syllable-initial consonants):