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Spoonerism

Artwiculate-Twitter logo (Tweeting as @TSupercargo)

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Spoonerism: A phrase in which the initial (usually consonantal) sounds of two or more of the main words are accidentally transposed [Artwiculate]. An error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched [Wikipedia]. Named for Rev. W. A. Spooner 1844-1930 who was famous for making these verbal slips.
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Good evening, Artwiculati. Here’s @TheSupercargo’s alter ego with another round-up of the day’s tweets that caught my fancy.

The Word of the Day today had me (and I’m sure many another player) heading over to Google or Wikipedia.

You know a Spoonerism when you hear one, but composing one is not quite so easy. A point I think @MediasRes was makeing

RT @MediasRes Spoonerism remarkably steps out of the spotlight when you are forced to construct one to cleverly use it.

And @Doc_Harding also had a true observation.

RT @Doc_Harding The differences between the spitten and wroken spoonerism makes this hask all the tarder.

To add to today’s joy, a BBC radio newscaster managed a spoonerism of his own, misreferring to Britain’s Jeremy Hunt, Culture Minister. (If you don’t know, I leave you to work out which letters were transposed.)

Of course, as we all now know, a Spoonerism isn’t in fact the transposition of letters, it is the transposition of morphemes, not that the difference is necessarily obvious until you start trying to invent complex ones of your own.

Howsomever, I’m not going to let small details get in the way of sharing some of the wittier and funnier tweets today’s word inspired.

Those who read to the bottom of the appropriate Wikipedia entry will have discovered kniferism and forkerism, and these terms also featured today, though (the Artwiculati being the brilliant word-wits that they are) it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn they were independent coinings.

@alex_auron gave us a brain-biological explanation of the difference

RT @alex_auron Spoonerisms are produced in the right side of the brain; the left side handles forkerisms.

(Knifeism may be a whole-brain activity – or perhaps is left to limbic system.)

@dsceiorg illustrated the differences in a gogyohka

RT @dsceiorg Forkerism / Riven Deep Mounter High / Spoonerism / River Heap Mountain Die / Still Gibberish #gogyohka #artwiculate

And @eilonwya10 asked a perinent question.

RT @eilonwya10 If one spoons with a nosy little cook in a cozy little nook, is this a spoonerism or a prelude to forking? #artwiculate

I suspect most of us will have first come across Spoonerisms – and been delighted by them – as children.

@soarski’s story rings so very true

RT @soarski The first Spoonerism I heard as a kid was my Sunday school teacher who said, “Beware the Diery Farts of the devil.” True story.

And @mysocalledtweet’s offering, though invented (I guess) sounds like it would delight the heart of any seven-year old

RT @mysocalledtweet Sesame Street spoonerism: Kermit loves Piss Miggy.

Of course, as kids. we’re taught not to use words like fart or piss, which makes them all the more attractive.

It’s something of the same mentality that causes us to laugh when a respected newscaster inadvertantly uses the ‘C’ word and, no doubt, explains the volume of similar tweets (some very contrived) in the stream today. Among the wittier ones I number this next from @mazpowles

RT @mazpowles Freudian Spoonerism: Father mucker

@MaxRaunchiness (well, of course) rose to the occasion.

RT @MaxRaunchiness My spoonerism introduced me to a new sexual practice when I told the blonde to heap her cat on. I needed stitches.

And @Squawkingalah and @lagadu123 had an exchange on the subject

RT @@lagadu123 Spoonerism is a tucking ferrible word. Just look where it’s dragged us to.

RT @Squawkingalah @lagadu123 That’s true. Spoonerism takes us great to the stutter.

But for me, this one from @TiddK was pure gold!

RT @TiddK As the mist rolled in, the climbers became stranded on Hucking Fell. They swore, bitterly. #spoonerism #artwiculate

(Do non-Brits need to be told that a Fell is a high, mountainous hillside in the north of England and Scotland?)

By the by, @TiddK produced some really funny tweets with the WOTD. Visit to her profile page to make sure you see them all!

Another group of people who are popularly believed – maybe with reason – to use Spoonerisms is drunks. As @Schnicka noted

RT @Schnicka You say spoonerism, I say Drunkenese! #artwiculate

Meanwhile, in another part of the world, @rafat4d shared this usage

RT @rafat4d Monsoon spoonerism~outside pouring with rain~inside roaring with pain. #artwiculate #spoonerism

I know that one is not exactly original, nor is this next from @Tralala56, but that doesn’t make them less funny.

RT @Tralala56 RIP my Lord Spooner – he was killed by a blushing crow #spoonerism

Some people sidestepped the whole “make up an illustrative Spoonerism” business and gave us wit from a different angle.

@FrankSiddarta invented a new yet somehow vaguely familiar medical condition

RT @FrankSiddarta Please don’t look at me like that – I have aspoonerismbergers syndrome

@OpelDHell expressed her personal opinion of the Word of the Day

RT @OpelDHell alliteration spanks spoonerism #artwiculate

@johnbarry343 shared a childhood moment that stretched back all the way to yesterday’s WOTD

RT @johnbarry343 My mother used to beat me with a wooden spoonerism if I got out of bedizen too early

But I think @FlaviaHeloisa gave us the best example of lateral thinking on the subject

RT @FlaviaHeloisa Spoonerism is the study, knowledge and collection of historical, rare and richly decorated spoons in antique shops around the world.

@sevenofdays cleverly coupled the word with the teenage vampire trend

RT @sevenofdays For the Spoonerism Vampire, his date’s “Might be” is all the invitation he needs. #artwiculate

And @californiakara shared a story about her goldfish that also picks up on a popular theme

RT @californiakara I had a zombie goldfish named Spoonerism, but he kept bumping out of his jowl and scewing his chales.

@JonPowles gave us a very Australian comment on current affairs

RT @JonPowles Every TV program on the Australian economy seems to suffer from acute Spoonerism. Always nothing but wool and banking.

@amanuel187 took us back to that electric fence

RT @amanuel187 spoonerism is what happens when you fee on an electric pence.

@llana pointed out a sequence of misprinted road signs

RT @llana A sleepless spoonerism proved the street signs wiser than intended. “Spork Ahead” “Feed Limit Enforced” #artwiculate

And @helacious had an historical insight

RT @helacious The first American settlers were grim pills – a spoonerism that explains much.

To conclude, almost, I give you our master of the surreal, @harrarp

RT @harrarp On this Dinter way // a bashtag heckons me // towards spoonerism #kaihu

It was “bashtag” did it for me Harry. (That and kaihu.) Great!

I want to wind up by breaking one of my rules and retweeting a second tweet from @mysocalledtweet

RT @mysocalledtweet Fast food spoonerism: Chilled grease burger

I thought that was brilliant!

Greetings to new-to-the-round-up @johnbarry343 who I think is my only newcomer today.

This will be he last round-up for a few days. So, till next week, thank you all, and goodnight! Handing back to @TheSupercargo now.

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Artwiculate is a game played on Twitter. Visit http://artwiculate.com for more information. The winning tweet and the most popular runners up for today’s word are listed at http://www.artwiculate.com/words/spoonerism (And, for addicts, don’t forget Salon ArtWois at http://www.salonartwois.com/ )