Put On your Flip-flops! Fun with Spoonerisms
Today we are going to put on our flip-flops and play with words, or way with plords. When you mix up the first parts of words like I just did, it is called a spoonerism, which is defined as a linguistic confusion that results in interesting or funny expressions. You flip-flop first letters or syllables around and create new or nonsensical phrases. For instance “lighting a fire” becomes “ fighting a liar.”
Spoonerisms got their name from the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) a well-known, but absent-minded, lecturer of classics and philosophy and dean at the New College in Oxford England. He became famous for his confused verbal utterances. One of the spoonerisms attributed to him was “ a well oiled bicycle” becoming a “ well boiled icicle.” Spooner was a beloved teacher, so his students began to engage in the fad of creating spoonerisms for fun.
We have all probably experienced having an unplanned word flip moment when perhaps a “master plan” becomes a “plaster man” or turned “doing the chores” into “ chewing the doors.”
Some writers enjoy purposefully using this brand type of wordplay in poems and stories.
Shel Silverstein wrote an entire book, Runny Babbit:A Billy Sook using this idea.
Poems and Fairy tales have also been written or adapted employing spoonerisms in abundance.The results are works that are silly, but also fun to read. Children, those natural word play experts, love spoonerisms.
Below is an example of my Wild Child coming out to play with spoonerisms. To truly get the benefit you need to read it aloud. I have started the story, I challenge you to finish it!
Rittle Led Hiding Rood
Once upon a time there was a gittle lirl who lived in a fottage in the corest with her mear dother. Done way, her mear dother made her a coo ned roat with a right bred hood. The gittle lirl wanted to show it to her grick sandmother who lived on the other side of the feep dorest in a cug snottage. Her mear dother told the gittle lirl that she could go a take a bice nasket of bresh fead and carm wookies to her grick sandmother. But she mutst not salk to trangers or pray from the strath. Rittle Led Hiding Rood omised to probey her mear dother’s rules. But once she was in the feep dorest, the gittle lirl saw many fletty powers that were prowing off the grath and she porfot her gromise.
By the way, this makes your spell checker go crazy or your chell specker co grazy!
Have fun! Share your attempts at Spoonerisms; I would love to see them!
Put on those flip-flops!