Trivia

Hard

Mixing Up The Starting Sounds Of Words In A Sentence Is Known As A?

Lingversion
Morphoswap
Phoneme Inversion
Spoonerism

Answer: Spoonerism

Generations of children have delighted in silly rhymes and jokes that revolve around mixing up the syllables of words in a sentence, but it’s a safe bet that none of them knew that the phenomenon is known as a “spoonerism”.

The phenomenon is named after William Archibald Spooner who was a long-serving and well known don of Oxford University. He was well regarded by his peers, considered a friendly and hospitable fellow, and, much to his chagrin, well known for his habit of absent-mindedly mixing up the structure of his sentences. The result was phrases like “it is kisstomary to cuss the bride” instead of “it is customary to kiss the bride” or “we’ll have the hags flung out” instead of “we’ll have the flags hung out”.

Although Spooner wasn’t trying to be funny with his curious manner of speech, the result was often quite amusing and the very act of shuffling consonants, vowels, and morphemes around become a comedic device named in his, dubious, honor.

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