Verbal exchange: it’s one of those moments

I was crawling out of bed, reaching for my glasses which are usually in its case on the table. Bryan turned to me as i said, “i need my glasses to see.” but i think it came out as, “i need to see my glasses.”

so he reached for the case, opened it, and we both look into the case. there sitting peacefully among cloth is my spectacles. there was a momentarily pause before i said “okay”, and he closed the case and moved to put it back.

we looked at each other and did the Sheldon Cooper laugh.

That got me googling all sorts of linguistic errors. What happened to me was merely a word exchange of sorts, nothing fancy schmancy.

Spoonerism: A spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonantsvowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis). It is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency.

  • “Three cheers for our queer old dean!” (dear old queen, referring to Queen Victoria)
  • “Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?” (customary to kiss)
  • “The Lord is a shoving leopard.” (a loving shepherd)
  • “A blushing crow.” (crushing blow)

Eggcorn: an eggcorn is an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker’s dialect.

Malapropism: A malapropism (also called a Dogberryism or acyrologia) is the substitution of a word for a word with a similar sound, in which the resulting phrase makes no sense but often creates a comic effect. It is not the same as an eggcorn, which is a similar substitution in which the new phrase makes sense on some level.

  • “Comparisons are odorous.” (i.e., odious; Act 3, Scene V)
  • “Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons.” (i.e., apprehendedsuspicious; Act 3, Scene V)
  • “Certainly (Shylock) is the very devil incarnal…” (i.e., incarnate; Act 2, Scene II)
  • “That is the very defect of the matter, sir.” (i.e., effect; Act 2, Scene II)

Portmanteau: A portmanteau is a blend of two (or more) words or morphemes and their meanings into one new word.

  • Brunch: Breakfast + Lunch
  • Spork: Spoon + Fork
  • my colleague came up with Compucate when she wanted to say Computer + Calculate once.

Metathesis: is the re-arranging of sounds or syllables of a word, or even whole words. But most commonly it refers to the switching of two or more adjacent sounds:

  • foliage → **foilage
  • cavalry → **calvary

Tmesis: is a linguistic phenomenon or figure of speech in which a word or set phrase is separated into two parts, with other words occurring between them.

  • Abso-fuckin-lutely” in which an expletive or profanity is inserted; see Expletive infixation.
  • “La-dee-freakin’-da”, a variation of the above in which a less offensive infix is substituted.
  • “Any-old-how”, in which the divisibility of “anything” (as in “any old thing”) is mimicked with the usually indivisible “anyhow”.
  • “Legen-wait for it-dary”, in which the phrase “wait for it” is inserted into the word Legendary. This phrase was popularized by Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother.

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