It’s Spoonerism Day!

400 Words

Oxford English Building

From the hallowed halls of Oxford University comes Spoonerism Day.

July is jammed with holidays. We started the month with World UFO Day. Then we raced into Independence Day, National Kissing Day, National Nude Day, and Yellow Pig Day. (The presidential candidate who will declare a three-day holiday weekend for all of these great celebrations has my vote) Today is Spoonerism Day, a favorite of my logophile friends and me.

For you neophytes who are eager to get in on the fun, I offer this brief explanation:

Spoonerisms are phrases, sentences or words with swapped sounds. Usually this happens by accident, particularly if a person is speaking quickly. Spoonerisms are phonetic transposition, but are not limited to the transposition of individual sounds. Whole words or large parts of words may be swapped. The term and the holiday are named for the famous Oxford professor, William Archibald Spooner (1844 – 1930), who was notoriously prone to mixing up sounds.

Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride? (Is it customary to kiss the bride?)

The Lord is a shoving leopard. (The Lord is a loving shepherd.)

Cuss and kiddle. (Kiss and cuddle.)

Doc in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was prone to spoonerisms. “Search every crook and nanny!” he once pronounced.

I specifically remember one evening when my son, Beau was three years old. As we were driving, my husband and I were discussing different restaurants we might try in our new hometown. From the backseat came, “Let’s go to Kenfucky Tried Chicken!” Out of the mouths of babes.

I do have a favorite spoonerism. The story goes something like this: A few years ago, my sister Mel and her husband Teddy retired and moved to the community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. They rented a place, as it was their plan to build their dream house. One day while on their search for the perfect lot, my sister was driving while Teddy studied the map and gave instructions on how to get to their next destination. “Go to the light and turn right onto the Old Fart Porkway,” he instructed. Needless to say, Mel fell apart laughing. To this day, the entire family refers to Murfreesboro’s Old Fort Parkway as the Old Fart Porkway.

To celebrate Spoonerism Day, switch your sounds around as much as possible. And if you want to spoon with your favorite mate, that’s OK, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and shake a tower.

Copyright © 2015 Patra Taylor