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"Tips of the Slung" - Having Fun with Spoonerisms



"Tips of the Slung" - Having Fun with Spoonerisms
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.88

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    fatherly, Hoobert, hypodeemic, hypodermic, kisstomary, metathesis, moo-leltered, nerdle, nosy, over-large, pink-white, pushover, Rindercella, shife, slayer, slerd
     content words:    Hoobert Heever, Herbert Hoover, William Spooner, Oxford College, Pransome Hince, Beeping Sleauty


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"Tips of the Slung" - Having Fun with Spoonerisms
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Have you ever said something and then realized your words came out just a little tangled up? Maybe you accused your little brother of "chipping through the flannels." Of course, you meant "flipping through the channels." A simple slip of the tongue. But now your little brother isn't just laughing at you; he's rolling on the floor and scaring the cat. How humiliating!
 
2     Don't feel too bad, though. Everyone, including your little brother, trips over his or her tongue once in a while. There is even a name for this kind of slip. The Greeks called it metathesis, which means to change the position of things.
 
3     These "tips of the slung" can involve just mixing up the first one or two letters of words (like "chipping the flannels" or telling Mom you don't want "keys and parrots" for dinner. It can also be getting syllables of words changed around. A radio announcer once introduced a U.S. president as Mr. "Hoobert Heever." (He meant Herbert Hoover.) It can even mean exchanging one word for another, as in an old joke about a bunch of cows. The cattle, it seems, were sent into orbit. After that, they were known as "the herd shot round the world."
 
4     In England in the 1800s, people loved word jokes like these. In that day, word play was a favorite sport. The champion word slayer (or slerd weigher) of all time was a man named William Spooner. He was born in 1844. Spooner was first a student, then a professor at Oxford. He was also an Anglican priest. Eventually, he became warden (head) of the college.

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