Naushena is primarily a poet but she also writes personal essays occasionally. Her work depicts sensitivity and awareness towards her surrounding. She has been published in Five Poetry, Scarlet Leaf Review, Mothers Always Write, Mamalode, Boston Literary Magazine, EXPOUND and is forthcoming in few others.
Are You Suffering from Spoonerism?
I am. You know, when I first read this word I thought it had something to do with ‘spoons’. I don’t know why (you might call me crazy) I even envisaged a collection of different kinds of spoons. But I was wrong.
Does it ever happen to you that while during a discourse you inadvertently say something contrary to what you intend? It has happened to me a couple of times. You and I are suffering from Spoonerism. Although this dis-ease of mine is pretty old yet I recently realized that I have entered the final stage which is incurable so thought to share with you so that at least you can help yourself.
Spoonerism means ‘accidental mispronunciation.’ It is a verbal error when the speaker transposes the initial sounds of two or more words. For instance, instead of I missed him you utter ‘I hissed him.’ W.A Spooner (1844-1930) was an English scholar in the 20th century who was famous to make such verbal errors in conversation. This word is named after him. This accidental slip of tongue has a humorous effect (I know embarrassing effect too)
I have committed many spoonerisms. Once while talking to my maid, instead of saying ‘This mug is chipped’ I said,
‘This chip is mugged.’ It sounded as if there was a Microsoft chip which was mugged for it contained some classified data. How interestingly the complete meaning of the text changes. My washing line is on the rooftop of my house. One day it was cloudy so as soon as my maid arrived I said to her,
“Go upstairs and take your clothes off.”
She was gob smacked. Just imagine by just saying your instead of the, the connotation became risible. Then few months back, I wanted some information and since my son was on the net, I told him to ‘goggle’ it! No wonder he refused to comply and gave me a meaning look saying,
‘Mom, I can’t goggle, its Google.’
It’s not that I am illiterate. In fact, I am an educated teacher and a poet, but why I utter these errors I fail to understand. It just happen involuntarily.
You feel relieved when you learn that someone else is like you, right? Once my family and I were at a wedding. We had another family sitting round the table having dinner. The mother picked up a piece of chicken and said to her child,
‘Shall I put some kitchen in your plate?’
Whoa! I was pleasantly surprised that I was not the only one. My family exchanged smiles but of course for courtesy sake, we pretended as if we didn’t hear. But I have lately realized that this spoonerism of mine has progressed to certain stages as a child succeeds to higher grades. From juxtaposition of initial sounds I have moved on to words! For instance, I occasionally say to my children, ‘Put the stove on the pot’ and they quip that if they do so the pot would be smashed to smithereens. Few months back, a publisher had shown interest in a poem of mine which I had submitted to him. Feeling thrilled, I started my email like this;
‘Thank you for your interest in my pie’ then suddenly I came back to my senses. I was over-excited. Thank God those were written words or he must’ve thought what a clumsy writer I was. Can you send a pie via an email? May be in future. Thankfully, I corrected myself or else… You obviously know what an iphone is but have you ever heard of an ‘A phone’? Well, let me introduce myself to you.
Then I realized that I entered the third perhaps the final stage; not only changing words but the ENTIRE subject. But I am not to be fully blamed for it. I was in my nursery class. One of the toddlers had accidently passed stool and we teachers went on sniffing around to catch the suspect as there was a blob of potty on the carpet and the stench had permeated the classroom. After a hard time of snooping about we succeeded. We got the child and the classroom cleaned. One of the children had brought in his football so at home time, I held it up high and asked the kids aloud,
‘Whose potty is this?’
Can you beat that? how ludicrous! Thank God only my co-teacher heard that and understood that the potty scenario had really gone to my head affecting my sense of sight too.
Generally, parents don’t forget their child’s birthday (fathers may forget the age though) I have never forgotten any special day of my children and have always done something special but last year what I did, no parent must’ve done. I can bet that! Last December I woke up early in the morning to greet my eldest son on his birthday. While presenting him his birthday card I hugged him saying,
‘Happy New Year!’
He instantly corrected me saying,
‘Mom, it’s not New Year yet.’
What an embarrassment! How could I be so foolish? We both laughed but the words had slipped from my mouth. You can put arrows back in its quiver but words once spoken, can’t go back into your mouth. If only there was a Delete button. Now I try my best to think hard before I slip, I mean speak. If you too have rampant verbal errors, no need to feel ashamed of yourself as long as they are amusing. After all, to err is human and our mouths cannot be corked.