Wordplay and Spoonerism

I’m a sucker for wordplay. My mind constantly thinks of spoonerisms¹ (though most of the time they sound really stupid, there is the odd funny one), and I’m fascinated by the evolution of language and words.

It’s therefore natural that I gravitate towards books having with some form of wit. Every so often I’ll be sharing some of my favourites here (as well as those that I come along and strike me as singular). Like this one, they’ll be in the “Wordplay” category.

Among the masters of word-mind games, at least in English, one can find Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams occupying places of honour. The way they play with common phrases is ingenious. Let me share two here:

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

(from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams)

“Ankh-Morpork! Pearl of cities! This is not a completely accurate description, of course — it was not round and shiny — but even its worst enemies would agree that if you had to liken Ankh-Morpork to anything, then it might as well be a piece of rubbish covered with the diseased secretions of a dying mollusc.”

(from “The Light Fantastic” – Terry Pratchett)

More quotes by these authors can be found here and here.

¹ Spoonerism, the practice of interchanging a syllable/letter between words, for example:
“Is the bean dizzy?” instead of “Is the dean busy?” by the original Spooner himself (ref the Wikipedia article).

More on spoonerism here.

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