English 11 Notes for English Notes

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Oops! How’s That Again?

- Roger Rosenblatt

It’s very natural to commit mistakes.

Why the examples in the essay are given only of great or big persons?

It’s so because the tongue slips are not only done by normal people but also done even by great or big persons of higher status.

Types of Tongue Slips:

Mistranslation: mistake in translation
Spoonerism “The transposition/substitution of sounds to each other: accidental verbal error: an accidental transposition of initial consonant sounds or parts of words, especially one that has an amusing result, for example, “half-warmed fish” for “half-formed wish”]
Bloopers: Public blunder; spoken wrong in radio, press, etc.
Faux pas: tactless mistake

Why do we laugh?

  • To discover the hidden motive of the speaker
  • Relief by a change

Into what groups has Rosenblatt organized his numerous examples of verbal missteps?

This lesson is concerned with the most natural aspect of human behavior – speech mistakes. Such speech mistakes or verbal errors are common features of our daily life. Nobody can claim that he has not committed any verbal mistake. So, the writer of the present lesson has discussed the topic of verbal errors. The verbal errors are categorized under four headings. They are mistranslation, spoonerism, bloopers, and faux pas.

Mistranslationaccounts for a great share of verbal errors. Mostly, while trying to translate the things from one language to other such mistakes take place. The writer has given the striking example of the slogan “Come alive with Pepsi”. Someone trying to translate it from English into German language happened to translate as “Come alive out of the grave with Pepsi”. Yet, another person translated it as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”. Similarly, several other examples of mistranslation can be given.

The next type of verbal error is spoonerism. Spoonerism is the transposition of initial or other sounds of the words by mistake. The writer has given several examples of it. One example is – “You have hissed all my mystery lectures.” “You’ve tested the whole worm and must leave by the first town drain.” In fact, the speaker wanted to say you have missed all my history lectures. In fact, you’ve wasted the whole time and must leave by the first down train”. Another short example is “Our queer old dean (discipline maintaining teacher) instead of saying our dear old queen.

The next type of verbal mistake is bloopers.“A blooper is a public blunder or an embarrassment mistake. Mostly, such mistakes are made on radio, television or perhaps in public speeches. For example, a radio announcer called “General Foods as General Fools”. Bloopers are the low line of verbal errors. They consist of a large number of toilet jokes.

The last type of verbal error is faux pas. Such mistakes are tactless mistakes. The striking example of such a mistake is the welcome of the Indian president by asking who are you? whereas, the man wanted to say how are you?

This is not the whole about verbal errors. There are lots and lots of them and the more we consider about them, the more we learn about them.

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