Play On Words, or With Them

By April 19, 2017 Language

Word Play is verbal wit- the manipulation of language with the intent to amuse. Sounds and meanings of words are exploited resulting in funny remarks. It has a wider use orally than in written text but literature has always been full of word play.

Examples of this literary technique include puns, double entendres, tongue twisters, etc. We often engage in wordplay such as jokes and witty remarks during casual conversations among friends and colleagues.

One needs to have a keen ear for the intricacies of a language to be able to understand wordplay. This is fun when you pay attention to the sounds and meaning of words and are able to connect it with something else that is the intended meaning of a joke or expression.

Wordplay is motivating and requires people to constructively use their cognitive abilities to be able to capitalize on opportunities where they can exploit words or phrases to their benefit.

Let’s take a look at some examples of Word Play.

Read and pronounce each one carefully and you will surely enjoy what you notice!

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

He had a photographic memory, which was never developed.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

Your argument is sound, nothing but sound.

Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends.

If spellings, sounds and different interpretations of words and idioms are what tickle your grey cells, you can indulge in some verbal jousting on the internet through the various platforms and competitions that invite word play entries.

Go play!

Commonly misspelled words in the USA according to GoogleTrends

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To celebrate the ‘Scripps US National Spelling Bee‘, the brain boxes over at GoogleTrends have created a map of the United States to show which state searched for the spelling of commonly misspelled words.

Among the most commonly misspelled were “niece,” “cancelled,” “desert”, and “beautiful.” And then there is the state of Massachusetts, whose most Googled request was for the spelling of their own state… Awkward.

Check our the map below!

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French writers insulted by ‘growing attack’ on French language

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French writers have expressed their distaste at the increasing prevalence of English words unnecessarily invading the French language.

A French book fair ‘Scène Young Adult’ at the Salon du Livre in Paris has drawn the ire of French authors, who say that replacing French words with English is “unbearable act of cultural delinquency”. Scene YA signs and displays read “Le Live”, “Bookroom”, “photobooth” and “bookquizz”, described as “sub-English knowns as globish”.

Well known writers such as Leïla Slimani, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Muriel Barbery and Catherine Millet all took great offence at English infiltrating their literary space and wrote an open letter published in Le Monde expressing their disappointment.

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‘Gammon’ and ‘Vegan’ are among Collins Dictionary Words of 2018

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Gammon has been named Collins dictionary’s Word of the Year 2018 along with a small list of others.

Other words of 2018 include Vegan, MeToo, and Gaslight- a real reflection of the direction 2018 has taken. Many of this year’s most used, newest, and redefined words are coming from the left side of the political spectrum. As a reaction against ingrained cultural sexism, institutional racism and xenophobia, words like gammon or whitewash have been on the rise.

Some may find the word ‘gammon’ offensive, and they are entitled to express their distaste, however the word is only truly offensive to those who the word is aimed at. The word first came about when a pattern emerged on BBC’s Question Time. It became apparent that older white men became quite pink in the face while ranting about ‘bloody foreigners’, ‘Brexit’, and the EU. It is not, despite many wannabe victims insisting it so, racist.

The full list of Collins Dictionary’s Words of the Year 2018 are below.

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Alternative Word Definitions from British Comedy Legends

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Definitions can naturally change over time through usage and societal influences- such is the joy of the English language! With the help of BBC Radio Four’s legendary comedy team we are lucky enough to have some hilarious alternative definitions to consider for the future.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue has been on our radios since 1972 with regulars Humphrey Lyttelton, Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, and Willie Rushton. Throughout the years, the “antidote to panel shows” has featured comedy greats such as Sandi Toksvig, Pam Ayres, Victoria Wood, Bill Oddie, Richard Osman, Stephen Fry, and Jo Brand.

As well as the genius of Mornington Crescent, the team regularly come up with entries into the Uxbridge English Dictionary, an imaginary dictionary full of daffynitions (similar to transpositional puns).

Check out our selection of daffynitions below!

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Student Creates Most Useless Phonetic Alphabet in the World

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English is a funny old language isn’t it? Phonetic isn’t phonetic, we have a stack of silent letters, ‘queue’ has one letter that is sounded and four that are silent (or patiently waiting their turn).

Well now a student at an unknown university has created the most useless phonetic alphabet imaginable. Could you imagine anything less helpful? Scroll down to see.

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15 moments when a Swansea bookshop won Twitter

By | Bookshops, Language | No Comments
Bookshops are often thought of as quiet, thoughtful places where people go to buy, read, and sniff the books. Sometimes it can be tricky to make the bookshop seem like a super-exciting and stimulating place to be, but one branch of Waterstones has been trying to entice people in with their witty rhetoric on Twitter.

Ok, so perhaps the only people impressed with cheeky banter from a retail social media account are possibly just Reading Addicts… And it is a good job you are all here!

Settle down with a cup of tea and these 15 witty, silly, and funny quips from Swansea Waterstones.

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