Homophones and Oronyms
Does this happen to you? When you discover an unfamiliar word, do you form a mental picture about its meaning? Recently, I read the word, homophone, which was brand new to me but the image I thought of was far from accurate.
Now the word, homonym, is familiar to me. Homonyms are words that sound alike and are spelled alike but have different meanings. An example would be the word, lie, as in: “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” - Benjamin Franklin. Or, “I cannot tell a lie …” - George Washington.
But homophone? That’s a new one. Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and are spelled differently. As I learned about homophones, I realized their commonly used by some writers who may not realize they’re mistake when choosing there words. You know what I’m sayin’?
Another homophone that is too often used incorrectly is the substitution of it’s when the correct term is its. If you remember that it’s is a contraction of it is, you will have no difficulty writing correctly “the bird spread its wings, not it’s wings.”
I don’t no about yew, but it drives me sew crazy wen I read misspelled homophones. Buy the weigh, hear is a tip: misspelled is won of the too words that is most often misspelled. Do you no what the other word is? It is separate.
After discovering homophones – words that sound alike with different spellings and meanings – I rediscovered the oronym. This term was created by the writer, Gyles Brandreth, in The Joy of Lex. (1980)
Oronyms are words or phrases in a sequence that sound the same as or similar to a different sequence of words or phrases. The words, ice cream, for example, sound the same as I scream.
Here’s a true story that illustrates how costly oronyms may become. A few years ago at a Hooters bar in Panama City, Florida, a waitress won a contest by selling the most beer.
But trouble began to brew over the prize she had been promised. She was led to the parking lot for what she thought would be a brand new Toyota.
She wound up with a genuine Star Wars doll – a toy Yoda. She sued. Result: her attorney said … “she can now go to a local car dealership and pick out whatever type of Toyota she wants.”
Howard L. Chace, the author of Anguish Languish, was a professor who taught French and other romance languages at Miami University (Ohio). In the 1950s, Arthur Godfrey narrated the story of Ladle Rat Rotten Hut on his radio program.
Have you ever read the book, Anguish Languish, by Howard L. Chace? The entire book is written in oronyms which the brilliant author labeled as anguish languish (English language).
If you have difficulty deciphering the oronyms, say the words out loud. Here are my two favorites.
The revered poem: Oiled Murder Harbored (Old Mother Hubbard)
Oiled Murder Harbored
Wen tutor cardboard
Toe garter pore darker born.
Wenchy gut dare
Door cardboard worse bar
An soda pore dark hat known.
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
And the famous fairy tale, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut (Little Red Riding Hood)
"Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock, florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry putty ladle rat cluck wetter ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut."
Because of Hubpages concern with duplicated work, I cannot include the hole tail, so please meander over to TriviaAndMore.blogspot.com for the entire oronymic story of Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Thank you.
Was it difficult for you to decipher the Anguish Languish?
The tale by Chace ends with these words:
"Daze worry on-forger-nut ladle gull's lest warts. Oil offer sodden, caking offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disk hoard-hoarded woof lipped own pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an garbled erupt.
"Daresay Mural: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers."
Source: Chace, Howard L. (1956) Anguish Languish. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Little Red Riding Hood
For those who are anguish languish-challenged:
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived with her mother in a little cottage on the edge of a large, dark forest. This little girl often wore a pretty little red cloak with her little red hood, and for this reason people called her Little Red Riding Hood.
As mentioned above, since Hubpages abhors duplication, I cannot include the hole gin you wine ferry tail, so please meander over to TriviaAndMore.blogspot.com for the entire non-oronymic Red Riding Hood story. Thank you.
Here's the real story from Red herself
- Interview with Red Riding Hood and the Three Little ...
Did you know that the big, bad wolf in Red Riding Hood is the same wolf who terrorized the Three Little Pigs? True!
The moral of the story, whether written in oronyms or not, is little girls (or boys) should not stop to talk with strangers.
Sew, deed yew enjoin disc furry tell?
- Interview with Mother Goose
Was Mother Goose a legend or a real person? Read on to discover the amazing facts. There may have been two Mother Gooses ... er, Mother Geese!
- Interview with Mother Goose – Part Two
Would you like to know the real meaning behind some of those sadistic and somewhat strange Mother Goose nursery rhymes? Here are additional Mother Goose revelations.
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2013. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Learn to write a dynamic resume and cover letter, network effectively, interview confidently, and negotiate salary.