What is accidental metaplasm & metathesis across words?

Such as...

grammar teacher --> trammar greacher

Does this have a name?

  • I've no idea what an accidental metaplasm is, but I certainly know what a spoonerism is. – Pitarou Oct 29 '13 at 23:13
  • Note that it's still called a spoonerism whether it's accidental or deliberate. Reverend William Archibald Spooner was notorious for the accidental variety. – Bradd Szonye Oct 29 '13 at 23:17

This is called a spoonerism regardless of whether it is accidental or deliberate (Wikipedia, emphasis added):

A spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis) between two words in a phrase, for example saying “The Lord is a shoving leopard.” instead of “The Lord is a loving shepherd.” While spoonerisms are commonly heard as slips of the tongue resulting from unintentionally getting one's words in a tangle, they can also be used intentionally as a play on words.

  • The OP uses the terms metaplasm and metathesis, which sound medical to me. Is the constant use of spoonerisms, considered a neurological dysfunction of some sort? Sounds a bit like verbal dyslexia. Does anyone know if it is a recognised condition? – WS2 Oct 29 '13 at 23:37
  • @WS2: You can look up both words easily. Neither are considered medical situations but common historical phonological processes (metaplasm include metathesis). – Mitch Oct 30 '13 at 0:35
  • @Mitch In the ODE (not OED) 'metaplasm' doesn't have an entry, and under 'metathesis' it simply refers to 'the transposition of sounds and letters in a word'. But one senses an underlying notion that this is an involuntary process of some kind, but no one actually mentions that. – WS2 Oct 30 '13 at 7:38
  • @WS2: 'Metaplasm' is new to me, but from a dumb google search looks like it is used in rhetoric for all sorts of sound changes. Whatever the modification is, there is no connotation to the words of intention just a description of the phenomenon. Of course it is easy to infer that such changes are mistakes which are mostly unintentional, as Bradd's quote states. – Mitch Oct 30 '13 at 13:20

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