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Primary question: A common speaking mistake is to exchange syllables of words, saying "It's trace rhyme!" instead of saying "It's race time!", or pronouncing "kickin' chackatory" instead of "chicken cacciatore." Is there an existing name in poetry, linguistics, or English studies for switching syllables of (quasi-)consecutive words? I am not especially interested in the case when switching syllables results in interpretable homonyms or portmanteaus, like in the first example.

Secondary question: if not, what would you call it?

Tertiary question: is there somewhere a (playful?) taxonomy of fruitful or unfruitful lingual aberrations?

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  • In both of your examples, you are really exchanging phonemes, not syllables. May 4, 2022 at 6:05
  • Perhaps the rules have changed, but requests for resources are off-topic on ELU. May 4, 2022 at 10:35
  • A patient of mine constantly describes her neuropathy condition as "neurothapy" by switching the "p" and the "th" sounds. Oct 27, 2023 at 11:59

3 Answers 3

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It's a Spoonerism:

A spoonerism is an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis) between two words in a phrase. These are named after the Oxford don and ordained minister William Archibald Spooner, who reputedly did this.

— Wikipedia

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In answer to the third part of your question, there is a list of types of changes in pronunciation available on Wikipedia.

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  • Perhaps the rules have changed, but requests for resources are off-topic on ELU (and answering them encourages further off-topic questions). May 4, 2022 at 10:34
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In an answer to the third part of your question, there is a list of figures that are related to the order on a Rhetoric.ByU site. However, it is not so much playful as much as it is classical.

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  • Perhaps the rules have changed, but requests for resources are off-topic on ELU (and answering them encourages further off-topic questions). May 4, 2022 at 10:34

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