22 January 2013

Triviality II: Wordplay

Rob's Note: Trivialities will now be only published on Tuesdays to be alliterative, i.e. "Triviality Tuesday". That being said, this won't be a weekly thing, because it is rather hard to write one of these. I'm not exactly sure why. I guess because I'm trying to make it interesting and factual, and that isn't exactly a strong suit of mine. Might as well be writing a bloody essay. That being said, here we go!

I love wordplay. The ability to manipulate words to your advantage, to twist them your way to create something new, to synthesize a fun phrase, to pass the time -- it's brilliant. I carry my notebook everywhere and on particularly boring jaunts to the store or dentist I'll start trying to make anagrams and stuff of the like.

Wordplay is rather fun and interesting, but not necessarily sensible. :) I've learned a lot recently about the etymology of English, not least from my never-ending Latin studies and the reading of one of Bill Bryson's excellent books, The Mother Tongue. Mr. Bryson is brilliant. He's one of my favorite authors. He manages to mix wit along with amazing trivial knowledge. His books (especially I'm A Stranger Here Myself) should be required reading. But I digress.

There are 3 different areas of wordplay I just love. They're rather unknown, except for anagrams, which are rather widespread. I won't cover puns and palindromes which are rather commonplace, and useless. (Who am I to call them useless? The other ones are rather useless also.) Eh, I'll briefly cover them.

Puns are just taking a word and making them into a sentence with the topic of your word. Some of the ones I've made are:

Decimals are pointless.
Is there any whey to make cheese and milk?

Yeah, I'm not necessarily good at it.

Palindromes I hate. I'm sorry. They're just so random, and they're very uncomprehensible, and palindrome isn't even a palindrome! It should be palindromemordnilap, a true palindrome. Spelled frontwards and backwards.

Some examples from the Web involve:

Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas!
Dennis and Edna sinned.
Madam, I'm Adam.

Anagrams is where the fun begins. I love these. They may not make sense all the time, but some do. Look at these.
Robert Miranda = Bernard M. Ratio (my true alias)
circumstantial evidence = can ruin a selected victim
The Morse Code = here come dots!
orchestra = carthorse

You get me? I love these! They're so awesome and cool.

Holorimes are cooler still. Two phrases that sound exactly the same.

I love you = isle of view

And there's one phrase, mentioned by Bill Bryson, that's a couplet, that follows the scheme. It does its best to be wacky. :)

"In Ayrshire hill areas, a cruise, eh, lass?"
"Inertia, hilarious, accrues, hélas!" ~Miles Kington, 1988

Then we have rebus puzzles. These are when you place words a certain way or something. Like if you were to type 'rainbow' and color each letter a different color of the rainbow. Not much to be said here but there are two examples for you.



The first one is small print, the second is John Underhill, Andover, Mass. Get it? Position of the words reveals. Bryson uses it a lot in his books to criticize the Postal Service. :)

There are also spoonerisms and malapropisms, but those are pretty basic and not much to be said there. Just substituting a word for another.

And that's your lesson for today. Now, go and out and turn the Earth into a more worldy word. :)

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