17 June 2009

'Sound-formed errors' and humour

Last December, I suggested that Gordon Brown’s gaffe when he said that he’d saved the world was probably the result of what Gail Jefferson, one of the founders of conversation analysis, referred to as a ‘sound-formed error’ – because there were four ‘wuh-’ sounds in quick succession just before the word ‘world’ popped out of his mouth – which he quickly corrected to ‘banks’.

Whether or not it really was a ‘sound-formed error’, we shall never know for certain, but there's no doubt that it was a mistake that caused widespread amusement.

There’s also no doubt that you can sometimes use this type of error with deliberately humorous intent , as is nicely illustrated by whoever wrote this TV commercial for Berlitz language courses:


(Gail Jefferson's original paper on the subject is HERE, and many of her other publications can be downloaded from HERE).

1 comment:

Money Making Forum said...

Glad you are blogging! It looks great by the way. Haven't had time to read more of your essays yet, but I will when things are less hectic.
See you tomorrow!