September 28, 2009

Proposal for a new kind of slang following the pattern "metal fork" for "metaphor."

The idea is to replace boring abstract words with very specific concrete things that sound pretty close to the original word. I'd like to build on the single example of "metal fork" for "metaphor."

This idea is based on a recent mishearing. Did I hear "metaphor" and think I heard "metal fork" or was it the other way around? If you want the answer to that question, imagine the breakfast table conversations chez Meadhouse and cull through all the many things that have been discussed on this blog since last January.

46 comments:

rhhardin said...

Little Red Riding Hood, every word a substitute.

David Wharton said...

Walker Percy had the same idea in his essay, "Metaphor as Mistake" in Message in the Bottle. One he particularly liked was "seabird" for a Seeburg jukebox.

Triangle Man said...

This seems somewhat similar to cockney rhyming slang. For example, "investment banker" as slang for "wanker".

Anonymous Blogger said...

This, unfortunately, would not constitute slang. It would be a complex word game, not an informal mode of speech.

muddimo said...

simile = silly me
freedom = free dome
transfer = trance fur

wv is sterion
But now I listen to music over the Internet, so it is mostly off.

Joan said...

Triangle Man beat me to it -- this proposal reminds me of Cockney rhyming slang. I love his example!

rhhardin said...

Simile and the world similes with you.

Metaphor and you metaphor alone.

Lem said...

If you see a metalfork in the road, dont drive over it.

Michael E. Lopez said...

Metaphor.... but I liked the three better.

Seriously, there already is a kind of slang like this. It's called illiteracy.

LarsPorsena said...

I was watching "Total Recall" with the Governator the other day.

The closed captioning rendered the word 'hologram' as 'hold on to them".

Lem said...

its also a kind of bilingual pun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilingual_pun

Lem said...

I remember soon after we got here my father had some people over for dinner and he said in english to somebody "let mi see that"..(my parents call me lemy) so I asked... "que si que papi"... people started laughing uncontrollably.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I saw some spam the other day that said "tell or your friends".

kristinintexas said...

Reminds me of Mad Gab. I kill at that game.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

all your base.

goyomarquez said...

Shouldn't that be, Mental Fork

miller said...

I realize this is a "fun" topic, but if the purpose of communication is to, well, communicate, this doesn't meet that end.

WV: stolize, to soak in Russian vodka

lohwoman said...

"I-thought-you-said-itis," cured in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald. Subject of my first school book report, back in third grade. I thought that chapter worthy of special mention.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

From a student's paper many years ago.. trying to write scapegoat, wrote "escape goat".

Lem said...

"Satin Lives"

Michael Hasenstab said...

I never metaphor I didn't like.

As any single man knows, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't lead a horticulture.

grandrants said...

From my mis-spent youth comes a good example: a friend was trying to say something about giving someone the benefit of the doubt, but what came out was, "the bennet of the dot."

From then on, the phrase "benefit fo the doubt" dissapeared from my vocabulary to be replaced with "bennet of the dot", occasionally to the confusion of later friends and/or colleagues.

It's really a very useful phrase.

chickenlittle said...

Must be read with an eye-talian accent:

One day I a go to America and stay ata bigga hotel.

Ona the first day I go down to eat soma breakfast.

I tella the waiter I wanna two piss toast.

He bringa me only onea piss........

I tella him I wanna two piss....

He say, go to the toilet.

I say you no unnerstan'. I wanna two piss ona my plate.....

He say you better no piss ona a plate you sonna ma bitch!

I don't even know the man and he calla me sonna ma bitch!!....

Later, I go to eata soma dinner at another restaurant....

The waitress bringa spoon, ana knife, but no fock.....

I say I wanna 'fock'.....

She tella me everybody wanna fork....

I say, you no unnerstan'...I wanna fock on the table.

She say you better not fock on the table you sonna ma bitch!

I don't even know the woman an' she calla me sonna ma bitch!

So I go back to my hotel, an' there's no sheet on my bed....

I calla the manager an' tella him I wanna sheet on the bed.

He say you better not sheet on the bed, you sonna ma bitch.

I don't even know the man an' he calla me sonna ma bitch!!

So I go to check out and the man at the desk, he say peace to you....

I say piss onna you too, you sonna ma bitch!!

I ama gonna back to Italy.....

Pi Guy said...

Can you imagine what this would do to the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas"?

pst314 said...

Remember the journalist who, hearing a scholar (or was it a politician?) describe some radicals as "Jacobins" transcribed the comment as "jackal bins"?

peter hoh said...

You can try to spoon feed ideas, but sarcasm cuts like a knife.

A well-wrought metal fork, of course, helps readers pick up something that they can chew on for a while.

John Lynch said...

Well, the Sumerians did base the first writing on puns like that.

Sheepman said...

Old timers = Alzheimer's

Stephen said...

Not precisely the point of your post, but related: in honor of William Safire, it's time to introduce your readers--not you, of course--to the term "mondegreen". From Wikipedia:

A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that yields a new meaning to the phrase.

Jon Carroll of the SF Chronicle has been writing about mondegreens for 15 years. Examples: Tony Orlando's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Roast Beef", the Christmas favorite "round John virgin mother and child", and Simon & Garfunkel's "partially saved was Mary and Tom".

Lem said...

Politics = pool-o-ticks

ricpic said...

The thing that I find so amazing about cockney rhyming slang is that the user assumes the reference - for example T-Man's investment banker = wanker - will be understood by his target audience.

Actually, when talking about cockney slang the past tense should be employed. But apparently there was a time when enough working class Brits understood the references to make it a viable code.

ricpic said...

My mondegreens when I was a kid:

The Star Spangled Banana

The middle of the alphabet: ello menno pee

Fred4Pres said...

bullshit for blotivator

Charity said...

"imagine the breakfast table conversations chez Meadhouse"

That could be a blog all its own - Imagined daily Meadhouse breakfast conversations.

BJM said...

@muddimoe, those are oronyms, multiple word homophones.

Homophones: allowed = aloud

Would Meadhouse be a retronym?

Steven said...

Sofa King

Gregg said...

I think Althouse might have heard "metaphoric".

Old RPM Daddy said...

A friend of mine said that, when she was a little girl, she read a newspaper story and wondered why so-and-so was convicted of "man's laughter." She must have thought laughter was a pretty serious crime.

wv: "bousnes" -- What Mickey Mouse goes into with a marketing degree? Hell, I don't know!

Meade said...

“Using a metal fork in a nonstick pan?”

You sing a metaphor in Uzbekistan?

Chris said...

New Slang is a pretty great song and easy to learn to play on the guitar.

J said...

Don't forget the books written on this very topic, "S'cuse me, while I kiss this guy..."
"I've got... two chickens to paralyze..."
Try www.kissthisguy.com for more.

OTOH, it seems we all misheard Candidate Obama and his Jedi Media Master-it's like being stuck in a bizarro universe where 'yes' means 'no' and *I'm* the jerk for not knowing it.

TW: Mxyzptlk. As in Mr. Mxyzptlk. (Don't call him Kltpzyxm.)

Freddy Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Methadras said...

I like Metafork personally.

Norm N. Conquest said...

Italian accent jokes -- can't beat 'em. Like the bossy train conductor telling his passenger -- no smoke-a, no drink-a, Nofolk-a Virginia. Or the sexiest woman on the world, Virginia Pippelini.

BlogDog said...

I went out looking for a 10. But I only met a 4.