Sunday, July 12, 2009

a bad attack of rabid punes

In Disc World, Death is fascinated by humans, and one aspect of humanity he’d like to participate in but consistently fails is the ability to make puns, or punes as he sometimes calls them.
Shakespeare loved Punes, in fact he’s been criticised for never passing up on the opportunity to make one. Punning taken to the limit is called Finnegans Wake. And if it was good enough for those two, I don’t need to apologise for liking them.

One type of pun now has a name: an oronym. Strings of sound that can be carved in to words in different ways. Dictionaries are silent on the matter but the example everyone seems to give is:
The stuffy nose can lead to problems
The stuff he knows can lead to problems.

However, my favourites are bilingual..the famous Mots d’Heures: Gousses, Rames
Even if you don’t speak French reading the following in your best fake French accent and thinking of well known nursery rhymes should make the joke obvious:

Un Petit d’un Petit
S’etonne aux halles
Un petit d’un petit
Ah! Degres te fallent .

So the challenge is to write something in English that has one sense and yet its sound creates another…

A lisp oak “Hein he Dead you
Too old Me Four Play sure
After six You will Act if it
He’s leaping.”

Hurm…might take some time here.


Unknown said...

I almost mis-read and saw a 'bad attack of rabid prunes'!

Yes, I remember Death being interested in punes too. The word 'oronym' looks very interesting - thanks for something new!

Liam Guilar said...

I still can't find the word anywhere except in the book I'm reading and on the internet. The oed doesn't have it, nor does the penguin dictionary of literary terms

Rabid prunes sound like something out of Alice...and to be avoided at all costs.

Marcus said...

What about the schoolboy rhyme:

She offered her honor,
He honored her offer --
And all night long it was
On her and off her.