The unintended pun in everyday life.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mrs. Malaprop and Unintended Puns

You remember Mrs. Malaprop, the fictional character who always mixed up words to hilarious effect. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about "Malapropism":
The word "malapropism" comes from the French "mal à propos" meaning "inappropriate", and was personified by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in his comedy The Rivals (1775) as "Mrs. Malaprop", a character who habitually misused her words, while Dogberryism comes from "Officer Dogberry," the name of a character in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing who also makes this kind of error. These are the two best-known fictional characters who make this kind of error--there are many other examples. Malapropisms also occur as errors in natural speech. Malapropisms are often the subject of media attention, especially when made by politicians or other prominent individuals. When used intentionally, malapropisms can be an example of irony.[citation needed] The philosopher Donald Davidson has noted that malapropisms show how complex the process is by which the brain translates thoughts into language.
I highlighted a couple of the sentences, given that one of the purposes of this blog is to explore the neuro-electro-mechanical origins of Unintended Puns. I suspect that malapropisms have much the same origin as Unintended Puns, as we have discussed in many past posts, and therefore could be researched in much the same way.

I'll leave you with a pun from a sports article forum. It's the kind we love here at the Pun Forum in that beyond just being a simple pun, it expresses a truth as it makes the pun--enriching the sentence in a way the writer did not intend, and perhaps would not understand without an explanation.

January 2, 2013 I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, so I follow the Cleveland professional sports teams. Earlier this year, the Browns pursued Chip Kelly to become their next head coach. In an article entitled Browns have sights on Oregon's Chip Kelly (the article is no longer on Yahoo's site), a commenter, obviously a Browns fan, below the article said: "I will go with the flow and let the chips fall where they may. Wears me out hoping and wishing."

Please post your Unintended Puns, or give us your ideas on how they happen.