Wednesday, 4 February 2015

On being married to Mrs Malaprop...

Sheridan's 18th century play The Rivals introduced the world to Mrs Malaprop, who in turn gave us the word Malapropism: the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance (thanks Wikipedia!).

More recently (well, in the 20th century anyway) the late, great Hylda Baker made a career of malapropisms:

"I can say this without any fear of contraception...."

Mrs Pendragon is also a Malaprop. She is a very clever woman (and readers of this blog may recall some of her flashes of brilliance concerning our beloved hobby). Indeed I think Malapropism may be an illness, a bit like Dyslexia. Her utterances amuse the family greatly, not least because she doesn't always realise what she's come out with. She insists that she is so busy thinking three or four sentences ahead (like a linguistic snooker player) that she often goes awry with the present sentence. For example, most of us are aware of the phrase 'like a bull at a gate' to indicate aggressive impetuosity.

Mrs Pendragon invariable mangles this to 'like a bull at a gun!' I can hear the word 'bullet' in there so sort of understand how the phrase comes about. Doesn't make it right though! We've also heard how much I love the dessert 'Key Lamb Pie.....'

Or how about an edict or plan that can be changed at a later date?  As in 'It's not carved in stone?'
'It's not written in snow' she pronounces. Oh yes it is:

I was recently gifted two tickets to a luxury dining experience on Spit Bank Fort. This is one of Palmerston's Follies that sits in the Solent, guarding the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, that has now been converted to a plush hotel. No doubt the experience will form another entry on this blog, as it includes a tour of the fort.

The other night, amidst a group of friends, and in all innocence, Mrs P asked 'When are we going to Spit Roast Tower?'  Priceless, though in my mind, not up to her best utterance ever:

She was trying on a fetching pair of striped pyjamas and I ventured the opinion that she looked like a sexy pirate. She wiggled enticingly and as her brain searched desperately for the piratical phrase 'Shiver me timbers', she managed to utter something that has passed into family legend, and has since made it onto both gimmicky birthday cards and t-shirts:
'Jimmy me cymbals' she said!
Until next time.......

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