Spoonerism: a Creative Way of Communication in Thai

Abstract

 Spoonerism is a linguistic phenomenon in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched. In general, spoonerism exists in 2 manners: 1)an error in speech, which is unintentional and rare, 2)a form of word play, which is intentional and more frequent. Spoonerism in Thai, however, does exist and function in 2 more complicated and interesting manners: 1)potential taboo spoonerisms and their avoidance in polite register, 2)spoonerist languages, in which spoonerist process is made to each syllable. This study aims to describe "Luu", a spoonerist language spoken by limited users and by specific purposes.
 There are approximately 5 spoonerist languages in Thai, each spoonerist language may have some varieties due to regional factor. Luu is the most famous spoonerist language in Thai. The general morphological process of Luu consists of 4 steps: 1)put the word "Luu" in front of each syllable, 2)put the same tone of each syllable to the word Luu preceding, 3)put the same final consonant of each syllable (if any) to the word Luu preceding, 4)switch the vowels of the two syllables. Most of Luu speakers are lady boys and gay people. Most of them are fluent in Luu enough to listen and speak Luu as fast as Thai, and speaking fast is the common manner of speaking spoonerist languages. Luu is usually spoken in order to be understood only among their users, that's why it is often used in gossipy and impolite discourse in casual situations. Luu is also productive for any foreign word existing in any sentence.



Author Information
Wirat Siriwatananawin, Silpakorn University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2013
Stream: Asian Studies

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