If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied

Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Watch Your Tongue!


E.R. Dillon is a member of my long-standing on-line critique group. She shares my love of amusing use and misuse of the English language.


Watch Your Tongue!

by E.R. Dillon


Let’s try a fun experiment.

Was Kyle Shaw's father a traitor or a patriot?         

Read the words ‘red leather, yellow leather.’

“Easy,” you say.

Now, try saying ‘red leather, yellow leather’ aloud three times as quickly as you can without looking at the words.

Not so easy that time. Why?

Let’s try again. Say ‘rolling red wagons’ aloud three times as quickly as you can without looking at the words.

“But,” you say, “those are simple words. Why are they so hard to pronounce?”

Your brain processes information instantaneously, and your tongue is a nimble muscle. 

However, when words with similar sounds are spoken together, your brain transmits a signal to your tongue faster than your tongue can obey.[i] The result is a tongue twister.

Are ritualist killings the work of druids or        
something more sinister?

But sometimes the tongue stumbles over words that are not tongue twisters. What then?

Talking too fast can cause stumbling speech or make a sentence sound like one long word. The solution: speak more slowly. Your tongue needs that extra instant to respond to your brain’s signal.

When you are alone, practice reading aloud slowly. Pronounce each syllable clearly. Not only will your speech patterns improve, but your reading skills will improve, too.

What about specific troublesome words, like ‘s’ words spoke with a lisping ‘th’ sound, or perhaps ‘r’ words coming out with a ‘w’ sound? What can be done?

Speech therapists[ii] suggest making an effort to pronounce difficult words correctly. Once you have mastered correct pronunciation, practice saying the word aloud in front of a mirror. Don’t practice when you are tired. When you are comfortable saying a difficult word properly, use that word in everyday speech to embed the correct pronunciation in your memory.

But wait!  There’s more.

Along with tongue twisters and lisps, there are also slips of the tongue known as spoonerisms[iii] (spoon’er-iz-ems).

Spoonerisms were named after Reverend William A. Spooner (1844-1930) of Oxford, England.

Is the dead man behind the brickwork a victim    
 or a victimizer?   

 Reverend Spooner was famous for mixing up his words and phrases without knowing it. The results were, and are still, amusing. One time, while officiating at a wedding, Reverend Spooner prompted a hesitant groom by saying, “It is now kisstomary to cuss the bride.” What he meant was, “It is now customary to kiss the bride.” And while praying at chapel, Reverend Spooner said, “Our Lord is a shoving leopard,” when he meant, “Our Lord is a loving shepherd.”  Even today, we use a spoonerism without knowing it: Butterfly. The original name for that winged creature was Flutter-by.

So, if you should ever be called upon to say ‘real rock wall’ or ‘fresh fruit slush’ aloud quickly three times in a row, don’t get your tang in a tungle. Take a deep breath and speak slowly, or better still, smile and politely decline.

[i].    Fromkin, Victoria A. of University of California, Los Angeles, Slips of the Tongue: Windows to the Mind, “Spoonerisms”: 2001


[ii].   Casserly, Carol, MA, CCC-SLP Newton, NJ, Carol’s Speech and Language Disorders Homepage – Articles, “Speech Therapy”: 2001


[iii].  Reverend Spooner’s Tips of the Slung, Reader’s Digest: February 1995


E.R. Dillon is the author of the Deputy Kyle Shaw Mysteries, set in 13th Century Scotland.



Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Fun and interesting!

Susan said...

Now this was entertaining!

Jim Jackson said...

I had never heard the butterfly story before.

Shari Randall said...

So much fun! Like Jim, I'd never heard the butterfly story before.

Virgina Kelly said...

I much prefer Flutter By. :-) Thanks for teaching me something so fun!

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for joining us for our "fun with the language" session today!

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Haha! Love this post. Great examples of tongue twisters and Spoonerism.