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

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 V.M. Burns, Steal Away

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


Two new books for WWK members: Jennifer J. Chow's Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines (look for the interview on WWK on 11/11) and Judy Penz Sheluk's Where There's A Will. Both books will be released on November 10.

For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Judy Penz Sheluk, publisher of Superior Shores Press, has just announced a Call For Submissions to its third multi-author anthology. Details can be found here: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/superior-shores-press/moonlight/


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.