Oops! How's that again

Lesson 16

Oops! How's that again?  By Roger Rosenblatt




People do multiple mistakes while using verbal language. Verbal errors create misunderstanding and negative effects up on the listeners. Do, humorously Rosenblatt muck over the human follies created through spoken language. Rosenblatt categorizes verbal errors into four different groups. First one is public blunders, for e.g. Nancy Reagan told her husband that she was highly delighted looking at all the beautiful white people although there were many blacks also. This speech humiliated black people. Second verbal error is mistranslation. for example, the slogan "Come alive with Pepsi” when translated into German as "Come alive out of the grave with Peps” and elsewhere it was translated as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the gate”. Third mistake of spoken language is ‘bloopers' often made on radio or TV. Once radio announcer Harry von Zell called Hoobert Heever for the president Herbert Hoover. Bloopers are the lowlife of verbal error and he became the part of toilet jokes. The fourth error is 'spoonerisms such as you are blessed all my mystery lectures' but in reality, it means you have missed all my history lectures.


Rosenblatt says that virtual error is natural tendency of human being. Its main cause is slip of the tongue. Such slip of tongue is the expression of inner desires for psychoanalysis. Sometimes verbal error is caused because of misunderstanding. When single matter is repeated regularly, it can be twisted differently. Mistranslation is next cause of verbal error. Vertu error creates humor. Sometimes # damages personal dignity also. Verbal errors also affect our actions crates misunderstanding miscommunication. We can just show sympathy in such condition.

Short Answer Questions


1.What are the four types of verbal errors? Why do we commit them? [5]


2075 Partial D Q.No.5c, 2075 Set B Q.No.4c, 2075 Partial E Q.No.4c and 2075 Partial D Q.No.5c


"Oops! How's that Again?" is divided in to three major sections to give us the total understanding of the verbal errors: types of verbal errors, the causes of them and the reason we laugh at such errors It is written by an American writer, Roger Rosenblatt.


While illustrating the types of verbal errors, the Writer divides then into sips of the tongue, mistranslation, bloopers and Spoonerism and faux pas. He cites number of examples for each type of error committed by celebrities. A slip of the tongue refers to the verbal error which is relatively a minor error that takes place in course of conversation. He gives some of the instances when the great personalities like Nancy Regan, France's Prime Minister Raymond Barre and Businessman Peter Balfour etc. committed such errors. As for mistranslation, the writer explains that such errors result when different expressions are translated from one language into another. For instance, the slogan "Come Alive with Pepsi was translated in German as "Come Alive out of the Grave with Pepsi Germany's President Heinrich Lubke is one more example as a person known to have committed this type of error. Bloopers are embarrassing errors made in public. The writer gives the example of Radio Announcer Harry who announced the name of Herbert Hoover as Heaver on the radio. Spoonerisms are the errors committed when the syllables of the words get replaced with one another.


The writer presents the explanations or the causes based on the psychoanalytic theory and theory of linguistics Victoria from kin of the linguistics department at UCLA regards slips as dues about how the brain stores and articulates language. She believes that thought is placed by the brain into a grammatical framework before it is expressed in simple terms when we fail to translate our thoughts in the language, we commit error. Again Sigmund Freud, a great psychoanalysis, removed the element of accident from language with his explanation of slips as being the result of the operations of unconscious wishes A psychiatrist. Richard suggests that the incorrect words exist in associative chains with correct ones known as a kind of dream pair Errors result when incorrect word is articulated Psychoanalyst Ludwig suggests that a sip of tongue involves the entire network of id, ego and superego.


The writer points out different reasons for laughter at Such mistakes One of the reasons that conventional discourse is so predictable and boring that any deviation comes as delightful relief Another reason is our meanness it makes us laugh to see the embarrassment of the speaker Similarly the most charitable and optimistic thoughts of the blunderer cause laughter. For instance, Gerald Ford's famous error in 1976 that Poland was not under Soviet domination showed his optimistic thought about Poland's freedom in future and caused a pleasant taught. Sometimes the bizarre mistakes disclose whole new world of logic and possibility This also Causes laughter which is the most interesting one Finally there is sympathetic laugh that sees into the essential nature of a slip of the tongue with a perfect understanding.

2. Into what groups has Rosenblatt organized his numerous examples of verbal errors? List them with examples.[5]


2066 Q.No.5c Old, and 2074 Partial D Q.No.5a


Roger Rosenblatt's essay “Oops! How's That Again” categorizes the verbal errors. Rosenblatt has organized them into you COUPE public blunder memorable mistranslations, spoonerisms and faux pas. First be talks about public blunders e.g. Nancy Regan describes the voters as The beautiful white people secondly, the writers say about memorable mistranslation. Mistranslation accounts for a great share of verbal errors. Mostly while trying to translate the speech from one language to another such mistakes take place. The writer has given the striking example of the slogan "Come alive with Pepsi' Someone trying to translate it from English into German language happened to translate as "Come alive out of the grave with Pepsi Yet. another person translated it as 'Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave. The next type of verbal BQ is blooper A blooper is a public blunder or an embarrassment mistake Mostly, such mistakes are made on radio, television or perhaps in public speeches. For example, a radio announcer called "General Foods as General Fools' Bloopers are the low line of verbal errors. They consist of a large number of toilet jokes in place of saying "Herbert Hoover one says "Hoobert Heever. The fourth error is "Spoonerisms Spoonerism is the transposition of initial or other sounds of the words by mistake. The writer has given several examples of it. One example "You have hissed all my mystery lectures "You've tested the whole worm and must leave by the first town drain. In fact, the speaker wanted to say you have missed all my history lectures. In fact, you've wasted the whole time and must leave by the first down train Another short example is 'Our queer old dean (discipline maintaining teacher) instead of saying our dear old queen. The last type of verbal error is faux pas. Such mistakes are tactless mistakes. The striking example of such mistake is the welcome of the Indian president by asking who you are. Whereas, the man wanted to say, how are you?

3. Give an example of Spoonerism. (5)


2071 Set C Q.No.5c


Roger Rosenblatt essay, "Oops! How's That Again” humorously presents different types of verbal errors. One of them is Spoonerism. Spoonerism is caused because of the transposition or substitution of sounds to each other which is also known as accidental verbal error an accidental transposition of initial consonant sounds or other sounds of the words. The listeners have an amusing result of the error. The writer has given several examples of spooners in the essay. One example is - "You have hissed all my mystery lectures. "You’ve tested the whole worm and must leave by the first town dan in fact, the speaker wanted say you have missed my history lectures in fact, you've wasted the whole time and must leave by the first down train Another short example is Our queer old dean (discipline maintaining teacher instead of saying our dear old queen, Third example Rosenblatt gives is the Conquering Kings. Their title takes for conquering kings their titles take.

4. What explanation does Rosenblat advance for the human tendency to make verbal errors? is the reader meant to regard all of the theories with equal seriousness?


2071 SUPP Q.No.4c



Rosenblatt advances the human tendency of making verbal errors in the essay They make different verbal errors. Rosenblatt has organized them into four groups: public blunder, memorable mistranslations bloopers and spoonerisms. First, he talks about public blunders e.g. Nancy Regan describes the voters as “The beautiful white people" secondly, the writers say about memorable translation. This type of error is created when "Come alive with Pepsi" another verbal error is blooper is generally made on TV and radio programmers in place of saying "Herbert Hoover one says "Boobert Heever”. The fourth error is "Spoonerisms” once Spooner said to his students. "You have hissed at my mystery lectures" instead of "You have missed all my history lectures”.


The writer examines many reasons why the speaker makes such errors. Sigmund Freud, a psychiatrist, presents his theory about the verbal error in different way According to him, a tongue slips are caused by the network of id (unconscious mind), ego (subconscious mind) and superego (conscious mind According to the writer, slip of the tongue is the main cause of the mistakes (verbal errors). Slip of the tongue is like slip on the banana peels. The thoughts in our mind are put into the grammatical order before we express them. According to Freud, the slips or the verbal errors are caused by the speaker's inner desires. The tongue slips also because other types or verbal errors such as blooper (stupid mistakes) and spoonerism. The writer says that nothing is perfect and ever successful. It is human nature to make mistakes. Another reason is the linguistic one We have a grammatical framework at our mind. When we can't translate our thoughts on the proper grammatical structure, we commit errors Thoughts need to be properly replaced by the grammatical structures but many of the time we fail to select the proper grammar from our language acquisition device.


I don't think we have to take all the errors seriously Errors are natural. In our daily life, we make numerous verbal errors They become the cause of embarrassment, insult and sometimes just laughter. But most of the time we are not serious about it although they neem surprisingly interesting. But there are some like public blunders which should be taken seriously. They might damage the reputation and the system as a whole

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