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256 language/english/pronunciation/oronym.p


This article is from the Puzzles FAQ, by Chris Cole chris@questrel.questrel.com and Matthew Daly mwdaly@pobox.com with numerous contributions by others.

256 language/english/pronunciation/oronym.p

List some oronyms (phrases or sentences that can be read in two ways
with the same sound).


    a name		an aim
    a nice man		an ice man
    a notion		an ocean
    append		up end
    bang cat		bank at
    be quiet		Beek Wyatt
    bean ice		be nice
    bee feeder		beef eater
    beer drips		beard rips
    buys ink		buy zinc
    catch it		cat shit
    catch ooze		cat chews
    Cato		Kay toe
    damn pegs		damp eggs
    field red		feel dread
    forced air		four stair
    fork reeps		four creeps
    form ate		four mate
    freed Annie		free Danny
    grade A		gray day
    grasp rice		grass price
    great ape		grey tape
    her butter		herb utter
    hiatus		Hy ate us
    homemaker		hoe-maker
    I scream		ice cream
    I stink		iced ink
    it sprays		it's praise
    it swings		its wings
    keep sticking	keeps ticking
    known ocean		no notion
    lawn chair		launch air
    may cough		make off
    new Deal		nude eel
    new direction	nude erection
    night rate		nitrate
    pawn shop		paunch op
    peace talks		pea stalks
    pinch air		pin chair
    play taught		plate ought
    plum pie		plump eye
    scar face		scarf ace
    seal eyeing		see lying
    see Mabel		seem able
    see the meat	see them eat
    seize ooze		see zoos
    sick squid		six quid
    slide rule		sly drool
    standards-based	standard-spaced
    stay dill		stayed ill
    that's tough	that stuff
    the suns rays meet	the sons raise meat
    thing call		think all
    tour an		two ran
    tulips		two lips
    twenty six ones	twenty sick swans
    we'll own		we loan
    well done other	weld another
    white shoes		why choose
    yelp at		yell Pat
    your crimes		York rhymes
    youth read		you thread

A politician's fate often hangs in a [delicate / delegate] balance.
Any [grey day/grade A] would be bad news for one professor I know.
Are you aware of the words you have [just uttered / just stuttered]?
He would kill Hamlet for [that reason / that treason].
How did you do in the [contest / Kant test]?
I don't know how [mature/much your] people enjoy such a show.
I have [known oceans/no notions] that you yourself couldn't imagine.
I like [sadder day/ Saturday].
If you listen you can hear the [night rain / night train].
I'm taking [a nice / an ice] cold shower.
Oh, no! [This guy/The sky] is falling!
Reading in the library is sometimes [allowed / aloud].
[Some others / Some mothers] I've seen...
That reflects the [secretariat's sphere / secretariat's fear] of competence.
That's the [biggest hurdle / biggest turtle] I've ever seen!
The [stuffy nose / stuff he knows] can lead to problems.
Where is the [spice center / spy center]?
[White shoes: / Why choose] the trademark of Pat Boone[./?]
You'd be surprised to see a [mint spy / mince pie] in your bank.

See also:
the archive entry "telegrams"


Barry, W J, 1981, Internal Juncture and Speech Communication,
Arbeitsberichte. Institut fu"r Phonetik. University of Kiel. Vol 16.

Brandreth, Giles, _The Joy of Lex_, 1980, New York: William Morrow and Co.,
pp. 58-59, who coined the word "oronym"

Cutler & Butterfield, Rhythmic Cues to Speech Segmentation. Evidence
from juncture misperception, 1992, Journal of Memory and Language, Vol
31(2) 218-236 Provides materials in context frames where the
alternative segmentations lead to one Vs two word parsings: in furs Vs

Grice, Martine and Hazan, Valerie, 1989, The assessment of synthetic
speech intelligibility using semantically unpredictable sentences,
Speech, Hearing and Language, Work in Progress, University College
London. The inferior quality of the synthetic speech often caused more
than one type of error at once (bright eye -> dry tie).

Hoard, James E., `Juncture and syllable structure', Phonetica 15,
1966, 96-109

Hockett, Charles F. Hockett, _A Course in Modern Linguistics_, New York:
Macmillan, 1958, 54-61

Lehiste, Ilse. 1960. An acoustic-phonetic study of internal open
juncture. Phonetica 5 (supplement). pp. 5-54.

Nakatani L. H. & Dukes, K.D., 1977, Locus of Segmental Cues to Word
Juncture, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol 62, pp
714-719 and

Price P, Ostendorf M, Shattuck-Huffnagel S & Fong C (1991) "The use of
prosody in syntactic disambibuation" JASA 90 (6) pp2956-2970. It has
some good examples,


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