When I was a student back in the early 1980s I lived in digs with
an extraordinary family, the Johnsons. The closest I can get to
describing what they were like without going into details
is The Simpsons.
Early on, I noticed that the husband (whom I shall call R, so as
not to embarrass him) and the wife (L, ditto) were regular generators
of malapropisms. It wasn't just they that did it: I remember A, L's mother, pointing
at a camp TV presenter and announcing gravely "That man is a
homo sapien", for example. However, R and (especially) L were in
a league of their own. The difference was that I could say to A,
"No, we're all homo sapiens! I'm a homo spaien, you're a homo sapien..."
then, after watching the mounting horror in her face, add, "you mean
he's a homosexual". With R and L
when I pointed out their mistakes they would just stare blankly; as far
as they were concerned, what they'd said was correct! There
lies a source of malapropisms rare and special...
All the following are 100% genuine malapropisms, as said by R and
L at various times in my hearing. There were hundreds more, but these
are the ones I made a note of at the time.
L: I love that TV programme, The Biotic Man.
L (Watching a town crier on TV): Olé! Olé!
L: I love listening to that London Cynthia Orchestra.
R & L: Angular Television
[It's "Anglia Television", the regional station that serves
Colchester. I pointed out this mistake many times, but they never once
pronounced it "Anglia", always "Angular"].
L (pointing at a pendant): Isn't that an expensive
pendulum round that man's neck?
L: I know him! He used to ride horses in a radio.
L: She has to go to hospital for a GCE.
[L said this about R's mother within a minute of my meeting
them. She meant an Electro-Encephalogram (EEG) rather than
a General Certificate of Education (GCE)].
L: He had to use a fire distinguisher.
[My personal favourite].
L: They threw him through a crate glass window.
L: We'll have to go to the laundryette.
R (reading a letter out loud): "We forget to inform you...".
L: He's possessed by her.
L: I love the smell of coronations.
R: No respect to you, but students have it easy.
[That would be "disrespect", R...].
L: He works on an oil rig in the National Arab Embassy.
[She meant the United Arab Emirates].
R (laughing): They're a bunch of chamaeleons at work...
L: He's erupted the entire family!
R: Their lounge is on the second storage.
L: It's so hot I could fake out.
R: She has a part-time job with Age Consent.
[That's Age Concern...].
R (Describing their son's poor report for English at school): He doesn't write very good competitions.
L: Ooh! He's got into that lady's bougeois!
L: The rector's giving Holy Community.