Monday, March 05, 2007

Names for words

While preparing for some quiz questions for you, I came across an interesting list of names for peculiar words in English. Thought I would put them up all at one place in a short definition for to get a quick hand of their meaning.

An ambigram, also sometimes known as an inversion, is a graphical figure that spells out a word not only in its form as presented, but also in another direction or orientation.

An anagram (Greek ana- = "back" or "again", and graphein = "to write") is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce other words, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., Silver-haired congenial scum : Louise is clever and charming. Someone who creates anagrams is called an anagrammist.

Holorime (or holorhyme) is a form of rhyme in which the rhyme encompasses an entire line or phrase. A holorime may be a couplet or short poem made up entirely of homophonous verses.

A kangaroo word is a word that contains letters of another word, in order, with the same meaning. For example: the word masculine contains the word male, which is a synonym of the first word. Similarly, the word observe contains its synonym see.

A pangram (Greek: pan gramma, "every letter"), or holoalphabetic sentence, is a sentence which uses every letter of the alphabet at least once. Pangrams are used, like lorem ipsum, to display typefaces and test equipment. For example, the pangram The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog was developed by Western Union to test Telex/TWX data communication equipment for accuracy and reliability.

A spoonerism is a play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched. It is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency.

A phonetic palindrome is a portion of sound or phrase of speech which is identical or roughly identical when reversed.

Some phonetic palindromes must be mechanically reversed, involving the use of sound recording equipment or reverse tape effects. Another, more abstract type are words which are identical to the original when separated into their phonetic components (according to a system such as the International Phonetic Alphabet) and reversed.

In English, certain written palindromes also happen to be phonetic palindromes, particularly monosyllabic ones such as mom, dad, and pip. However, this does not guarantee that a reversed recording of any of these words will sound identical to non-reversed speech, because certain pronunciations can cause a shift in the articulation of the vowel, differentiating the beginning from the end in its pitch.