Slip of the Tongue: ‘exotic spresm’

Vince Cable should perhaps leave sexual innuendos to others after fluffing his lines at the Liberal Democrats’ conference on Tuesday. Cable had intended to say that the Tories were locked in an ‘erotic spasm’ over Brexit, but instead the words came out as ‘exotic spresm’ producing an interesting slip.

The slip in line 03 (or speech error) could be classed as a word substitution plus phoneme preservation. The word ‘exotic’ substitutes for the intended target ‘erotic’ and then the /r/ phoneme from ‘erotic’ is preserved into the second word to produce ‘spresm’ rather than ‘spasm’.

01 years of economic pain
02 justified by
03 the exotic spresm
04 of leaving the European Union

External link to clip

  • Target expression: ‘erotic spasm’
  • Classification: Word substitution + phoneme preservation


Here’s a tongue twister to help you practice these terms!

If speaking an erotic spasm spawns an exotic spresm, can an erratic speech spawn an economic schism?

Sky News, 18th September 2018




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