Slips of the Tongue

Some slips of the tongue (speech errors) for analysis. Latest ones on top.

20. Bernard Jenkins (work /worse)

Bernard Jenkins on BBC Newsnight commenting on the Brexit deal negotiated between Johnson’s government and the EU:

we didn't suddenly kick over the table
and say that's it 
we're tearing it up
►we tried to make it worse
work
but the erm
the fundamental point is

BBC Newsnight, 11th October 2021 /Tweet link

19. Paul Begala (bridge /bitch)

You always know when you have a name like the ‘Brent Spense Bridge’ that someone is going to trip up on its name some day but you don’t expect them to do it in such a sublime way as Paul Begala did on Cuomo Prime Time on CNN:

01 PB: not (.) to help the the
02     one thousand people
03     er who died last year
04     in his commonwealth opioids
05     not (.) not to fix the Brent Spense bridge
►06     which is the second busiest bitch
07     bridge in America
08     second only to George Washington bridge 
09     up in your part of the world 
10     ...

External link to clip

The participants did well to keep a straight face and Begala hardly flinched as he corrected the slip.

Source: CNN 3rd June 2021 Cuomo Prime Time about 6 mins.

18. Peter Bone (Eustice /Useless)

It must be difficult having a name like ‘Eustice’. It is so close to being ‘useless’ and when it is early in the morning then not everyone is going to get it right.

►01 PB: er George Useless I think erm
02     was also not correct
03 INT: George Eustice I think 
04     I think you might have been er
05     a bit of a 
06     nickname
07 PB: it is early in the morning 
08 Radio 4 Today 19/5/2021

External link to clip

17. Justin Webb (planet/panel)

Here’s a nice pair of slips that are almost mirror images of each other. One occurred at the start of an interview on Radio 4 and the other at the end about five minutes later.

..
01 and Professor Myles Allen as well
02 head of the climate dynamics groups at er
03 Oxford University 
04 who served in the UN's 
►05 intergovernmental planet er planet panel 
06 ((chuckles)) on climate change
07 and is dubbed the physicist behind net zero
08 morning to you both
..
(about 5 min later)
..
09 professor Myles Allen
10 and er Barroness Brown as well
11 thank you both very much 
12 and I should say
►13 thirty nine ways to save the planel
14 planet is er on
15 it's running all this week
..

External link to clip

16. Boris Johnson (crisis /speaker)

01 some people mister speaker 
02 on er some people 
03 have said that this is a good crisis
04 mister speaker
05 some people have said this is a good crisis
06 some people have said
07 some people have said 
08 er that this crisis 
09 is a gift that keeps on giving 
►10 mister crisis
11 er mister speaker 
12 ((chamber laughter))
13 er er xx 
14 those people sit on the labour front bench

External link to clip

  • classification: word substitution
  • target speaker
  • actual: crisis

15. Bridget Simmons

01 we will continue to do that
►02 we'll work with the gavernment
03 and we will work with the gambling commission
04 but we are very much welcome this new code

External link to clip

  • classification: phoneme anticipation
  • target: government /gʌvəmənt/
  • actual: gaverment /gævəmənt/
  • (radio 4 Today 2 Feb 2021 about 8:58)

14. Jayne Secker

01 this is sky news today
02 coming up next er
03 England's chief deputy medical
►04 deputy cha- (.) de-
05 I'll start again
06 England's deputy chief medical officer
07 we got there
08 reassure the public 
09 that safety standards
10 will not be compromised

External link to clip

13. Emily Maitlis (hell/Hull)

01 Labour's former health secretary
02 Alan Johnson er joins us 
►03 down the line (.) from hell er
04 from Hull
05 er Alan Johnson ((laughs))
06 I'm never gonna recover from that
07 now am I
08 erm
09 you know what it's like
10 to be health secretary 
11 during a crisis
BBC Newsnight, 22nd September 2020

External link to clip

12. David Pawson (Preacher)

01 but this is the story I heard
02 and it took place in America (0.7)
03 in a theological cemetery
►04 I’m sorry theological seminary (0.7)
05   ((laughter))
06 seminary (2.5)
07 Freudian slip
08  ((laughter))

External link to clip

YouTube (about 32 mins)

11. Ken Clark (‘frinding free’)

01 and going into to lockdown's
02 easier than coming out of it
03 and actually
04  (1.2)
►05 f- frinding free money
06 er actually producing 
07 borrowing and printing
08 er vast sums of money 
09 in order to save people's jobs
10 makes you quite popular

External link to clip

  • Classification: phoneme anticipation

10. Andrew Neil (Joris/Boris)

The Andrew Neil Interviews, BBC, 4th December 2019
01 AN: you've ruled out
►02     working with both Joris
03     Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn
04     in a hung parliament
05     so (.) what would the Lib Dems do if there was deadlock
06     you'd just sit on your hands

External link to clip

  • Classification: phoneme anticipation

9. Dianne Abbott (privatising /nationalising)

Here is an example of a slip of the tongue which is corrected by another person in the discourse. We normally correct our own slips, but in this case, Dianne Abbott’s slip in line 02 was corrected by the host of the show, Chris Mason (CM), in line 04. There is then some ensuing laughter and a comment from Mason on the slip.

BBC Any Questions, 15th Nov 2019 (about 19 mins)
01 DA: we believe th- 
►02    yes by privatising
02     er some of BT
►04 CM: nationalising (0.6)
05 DA: nationalising ((laughs))
06 Audience: ((laughs))
07 DA: by national-
08 CM: I thought there was a big U-turn
09     happening in front of our eyes
10 DA: yeah yeah
11 CM: er I I should have let you finish that sentence
12 DA: you should have let me finish
13 CM: and not picked you up on it
14 DA: by nation- by nationalising part of BT

External link to clip

  • Classification: word substitution

8. Democrafic /Democratic

Camilla Tominey on Politics Live, 5th November 2019.

01 Ed
02 what about the democrafic 
03 er demo- er
04 democratic growth loss
05 of revoking the referendum

External link to clip

  • deməkræfɪk
  • deməkrætɪk

7. Betrayal /Portrayal

An interesting slip of the tongue by Andrew Marr on his Sunday show in line 05 below. Marr meant to say ‘portrayal’ but actually said ‘betrayal’. He had just finished interviewing the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in which they had discussed the use of language in politics. ‘Betrayal’ was one of the words they had discussed (but 20 minutes earlier) and it seems like this word was primed in memory and ready to interfere when Marr moved to the next item. Marr didn’t try to correct this mistake which is unusual since most speakers do hesitate and repair. ‘Betrayal’ and ‘portrayal’ are phonologically similar which might also account for the slip.

  • betrayal /bɪˈtreɪəl/
  • portrayal /pɔːˈtreɪəl/
Andrew Marr, BBC, 29th September 2019
01 in a career that's seen her crowned with every possible honour
02 Dame Helen Miren
03 is no stranger to monarchy
04 she won an Oscar of course in two thousand and six
05 for her betrayal of the Queen

External link to clip

Older slips ===>

6. Beth Rigby

Adam Boulton, Sky TV, 4th July 2019
01 and Beth is rigby now er
02 Beth Rigby is with me now ((laughs))
03 er er Beth er

External link to audio

5. Jeremy *unt

Victoria Derbyshire, BBC One, 10th June 2019
01: Steve Bryne
02: you say that the the man that you're backing
03: Jeremy Cunt
04: I'm so sorry
05: Jeremy Hunt 
06: I've never said that before in my life
07: it's usually men who say that 
08: so I really really want to apologise
09: I'm sorry

External link to audio

4. Chris fifth

BBC Radio 4 : talking about Chris Froome
01: well it's good to hear you say that
02: because he's thirty four now isn't he
03: and in terms of winning a Chris
04: er er er a fifth erm title
05: which he really craved in the Tour de France
06: riders rarely do it at that age

External link to audio

3. When Larry met Gary (Jon Snow)

Speech error is in line 06:

Jon Snow (Channel 4 News)
01 at Whitehall
02 the Conservative and Labour Brexit talks
03 started again (.) after the Easter Break
04 but (.) our political editor Gary Gibbon
05 is in the commons
06 Larry
07 er Gary
08 tell me this
09 is (.) Mrs May bracing herself for a erm
10 challenge in the summer do you think?

External link to clip

2. Kirsty Wark

The slip occurs in line 04 when Wark starts to utter the word ‘Instagram’ instead of ‘Amsterdam’. Wark recognises her error in 05 and corrects it in 06.

Kirsty Wark (Newsnight)
01 Amy Orben is a lecture for Oxford University
02 specializing in the effects of hu-
03 social media on human interaction (.)
04 she joins us from Insta-
05 er from Instagram (.)
06 from Amsterdam ((laughs))
07 thank you both very indeed for (joining us)
...

External link to clip

This is classified as a word substitution speech error but there are interesting phonological similarities between the word which suggest why the slip might have been made. In IPA the two words can be written thus:

  • /æm.stə.dæm/
  • /ɪn.stə.ɡræm/

Both have three syllables with the stress on the first syllable. The middle syllable is the same and the final syllables rhyme.

  • Classification: Word substitution due to phonological similarity

1. BBC News Reader

The slip occurs in line 04 ‘Tump’ when the target was ‘Trump’. This is repaired in line 05 before the news reader moves on.

BBC News Reader (radio 4 Today programme)
01 the Brazilian president (.) Jair Bolsonaro
02 will meet Donald Trump
03 for talks at the White House later today
04 an outspoken admirer of President Tump
05 (0.2) Trump (.)
06 Mr Bolsonaro
07 has said he’s seeking a new era
08 of close relations with the U.S.
...

External link to clip (audio)

harley_speech_errors
Classification of Speech Errors (Harley 2014)

1. BBC Radio 4, Today programme, 19th March 2019
2. BBC Newsnight, 1st February 2019

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0c1stn6/newsnight-01022019

3. Channel 4 News, 23rd April 2019 (about 41 mins)

7. The Andrew Marr Show, BBC, 29th September 2019

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