Slips of the Tongue from the Linguistic Graveyard

One shit, two cunts and a Brexit breakfast!

A collection of intriguing, and occasionally shocking, speech bloopers by some of the best known speakers.

“The man that you’re backing, Jeremy Cunt. I’m so sorry, Jeremy Hunt. I’ve never said that before in my life.”

Victoria Derbyshire
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Of the 125 trillion words spoken around the world every day, approximately two in a thousand are uttered in error. That works out at 250 billion words a day! Most of these slips of the tongue are quickly repaired and retired to the linguistic graveyard unnoticed. A few may catch our attention and make us chuckle – if the speaker is some well-known personality, politician or presenter, they may even make the headlines.

Introducing the Linguistic Graveyard

This book dissects some of these linguistic slips to see what they can tell us about the speech planning processes that produced them and the persons that uttered them. The book is not designed to mock these people, however, but to celebrate them, and to thank them for the little nugget of linguistic creativity they have donated to the graveyard.

“For seven and a half years I’ve worked alongside President Reagan. We’ve had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We’ve had some sex .. uh .. setbacks.” –

George H.W. Bush

“Our national interest ought to be to encourage the breast .. best and the brightest.”

Edward Kennedy

Well-known personalities making gaffes

Discover why so many fall foul of the Hunt/Cunt slip

Learn about Donald Trump’s strategy for handling slips

See how Boris Johnson makes a cascade of slips

Includes free access to the companion webpage with over 90 links to audios, videos and articles.

The author


Dr Michael Cribb is Assistant Professor of English Language at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. He has published widely on applied linguistics and political discourse analysis. His other books include the uniquely revealing It’s Language, Stupid: Unravelling the DNA of the mind and the sumptuous photo essay to be someone in a language. He lives in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom.

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Some samples slips from the book

We can never get enough of breakfast… er Brexit!

A promising swinger?

Learn if there are any shits on the BBC

“they sacrifice everyday for the furniture and future of their children

Donald trump

You can also play slip of the tongue Bingo


Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
Image credits

Victoria Derbyshire by AIB London / CC BY 2.0

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

Boris Johnson by UK Prime Minister / Open Government Licence

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