The essay deals with the mistakes people make when speaking and the reasons why they make mistakes. As a natural trait, everybody makes mistakes. Some mistakes are easy to take whereas others are not.
Sometimes such verbal errors have devastating effect on both speaker and the listener. Verbal errors are divided into these heads: slips of tongue, mistranslations, bloopers, and spoonerisms. They are caused due to slips of tongue, poor translations, or sound confusion.
Slips of tongue are common mistakes where the speaker says one thing when he means to say another.
Mistranslations result when the person translates, a text of one language badly into another language. He/she either distorts or completely violates the real meaning given by the original text.
Bloopers are lowlife errors such as toilet jokes.
Spoonerisms occur when the speaker mixes up the letters of the words he/she is saying. They are a kind of sound confusion. The essayist gives a lot of examples on each mistake.
The essay presents different interpretations of such mistakes. To a great extent they are physiological factors. Yet, linguist Victoria Franklin regards slips of tongue as how our mind stores and articulates language. She says that thought is placed by the brain into a grammatical framework before it is expressed. Psychologists view that verbal error as a sign of psychological break. Richard Yazamajian suggests that incorrect words exist alone with the correct words in chain. These incorrect words replace the right words and come out when we speak. It implies a kind of dream pair in our psyche.
But for Ludwig Eidelberg slips of tongue incorporate the network of id, ego and superego.
# Why do people laugh when one makes verbal mistakes?
It is because deviation serves a comic purpose or a delightful relief. So, people want them eagerly just to get rid of boredom and monotonies. The verbal errors reveal the hidden mean motives and critical intention to the speaker about somebody/something. The discovery of meanness causes laughter in the listeners. And it is fully enjoyable to watch the speaker making his face look gloomy after he/she has made a verbal mistake. His eyes roll upward and hands flutter due to mistakes. More kind laughter occurs when a blunderer says good thing instead of the bad one. The laughter evoked by the bizarre mistakes is sublime because it conjures up ideas. Sometimes we laugh because we feel sympathy.
The essayist says that to make mistake is a universal phenomenon. Mistakes are natural. Most of the human plans and efforts go wrong due to mistakes. He concludes that human life itself is a product of mistake which human beings are not able to understand yet.