Clunt and Shart
I suspect Professor Chris Westbury’s computer might well have been consorting with the Oxford English Dictionary when it generated 5,928 “made-up” words (“Snunkoople,” March). Of those listed, two appear in my copy of the OED : to clunt is to walk heavily, and shart can be a variation of heart or a contraction of the exclamation God’s heart . Perhaps a peer review of the professor’s study would be timely?
Peter A. Murphy Brampton, ON
I don’t understand this part of the article: “words that sounded rude shot straight to the top of the scale. . . whong , dongl , shart , focky , and clunt . Clearly, those had to go.” The professor changed the results of his second study by removing the non-words that he assumed had sexual or scatological connotations. But why do this? He might have ignored the most interesting finding of his first study: some non-words are funny because of their taboo connotations rather than because they violate phonological rules.
Wayne Hall Halifax, NS
Snunkoople. Hablump. Jumemo. Finglysiv? Dr. Seuss was clearly far better at this than their computer. thewalrus.ca/snunkoople — @spoonologist