They can occur between two people, such as when the phrase “listen here” comes out as “hiss and leer.” Or the solemn oath “So help me God” gets twisted into “Go help me sod.”
We’ve all experienced these breakdowns, and maybe even caused them. But to really foul things up, you need a computer.
Newspaper columnist Courtland Milloy recently dialed 411, and a female voice asked, “What city and state, please?” He said, “Landover, Maryland.” The voice replied, “You said England. Is that correct?”
Another time he telephoned Amtrak. “Hi, I’m Julie,” the voice said. Julie gave him a menu of services to select from, and he asked for scheduling information. “What day would you like to leave?” asked the voice, and Courtland mumbled to himself, “Hold on a second.” Julie replied, “I think you asked for December 22. Is that...
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