Howard L. Chace

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Howard L. Chace
Howard L. Chace
Occupationauthor, college professor, humorist, organist

Howard L. Chace was a professor of Romance languages at Miami University, who wrote poems and stories employing homophonic transformation.

Little Red Riding Hood[edit]

In 1940, he wrote Ladle Rat Rotten Hut to demonstrate that the intonation of spoken English is almost as important to the meaning as the words themselves. It was first published in Gene Sherman's column in the Los Angeles Times in 1953[1] and in the first issue of Sports Illustrated in 1954.[2]

In Ladle Rat Rotten Hut the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale is told, purposely replacing its usual words with similar-sounding words that are strung together in what might at first appear to a reader as a nonsensical sequence. While they are actual words, they are in a meaningless sequence, except when heard and interpreted by someone familiar with the story. Each phrase, taken as a whole and, especially, heard aloud, so closely resembles phrases most speakers of English recognize as telling a well-known story, that hearers may take a moment to realize that every word is simply and purposely wrong. The tale begins "Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull," which is easily deciphered, when spoken with appropriate intonation, to mean "Once upon a time there was a little girl." The word replacement continues throughout the story.

In some cases a single word replaces several (e.g., "evanescent" is employed to sound like "if it isn't"), and sometimes several are combined to make represent word ("on forger nut" can be heard as "unfortunate"). Every replacement word can be found in typical collegiate dictionaries, with the exception of "icer" which is in Merriam-Webster's Unabridged.

Anguish Languish[edit]

"Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" was later published in his book Anguish Languish (1956) after it was read on television by Arthur Godfrey. Ogden Nash, after reading the book, mailed Chace his own Anguish Languish version of a popular song. Chace also received letters from his readers containing Anguish Languish adaptations of familiar works.[3]


In 1984, Chace published another such work, this time utilizing the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He called it Guilty Look Enter Tree Beers.[4]

Music work[edit]

He was a competent organist and played during the showing of silent movies.


  • Chace, Howard L. (1935). An outline of a course of lectures on the French novel from 1607 to 1761 (Thesis/dissertation (Manuscript)). OCLC 34612046.
  • Chace, Howard L. (1956). Anguish Languish [English Language]. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. OCLC 2539398.
  • Chace, Howard L. (1956). Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Oldstyle Press. OCLC 49208995.
  • "Slipping Booty". Sports Illustrated. Time, Inc. 11 (7): 26. 1959.


  1. ^ "Parlor sport". Sports Illustrated: 25–26. 16 August 1954.
  2. ^ "Events & Discoveries". Sports Illustrated. 20 August 1956.
  3. ^ ""Ladle Rat Rotten Hut," a Screwy Version of Old Tale, by Prof. Chace, Kappa, '21, Brings Mail Flood from All US, with Assists by Arthur Godfrey". The Deke quarterly. Delta Kappa Epsilon. 73 (1). 1955.
  4. ^ "Guilty Looks Enter Tree Beers". Retrieved November 25, 2018.

External links[edit]