History and Structure:

Schuttelreim is agreed upon to be a form of double rhyme, where the consonants of the last two stressed syllables are interchanged. It is a German verse rhyming device that’s existed since the 13th century which was once considered a serious poetic form but since the 19th century has been used more often for comic verse form, often of a lewd or suggestive nature, as the sound reversal lends itself to satirical ends. The nearest equivalent in English is spoonerism.  Although in English it is commonly believed to be strictly and necessarily a couplet device, it can also exist within a single line. An example of this is the shortest known Schuttelreims “Du bist Buddhist” and “Wo bist, Bovist?”. Although it’s nearest equivalent is spoonerism, it is its own form and independent and quite a bit older than spoonerism, which was itself named after English educator W.A. Spooner 1844-1930, and will be covered in it’s own post.


Green, Roland, et al. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth Edition. p. 945



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