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M: Mondegreen (aka misheard lyrics)

April 15, 2016

Yes, we all have that friend who misheard the Purple Haze lyrics to be, ‘Excuse me, while I kiss this guy‘. Or perhaps, you yourself thought it was ‘Aap jaisa koi mere zindagi mein aye, toh baap ban jaaye‘ and went baap-re-baap!

A recent conversation reminded me of the one I’m guilty of – Tubthumping:

The actual lyrics:  ‘I get knocked down but I get up again’

What I heard it as: ‘I get knocked up but I get up again’

Uh huh.

Anyway, here’s a fun fact I discovered (don’t you love the Internet?). The word Mondegreen is itself a mondegreen. Bahaha. Could you get more meta? Here’s the story (from here)

In November, 1954, Sylvia Wright, an American writer, published a piece in Harper’s where she admitted to a gross childhood mishearing. When she was young, her mother would read to her from the “Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,” a 1765 book of popular poems and ballads. Her favorite verse began with the lines, “Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands / Oh, where hae ye been? / They hae slain the Earl Amurray, / And Lady Mondegreen.” Except they hadn’t. They left the poor Earl and “laid him on the green.” He was, alas, all by himself.

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