Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mondegreens


Mondegreens

The word mondegreen was coined by Sylvia Wright in 1954, meaning a series of words that result in the mis-hearing or misinterpretation of song lyrics, popular phrases or poetry.
Wright coined the word mondegreen after the imagined Lady Mondegreen, born of a line in Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl o’ Moray” which reads Laid him on the green.

Another example might be mis-hearing Jimi Hendrix’s line from "Purple Haze", Excuse me while I kiss the sky, to be, Accuse me while I kiss the guy.

Below are some mondegreens. Read each one with the intent of discovering the original phrase or lyrics that led to this misunderstanding.

A. I led the pigeons to the flag
B. The ants are my friends, blowing in the wind
C. America, America, God is Chef Boyardee
D. There’s a bathroom on the right
E. The bright blessed day & the dog said goodnight
F. The girl with colitis goes by
G. She’s got a chicken to ride OR she’s got a tic in her eye
H. Rocket Man, burning all the trees off every lawn


Now check the comments section to see how you did & to make any comments you might be inspired to make.

Big thanks to friend Aaron Keating, for suggesting this week’s topic, & thanks to this week’s sources: Wordnik, About Education, University of Houston, & Merriam-Webster.

7 comments:

  1. A. I pledge allegiance to the flag ("Pledge of Allegiance" by Francis Bellamy)
    B. The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind ("Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan)
    C. America, America, God shed his light on thee ("America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates)
    D. There’s a bad moon on the rise ("Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival)
    E. The bright blessed day & the dark sacred night ("What a Wonderful World" made popular by Louis Armstrong & written by Bob Thiele)
    F. The girl with kaleidoscope eyes ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by John Lennon)
    G. She’s got a ticket to ride ("Ticket to Ride" by John Lennon)
    H. Rocket Man, burning out his fuse up here alone ("Rocket Man" by Elton John)

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  2. I loved Creedence's "Bathroom on the Right" song in my young, beer-drinking days. I couldn't think of those lyrics meaning anything else. But some of these are new to me. I had never heard the Chef Boyardee version of America! :-)

    One I couldn't figure out for years was the Eagles song about "The sun's coming up, I'm riding with Lady Luck, three-way garbage trucks" I could see the guy driving in the morning traffic, but I could not figure out what a three way garbage truck was. Figured it was some kind of a Transformer thing that turned into something else--an LA phenomenon. Much later I found out the lyric was "freeway cars and trucks."

    Boring. Mondegreens are so much better.

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  3. Hey Anne - I love three-way garbage trucks! Thanks for coming by.

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  4. These are hilarious. My favorite was from my early elementary school years. Listening to the glee club perform I thought the lyrics to "From Aunt Ida's Quilting Party" were we were from and died us quilting party...Life is fun when you look back. There's another one I was thinking of. From All in the Family theme song. It was years before we learned that Edith was singing "Gee our old Lasalle ran great, those were the days." I thought the lyrics were: "Gee were all the sour and great." And I was thirty two at the time. Tells you a lot about my IQ. Great and fun post as always Charlie. "Keep your pecker up!" I was told recently by a British pal at Starbucks. She said it meant. "Keep your head up during trying times." Knowing me I'm sure you knew how I interpreted it. :) Paul

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    1. Paul -- thanks for coming by, & I am assured you are keeping your head up during trying times.

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  5. Some mondegreens I've been guilty of:
    "Stop in the neighborhood" ("Stop in the Name of Love" by The Supremes)
    "I'm your fetus, I'm your fire" ("Venus" by Shocking Blue)
    "Give you my dog surprise" ("Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream)
    "You're gonna cruise it by me" ("The Ballad of John and Yoko" by The Beatles)
    "I fight dirty, dirty always wins" ("Authority Song" by John Mellencamp)

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    Replies
    1. Ben - you're cracking me up! May the new job be grand. And thanks for coming by.

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