Friday, September 15, 2006

My new favorite word

When I was a child, I always thought we were singing When the roll is called a pyonder (instead of When the roll is called up yonder) at church. By the end of the service, I would always forget to ask my mom what a “pyonder” was and why rolls would gain a new title when we got to heaven. I finally figured it out when I learned to read the line for myself.

I didn’t know there was a word for that experience. It’s called a mondegreen. How cool!

mon‧de‧green  [mon’-di-green] noun
A series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric.

Origin: 1954; coined by American author S. Wright from the line laid him on the green, interpreted as Lady Mondegreen, in a Scottish ballad.

Another example is I led the pigeons to the flag for I pledge allegiance to the flag. For more, go to Wikipedia.

I’d love to hear of examples from your experience. Please share!


Anonymous Katherine said...

Mine was the 60's song by the Supremes. The lyrics are "na na na hey hey good bye." I thought they were saying "na na na hey hey puddin' and pie."w

Sat Sep 16, 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Well, there's always "gladly the cross-eyed bear" and "Don, we now are gay apparel." These are two of my dad's favorites.

For a short time while I was young, particularly when attending baseball games in Atlanta, I thought the national anthem ended "o'er the land of the free and the home of the Braves."

One of my favorite singers, Seal, is fascinated by this phenomenon and so does not print lyrics in his liner notes. He likes how the song can become personal for each listener through the mondegreen effect. I remember he commented on a lyric something like "I'm in love with the sky" (really "I'm in love with this guy").

Interesting! Thanks for the post, fellow logophiliac!

Mon Sep 18, 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

There is always the classic, "lettuce spray" for "let us pray."

Tue Sep 19, 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger lizzybethjane said...

In the song "Higher Ground" I always wondered why heaven had "stable land." ". . .Lord lift me up, and let me stand, by faith on heaven's stable land. . .." It wasn't until I was older that I was told it was "tableland" which still didn't make much sense to me.


Wed Sep 20, 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Spring said...

Actually, I think I like "stable land" better. Way to go, Liz!

Wed Sep 20, 12:39:00 PM  

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