Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Of mondegreens and other variants

A mondegreen, as I suppose you already know, is a misinterpretation of a line or lyric in a song, caused by similarity in pronunciation. I am rather unsusceptible to mondegreens because of my habit of obsessively checking song lyrics online. Also, to come up with mondegreens like the famous ‘Michelle mondegreen’, I suppose you need much more imagination than I possess:
Incorrect version: Sunday monkey won’t play piano song
Correct version: Sont les mots qui vont tr├Ęs bien ensemble
I ask you! Paul’s French isn’t that bad.

My favourite mondegreen is from another Beatles song – Hey Bulldog. There’s a line which goes “Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles.” For years I used to think that the last word is ‘smiles’. Taken together with lines like “Some kind of innocence is measured out in years,” ‘smiles’ seems to fit so much better.

Speaking of which, Saha has a lovely post about a personal mondegreen.

Also on the topic of mondegreens, consider the following snatch of conversation, and believe me when I tell you I didn’t make it up:
Prateek Shroff: I have a match with the VC tomorrow.
Lahiri: What! Nandan Nawn is taking extra classes?
This, however, is not technically a mondegreen. There is a word in the English language for it. It’s called deafness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A.K. Visalakshi said...
I vote for Lahiri featuring more often! :)

Jayantika Ganguly said...
Ha ha ha! Are you sure it is deafness? It could merely be foresight, you know...or, perhaps, "selective interpretation"?

Abhiroop said...
QUIT maligning me all of you.... A, I suffer from selective hearing impariment and B, contrast my deafness to the author of this illustrious rag, who still steadfastly refuses to glug soft-drink from a can, fearing that his mouth will be rent in bloody bruises....

Sroyon said...
@visalakshi: Actually, Lahiri deserves an entire blog dedicated exclusively to him.

@jayantika: Possible, but unlikely. There have been numerous other instances...

@lahiri:
A: Selective hearing impairment is the phrase that the stone deaf use to describe their condition.
B: It IS risky, okay? You'll cut your lips on the jagged metal one day, and then all of you will believe me.

little boxes said...
as a kid,i sang "aap jaisa koi mere zindagi mein aye,to BAAP ban jaye"...beat that!