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 actually reads Laid him on the green, but can easily be misinterpreted as Lady Mondegreen..
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.
I write for teens & tweens, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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