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Re: Mondegreens

At 06:31 PM 6/7/98 -0400, you wrote:
>Dan Strassberg wrote:
>>>The name mondegreen refers to a "quotation" from the lyric of an old
>English folk song in which there is a reference to a "Lady Mondegreen". In
>fact, the lyric refers to some hero who was shot "and they laid him on the
>green" (where his lover threw herself on his body--it was a sad song).<<
>(From one of the "classic ballads of the British Isles")
>"They have slain the Earl of Murray and laid him on the green".
>I never knew these figures of speech had a generic name, nor the
>derivation.  How delightful.  Thank you, Dan. 
You're welcome. Wm. Safire had written one of his "On Language" columns on
mondegreens over a year ago in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. I had
forgotten about it until NPR's Weekend Edition/Sunday did a piece on
mondegreens a week ago--complete with snatches of many commonly misconstrued
lyrics. NPR concluded that the phenomenon of misconstrued lyrics had become
much more common with the advent or rock, in which the lyrics are much less
literate, and rarely enunciated in a way that makes them intelligible (which
is probably just as well, since most rock lyrice aren't worth bothering to
understand). I think that both Safire's column and the NPR piece cited the
first use of the term mondegreen, but I can't remember who coined the term
or when. If I recall, the first usage dates back to the 20s or 30s.

I am reminded though, of a piece that Alan Funt did on Candid Microphone
(the radio predecessor of TV's candid camera). Funt tried to get little kids
(about six years old) to recite the pledge of allegence. Talk about mondegreens!

- -------------------------------
Dan Strassberg (Note: Address is CASE SENSITIVE!)
ALL _LOWER_ CASE!!!--> dan.strassberg@worldnet.att.net
(617) 558-4205; Fax (617) 928-4205