Monday, July 13, 2009

oronyms and mondegreens curiouser and curiouser

‘…The columnist Jon Carrol has called a mondegreen, after his mis-hearing of the folk ballad “The Bonnie Earl o’Moray”;
oh ye hielands and ye lowlands
Oh where ha ye been?
They have slain the earl fo Moray
And Laid him on the green”
He had always thought the that the lines were “they have slain the earl of Moray, and Lady Mondegreen”. (The language instinct. Pinker 1994)

However, at :
http://www.wordinfo.info/words/index/info/view_unit/3347

I find the following:
mondegreen

A series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric; for example, "I led the pigeons to the flag" for "I pledge allegiance to the flag."
The term mondegreen; representing a series of words resulting from the mishearing of a statement or song lyric, is generally attributed to Sylvia Wright, who is credited with coining the neologism in a 1954 Harper magazine column. Ms. Wright was not pleased to discover that for many years she had misunderstood the last line of the first stanza in the Scottish folk ballad "The Bonny Earl of Murray", which is written as:
Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Oh! Where ha'e ye been:
They ha'e slain the Earl of Murray,
And they laid him on the Green.

Ms. Wright misheard this stanza as:

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Oh! Where ha'e ye been:
They ha'e slain the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

From the disappearance of Sylvia Wright's tragic heroine, Lady Mondegreen, came the term for describing many unconventional interpretations or understandings of oral repetition, usually in the form of song lyrics.

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