Thursday, June 12, 2008

Malapropisms and Mondegreens

Malapropism of the month (words we substitute by mistake):

I recently received an email from a parent of one of the boys in my maths class saying:

“I just had to tell you how excited Peter was to come home and tell me he could find the hippopotamus of a triangle!” (the mother knew this would amuse me)

And a selection of mondegreens (things we mishear):

Sylvia Wright invented this word as a result of her own experience. She heard her mother recite:

“They have slain the Earl of Murray, And they laid him on the green”

as “They have slain the Earl of Murray, And the Lady Mondegreen

Another commonly quoted mondegreen is “Olive, the other reindeer”. Did you ever hear of her? She’s not as famous as Rudolph.

For at least a year (back in the 90s) I thought everyone was debating about young people in the East until I saw euthanasia spelled out.

I always smirk to myself when I distinctly hear a “T” sound at the end of the idiomatic phrase, “nip it in the bud” – because apparently many people think the phrase is all about bum-nipping (not clipping a bloom in its early stages, which to me, seems so much more logical). Freud would have a field day with that mondegreen.

My all-time favourite was encountered while I was working at the Dunedin City Council, and one of my colleagues received a thank-you letter from a school child for the visit made to her class. She wrote, “thank you from the button of my heart”. Bless that little babe.

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