The meaning of “Mondegreen”

The meaning of the term “Mondegreen” is best explained at the hand of an example.

An American author misheard the line “…and they ha’e slain the Earl of Murray/ and laid him on the green” and read it as “…and Lady Mondegreen”.

An article in Rapport on Sunday contained the following gem: Late at night, after a heavy party, one of guests joined Johnny Clegg at the top of her voice: “I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart, under a freakin’ sky”!

Another example quoted is how someone got the lines of the ABBA song Chiquitita wrong and sang: “Take your teeth out tell me what’s wrong…”

Twee van my persoonlike gunstelinge is die volgende: My dogter vertel hoe sy, tot in haar hoërskooldae nog, die reëltjie in die ou Volkslied gesing het as: “Ons sal hol vir wat jy vra”. Die van ons wat in die weermag was, sal dit nogal verstaan.

Maar die heel snaaksste een vir my is my vriendin Helena Wassermann se dogetrtjie wat ernstig voor die TV gesit en sing het saam met tannie Dorothy Brasch:

“Iemand het ‘’n lap top, op die ashoop weg gegooi.”

Deel gerus julle eie staaltjies met ons. I do believe that there are some real howlers in your house as well. Don’t worry, we won’t publish your name, just your mondegreen.

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