We’ve all done it. We’ve all caught others doing it. Now I have discovered there’s a word for it: mondegreen.
There you are, looking so cool in your minivan. It’s a beautiful spring afternoon. The best song in the world comes on. You know the one; the one that says exactly how you feel at that moment. You’re feeling pretty confident behind the wheel, life is good, and you belt out your song. Nothing can stop you.
Except. You question yourself. What did he just sing? I always thought it was, And the Shah be a leavin’. But maybe I heard, He shall better lead on. Then a well-versed friend shows up and looks at you like you’re an idiot. Oh, you say. Yes, that makes sense, since the name of the song is Levon. He.Shall.Be.Levon. Yup, thanks. And you slink into yourself for having sung that song incorrectly since the early 70’s – never occurring to you it could be wrong.
My daughter recently pointed out that a friend was singing the words happy enchilada instead of half an inch of water. She let her friend continue on because it was a better lyric.
Author Sylvia Wright (not a known relation) decided back in the middle of the last century that the line, laid him on the green was truly, Lady Mondegreen in the Scottish ballad The Bonny Earl of Murray. When she realized her mistake – she gave it a word.
I love that you can just name things like they are your children. Let’s create a name for when you go to the fridge and cannot find the mustard. It’s right in front of you, but you cannot see it until you have looked three times. Let’s call it, triblind.
This naming of things could really catch on.
But let me know, dear readers…as Adele says, Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing penguins?