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Tulane Honors Program

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ralph the Sacred River: Mondegreens

Wonder what a "mondegreen" is? Then go see Dr. Cook's site! (I will give you a sample below.) Ed is a fellow Aramaist and a great feller who is just too darn smart for his own good. His site is full of all sorts of interesting linquistic tidbits, like "mondegreens." SO... Be sure to visit his site, but here is the def:

I've learned by reading Siris that the title of this blog is a mondegreen. Don't know what a mondegreen is? The term dates from 1954, when writer Sylvia Wright revealed that she thought the words to a folk song were

They hae slain the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

In fact, after slaying the poor Earl, they "laid him on the green."

My favorite example he provides from modern Hebrew is:

Danny Frese mentions the case of a friend who wondered what mastomeret in Modern Hebrew meant — ironic, since the misheard phrase was mah zot omeret, "what does it mean"?


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