Thursday, February 09, 2006

Took a look at a book...

Over on BCUK they've been discussing Mondegreens. For anyone that doesn't know what this means - A "mondegreen" (also sometimes spelt 'mondagreen') is the mishearing (usually accidental) of a phrase, such that it acquires a new meaning. Mondegreen is in itself a mondegreen - coined by the writer Sylvia Wright in 1954, in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen". As a child she had heard the Scottish ballad "The Bonny Earl of Murray" and had believed that one stanza went like this:

"Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands

Oh where hae you been?

They hae slay the Earl aMurray (sic),

And Lady Mondegreen."

Poor Lady Mondegreen, thought Sylvia Wright - how poetic to die with your true love. When she discovered some years later, that the actual line was "and laid him on the Green", Wright was so distraught by the sudden disappearance of her heroine that she memorialized her with a neologism... Wright gives other examples of what she says "I shall hereafter call mondegreens", such as:-
"Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life"
("Surely goodness and mercy…" from Psalm23


The columnist Jon Carroll of the "San Francisco Chronicle" has long been a popularizer of the term and a collector of mondegreens. He is probably the chief link between Wright's work and the general popularity of the notion today. He points out that the overwhelming majority of Mondegreens come from song lyrics. Examples include the Bob Dylan song with the memorable refrain: "Dead ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind", the great Crystal Gayle song "Doughnuts Make Your Brown Eyes Blue" and the not forgetting the equally wonderful Maria Muldaur song "Midnight After You're Wasted." (I'm showing my age - I can remember all these songs!).
My dh has been trying to get a neologism accepted into the english language for YEARS. Maybe anyone who reads this will help it along.
You know those woody, green bits you get on some tomatoes? They are henceforth to be known as ARLOES ('arlo', n. sing.). This is from the root Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie. Geddit? I like the way Tomato becomes Tomatoes and Arlo becomes Arloes. But I am easily amused.
Books!
I've been reading "The Bookseller of Kabul" by Asne Seierstad and it's making me mad! Grrr. Probably not the best book to be reading against a backdrop of the Islamic Brigade raging about a cartoon of Mohammed rather insensitively published by a Danish newspaper... It's a DRAWING for goodness sake. Isn't life itself more sacrosant than anything that could be said or written? And Peace and Happiness...
These women portrayed in the book - kept ignorant and illiterate, trapped in the house or under a burka, virtual slaves to their men. Now I might CHOOSE to be ignorant and housebound but to have my choice taken away? I'd rather be chained to the railings outside the Houses of Parliament.
On to a 'lighter' topic:
My diet. I've been doing fairly well, eating healthily, avoiding sugar etc.

Maybe my downfall is following these diet rules too slavishly:

1.~If noone sees you eating something, it has no calories.
2.~Food eaten for medical reasons does NOT count (eg hot chocolate, toast, cheesecake, vodka, wine) (Definitely a BCUKer one that).
3.~Biscuits have no calories because breaking the biscuits causes the calories to leak out.
4.~While you are cooking, food licked from knives and spoons has no fat content.
5.~Food eaten from someone elses plate has no fat as it rightly
belongs to the other person.
6.~If you eat standing up the food has no calories because of gravity.
7.~When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.
8~You will look slimmer if you fatten up the people around you.


3 comments:

HazelNutcluster said...

I like the Mondegreens :) A boyfriend of mine had a neice who sang 'Away in a manger, no crib for rabbit'. Bless.

TutleyMutley said...

Once you start, you can think of loads, can't you?
Um... Mind immediatley goes blank and can't think of any! doh.

ra said...

my best as a child was believing that the equator was a menagerie lion that ran around the centre of the earth (imaginary line!).

Crazy Aunt Purl on her blog said that she shopped at middle eastern food shops (in california) cos the labels were in foreign script and if the labels didn't have the nutritional info in English there were no calories in the food!

Well it works for me! Try poundstretcher type shops (there were a lot of them in Sunderland when I lived there)