Mighty Red Pen

December 19, 2008

To infinity . . . emboyage!

Filed under: At home with MRP,Kidspeak,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 2:31 pm
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Mondegreen alert at la Casa de MRP.

S (age 5): EMBOYAGE!!
MRP: Huh?
S: Emboyage!
MRP: Where did you learn that word?
S: Um . . . it was Disney.
MRP: Oh, you mean “Toy Story”?
S: Yeah.
MRP: Buzz Lightyear?
S: Yeah.
MRP: Do you want me to tell you what Buzz is really saying?
S: Yeah, sure.
MRP: He’s saying, “And beyond!”
S: And beyond? Oh, okay.

Two minutes later.


July 24, 2008

Like burning halava

Filed under: At home with MRP,Kidspeak — mighty red pen @ 7:13 pm
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While we’re on the subject of mondegreens, this one was overheard on a walk in MRP’s neighborhood.

S. (age 5): Mom! We have to run by this house!
MRP: Okay! We do? Why?
S.: Because the leaves on those bushes are made of halava!
MRP: They are? Oh my goodness. [pause] What’s halava?
S.: It’s like fire! It will burn you! Halava! Run!
MRP [pondering a moment]: Do you mean hot lava?
S.: Yes! Run!

Note to self: Only known volcano in Metrowest Boston area may be located directly around the corner from MRP’s house.

July 10, 2008

Free your Lady Mondegreen

Filed under: Pop culture,Word wars,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:25 pm
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Well, thank goodness. We can finally use the words infinity pool, edamame, and dirty bomb, and rest easy knowing that the good people at Merriam Webster have given these and a few other lucky words their blessing.

How do they choose the new words? Well according to “Hold the prosecco, and pass the edamame“:

“As soon as we see the word used without explanation or translation or gloss, we consider it a naturalized citizen of the English language,” said Peter Sokolowski, an editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. “If somebody is using it to convey a specific idea and that idea is successfully conveyed in that word, it’s ready to go in the dictionary.”

Among the new words of interest to MRP? Well, as a pescatarian, I was happy to see that finally make the cut. What’s a pescatarian, you ask? It’s a vegetarian who eats fish, or better, a person who maintains a mostly vegetarian diet but also eats fish.

However, I’ve been testing the word out on a few people and when I say, “I’m a pescatarian,” I am mostly met with blank stares and have to say, “I’m a vegetarian that eats fish” anyway. So I think that pescatarian needs some work still.

Another is mondegreen, a word for a word which is mistaken for another word. Misheard song lyrics fall under this category. Who (besides our friends at Language is the People’s and SPOGG) knew there was an actual word for this?

A mondegreen most often comes from misunderstood phrases or lyrics. It comes from an old Scottish ballad in which the lyric “laid him on the green” has been confused over time with “Lady Mondegreen.”

Merriam Webster is so tickled by this concept that apparently they’ll be having a contest for this, so that’s something to look forward to.

We’ve covered mondegreens here at MRP before but it’s always good for a chuckle.  I always thought they were singing “Free your Lady Marmalade” but apparently it’s “Creole Lady Marmalade.” Oh yeah, that makes more sense. Also, MRP gets endless amusement at Mister MRP’s expense out of pretending that the Style Council’s “Shout to the Top” really is saying “Shop ’til you drop!” (I swear it sounded like it at first.)

Another favorite mondegreen at la casa de MRP right now comes to us courtesy of D., age 28 months, who is quite sure it’s not “another postcard with chimpanzees” but “another postcard with pinzanees.” He’s sure of it.

Got a good one? Feel free to share.

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