Thursday, 2 May 2013

Playing with words

I love playing with words. I can happily sit with a cryptic crossword for hours and delight over such clues as:
      Big impression made by small character on the stage (6 letters)
      [The answer is at the bottom of this post in case you haven't worked it out.]
 
Puns are my favourite kind of joke... I couldn't work out why the ball was getting bigger, and then it hit me. No? Oh well, it made me smile. It's the kind of joke that provides Tim Vine with a living, isn't it?

Unintentional malapropisms have me helpless with laughter. Apologies to regular visitors to this blog because I have told this anecdote before, but I once asked the ice cream seller for a large cornflake instead of a large cornet with a flake, I laughed so much I ended up in a heap on the pavement [Don't know who left the heap there - boom! boom!... Sorry!]

Spoonerisms are equally amusing. I've mixed up the phrase 'nook and cranny' so many times that now, when things go missing, I regularly search in every crook and nanny. And whenever the weather forecaster announces that there will be frost and fog I am compelled to add, "Or do they mean fost and frog?" Humour me. April was a long month!

I recently heard of a different kind of word mix-up, a mondegreen, the mis-hearing of song lyrics. As I've just spent the entire month of April immersed in song lyrics I thought it was serendipitous when, half way through the month, I turned on BBC Radio 4 as they were discussing mondegreens. I hope I didn't commit any glaring mondegreens during the A to Z. I was extremely careful because I have been known to sing the occasional incorrect song word. My best remembered mondegreen was a song called The Wichita Lineman. I was convinced that it was called The Witch of Alignment. 

If you've made any glaring gaffs over song words or well-known phrases then do please share them. I'm sure we could all do with a smile after the strains of a cold, dull and extremely busy April.

[The answer to that crossword clue is impact. Good, isn't it!]

23 comments:

  1. I must congratulate you on your post through April. I enjoyed the songs you chose, Well done.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Welcome back to normal blogland, Ros.

    I don't suppose many recall a song by Lonnie Donnegan that went, 'Putting on the agony, putting on the style ..." Well, I used to climb over a stile to get onto the common near where I lived, so I believed it said, 'Pudding on the agony, pudding on the stile ...' It didn't make sense, but I assumed it was some sort of grown-up mystery.

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    1. Thanks, Jo, it feels good to get back to normal. That is hilarious. I remember that song and now I'm singing it with your variations, and grinning!

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  3. I figured you'd have more of a rest after your busy, busy successful April. But this first May post is fun and word puzzles, word games, are amusing. I'll chuckle when my eyes misread a headline and I have to do a double take. So & So was doing what? Oh, okay, that (corrected by my eyes) word makes more sense.

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    1. Know what you mean about headlines. I suspect that sometimes the newspaper editors do that on purpose.

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  4. I am definitely lacking in my education Ive never heard of a spoonerism or a mondegreen, ( where do they even get those words from?)
    There 's been lots of song Ive been singing the wrong words to over the years I think it depends what you pick up from the radio. There are a few words I keep saying wrong and I wish I could remember what they were.
    I thought you were Having a rest?

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    1. I have to admit that mondegreen is a new word to me too. I can't rest. My mind is over active. Must be a to z withdrawal!

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  5. Ros, I'm like you! I also collapse into uncontrollable giggles over spoonerisms and malapropisms, and punning is a family pastime especially on long road trips. It gets dangerous at times, we laugh so much. But, I'm no good at crosswords - hopeless in fact. I didn't get your clue at all! But yes, it's very good indeed. I wish I could do them but I just go blank!

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    1. Cryptic clues can sometimes mystify me but you have to get used to a compiler's way of thinking and then they're fun.

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  6. You just made me miss living in England.

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    1. Oh, Inger, I'm sorry. Is the humour that different over there?

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  7. I deliberately use the wrong word sometimes to break up a serious moment. I have to be careful of humourless people of course, they think I'm a serious loser but it is very funny if you drop a malapropism into a conversation. My favourite is using illagitimate instead of illiterate, another is psychiatric instead of psychic or humility instead of humidity.
    Wordplay is an excellent way to keep the marbles lubricated too!

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  8. So they're called mondegreens. Thank you for teaching me a new word.
    One of my favourites is that old hit "My Ears are Alight" by Desmond Dekker. Or there's always the hymn: "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear".

    Happy May!

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  9. Roz
    Your theme and song posts were enjoyable. Today, a new word for me....mondegreen. So many singers seem to run their words together or my hearing if way off. Don't know which. My little neighbor was singing the "auda vida dentz" song. I figured out that is what she heard from "All the while we dance."

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  10. Great topic, Ros. I love all kinds of puzzles and word plays. I've come across English crosswords discussed by characters in a couple of novels, and those clues really stump me.

    Have never heard of mondegreen. It doesn't even sound like a real word. ;)

    I know I mis-hear lyrics often but can't think of any right this minute. There's always the famous "Gladly the cross-eyed bear."

    Barbara
    A to Z and Beyond (blogger shout-out!)
    The Daille-y News

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  11. Hi Ros .. Mum and I laughed ourselves silly at times - and the staff always wanted to know what was going on .. usually something ridiculous - a mis-saying .. and yes I do muddle things up - my brain is reeling too ...

    I'm not much good at puzzles - though I seem to come up trumps sometimes ... thankfully I saw the imp before I started reading how you act in the post!!

    I'm so pleased you posted your songs - I'll be back once the wonders of technology are allowed to creep into my life! I'll get the ipod set up and working .. cheers for now - Hilary

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  12. Which crossword did that come from? I do a Telegraph one most nights - I have a book of them because we live abroad - and I also have a book of their "Toughie" ones. The most devilish crossword I ever came across was in "The Oldie" magazine my sister-in-law used to pass on to me, but she stopped subscribing. Damn cheek!

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  13. I always say fost and frog, too. Can't help it.

    We always used to sing the lyrics: We built this city on rocks and roll' as 'We built this chippy on sausage rolls'

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  14. I also love wordplay, and did laugh at your jokes. ;-) For some reason, though, I just can't seem to sit down and finish a cryptic crossword.

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  15. Oh no, I don't like cryptic crosswords at all, my brain isn't wired that way. I can never work them out.

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  16. There's a song, I don't remember who sung it, or the title. But I could have sworn a line was 'like my eyeball's stuck on replay' in stead of of 'like my iPod stuck on 'replay'. My friends never let me live that one down.

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  17. I envy you the sense of humor that leaves you rolling on the pavement with glee. The only case of a mispronounced word that ammuses me after forty years is 'garmaraffes'. My toddler used the word for his pyjamas.

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