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 Mondegreens & Snowclones & Eggcorns. oh my!

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Knight Templar
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PostSubject: Mondegreens & Snowclones & Eggcorns. oh my!   Thu May 22, 2008 12:09 am

1) Mondegreens

Mondegreens are mishearings of words, typically songs or popular phrases. They were coined by writer Sylvia Wright in the 1950's when, as a child, she misheard the Scottish ballad 'The Bonny Earl of Murray':

Ye Highlands, and ye Lawlands
Oh where have you been?
They have slain the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen. (this line should read 'And they layd him on the green')

Popular examples of Mondegreens:

When Phoebe from Friends is asked what her favorite love song is, she sings "Hold me closer, Tony Danza" instead of "Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer."

A Bob Dylan classic:

"The ants are my friends,
they're blowin' in the wind
The ants are a-blowin' in the wind."

Where to go for mondegreen inspiration: The Archive Of Misheard Lyrics

2) Snowclones

Snowclones are a subset of cliches and are described by Erin O'Connor as "fill-in-the-blank headlines."

For example,
'"In X no one can hear you Y'
'In space no one can hear you scream'

Alien in space no one can hear you scream
This was a terrific teaser for the first Alien movie, but has since been turned into a snowclone of epic proportions.

Some other popular snowclones include:
"To X, or not to X" (Shakespeare would be proud... or not)

"That ain't an X, this is an X" (Crocodile Dundee)
"That ain't a mustache, this is a mustache"

"In Soviet Russia, X Ys you!"
Based on comedian Yakov Smirnoff's Russian Reversal jokes:

"In USA, you watch television,
In Soviet Russia, television watches you!"

Another highly popular snowclone that can be found in episodes of Family Guy, King of the Hill, Simpsons, MST3K, etc.

"What Would Jesus X"
What Would Jesus Link To?

Where to go for snowclone inspiration: The Snowclones Database

3) Eggcorns

Eggcorns are another linguistic figure coined by the Language Log guys.

As Chris Waigl wrote:

"In September 2003, Mark Liberman reported an incorrect yet particularly suggestive creation: someone had written “egg corn” instead of “acorn.” It turned out that there was no established label for this type of non-standard reshaping. Erroneous as it may be, the substitution involved more than just ignorance: an acorn is more or less shaped like an egg; and it is a seed, just like grains of corn. So if you don’t know how acorn is spelled, egg corn actually makes sense."

This lead to the identification of many more eggcorns, including some that Oxford University Press editor Ben Zimmer listed (which could almost be considered a part of mainstream English).

Which one is the eggcorn and which is the original?

A) Free Rein or Free Reign?

B) Baited Breath or Bated Breath?

C) Just Deserts or Just Desserts?

D) A Shoo-In or A Shoe-In?

What did you choose? You'd be surprised at the answers!

Where to go for Eggcorn inspiration: The Eggcorn Database

KnightTemplar, Founder and Admin of Military Power Forums, Military Power Wiki and Military Power.

You're not lost until you are lost at Mach 3.
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Rose Blossom
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PostSubject: Re: Mondegreens & Snowclones & Eggcorns. oh my!   Thu May 22, 2008 11:47 am

Wow! What a post and so interesting AND educational. I will be honest here, I was aware of these things and have been guilty (?) of doing/using them, but, NEVER knew that they had a name. Be sure I will be researching/checking out these further. You know how I LOVE learning. 2 thumbs up

Excellent post as usual Knight Templar! Applause
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PostSubject: Re: Mondegreens & Snowclones & Eggcorns. oh my!   Thu May 22, 2008 12:20 pm

Wow Interesting. Too long to check it all out right now, but, I will do it after I am done checking the rest of the posts....too interesting not to.

Good Thread
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PostSubject: Re: Mondegreens & Snowclones & Eggcorns. oh my!   Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:26 pm

kewl. I never knew about them.
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