Misheard words and misunderstandings
"Anne Boleyn? That's not a very good name for a chicken. Didn't she get her head cut off?"
"She said, 'Amber Link', not 'Anne Boyeln'."
That's an example of me mishearing what someone said when we went to buy our point of lay hens.
Well, we all mishear things from time to time. Sometimes, what we think someone's said still makes sense, kind of, and we blithely continue with the conversation, having missed the meaning entirely. Sometimes our mistakes can be embarrassing, but sometimes, we just have to laugh. And so, August's #HearingLossHour will be dedicated to mishearing and 'mislipreading' - the good, the bad and the ugly.
A mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, in a way that gives it a new meaning, is known as a ‘mondegreen’. ‘Mondegreens’ are most often created by a person listening to a poem or a song; the listener, being unable to clearly hear a lyric, substitutes words that sound similar and make some kind of sense.
‘Mondegreen’ was included in the 2000 edition of the Random House Webster's College Dictionary, and in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002.
A closely related category is a ‘Hobson-Jobson’, where a word from a foreign language is homophonically translated into one's own language, e.g. cockroach from Spanish cucaracha.
For misheard lyrics this phenomenon is called ‘soramimi’, a Japanese term for homophonic translation of song lyrics.
An unintentionally incorrect use of similar-sounding words or phrases, resulting in a changed meaning, is a ‘malapropism’. If there is a connection in meaning, it can be called an ‘eggcorn’. And, if a person stubbornly continues to mispronounce a word or phrase after being corrected, that person has committed a ‘mumpsimus’.