Sunday, February 15, 2009

...And Laid Him on the Green

Talking about his farewell party, my son said that his teacher had sung, 'This little shining light of mine, Angle let it shine...'This reminded me that as a little child one of my favourite rhymes was ' Mary Mary koikondery, how does your garden grow?' and my favourite game was 'Ice Boys'. Only years later did I figure out that they were 'Mary, quite contrary' and 'I Spy'. likewise SJ once insisted that his biology teacher taught him about 'edges and shells'. As it turned out the teacher was referring to 'adjacent cells'. Of course everybody has heard the one about a child who shocked his father when he repeated his Math lesson, "2+2, son of a bitch, is 4." It appears that the real words were '2+2, sum of which is 4'! The strangest of all such erronous utterances is my father's. He used to sing us the prayer he chanted as a schoolboy. And it went: Krishna kambi kumbae tudala tudala tudala, timrutha tommy prepae... It was not a strange language - it is English. When decoded it goes: Krishna can be compared to the lord to the lord to the lord. And the rest (timrutha Tommy prepae) still remains a mystery.

I found later that such misunderstood utterances actually have a name; they are called mondegeens . You will find more instances here

I also learned that mondegreens shouldn't be confused with soramimi which is what Benilava is.