Thursday, October 01, 2009

Misunderstood songs

At a recent singing I attended, before leading Farther Along, a man told that singing this as a child he heard and thought it was "Father, alone, will know all about it; Father, alone, will understand why..." rather than "Farther along we'll know all about it, Farther along we'll understand why." In language/grammar this is called a mondegreen -- repeating the mishearing of a phrase in such a way that it acquires a new meaning.

Some misunderstood songs are misunderstandings of a word's meaning. Many a child not raised on a farm* have envisioned sheep being brought in to the fold as they sang "Bringing in the sheaves". But that is "sheaves" -- bundles of grain -- rather than the plural of sheep (which is sheep).

Readers, as a child did you ever misunderstand some song or songs, either mishearing the phrase or misunderstanding a meaning? Tell us about it.

*And I can testify for those raised on a farm which didn't harvest wheat. The only things I think we bundled were put up in bales (hay) or shocks (corn).


Anonymous said...

Brother Robert I used to wonder what there was to rejoice about "bringing in the sheets".

R. L. Vaughn said...

With most, if not all, I have heard comment on that song it was a misunderstanding of the meaning rather than a mishearing as in your case. Interesting.

Anyone else with such experiences?

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me correctly, I originally thought it was " ringing in the sheaves," as in "ring out the old." Of course a child's mind can play tricks on them sometimes.