MONDEGREENS—“…”GENTLY DOWN THE STREET”. In her post, RAB has this link to a number of mondegreens, in comments inspired by a little girl singing: “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the STREET”. The comments show the same mistake has been made by a number of other children. suggesting that the lyrics are a challenge for urban children. Other versions:”Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily then you have to scream. Aaaaauuuuuuggh! ” and “ROLL, roll, roll your boat, gently down the street….”

(As I posted here, “mondegreen ” is a recently-coined linguistic term which RAB taught me a couple years ago. The wikipedia entry says that a “mondegreen” is “the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning.” The derivation is from a 17th century ballad that was misheard by a writer as:

“They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.”

The correct two lines are:

“They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
And laid him on the green.”)

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