Thursday, June 10, 2010
When you hear the wrong words (of a song), it’s a mondegreen. But what is it when you write the wrong words (other than a nuisance)?
One of the hazards of doing too many things at once, if one of them is writing and another one is listening to something else, is ending up writing down what is being said, instead of what you’re trying to write about*.
But there are also the moments where you write something (and this is really more about typing than writing, probably), and end result is something not what you intended, but that has a meaning all of its own.
Last week alone produced “betwitched” – which was, unsurprisingly, intended to be bewitched – and “cheese on toad”, for cheese on toast (sounds like the kind of thing El Buli might serve). Betwitched, though, makes me think of when you have the hiccups that you just cannot, no how no way, get rid of, whatever you do** (somewhere close by there is a gremlin, clutching his sides with laughter and keeping out of view... or is that just in Tom Holt novels?).
Picture: Lorna Green's "Flower Cow-er"***
Perhaps the invented words that come from this process should be matched up with the things that need a specific word to refer to them? Starting with the situation of writing down the wrong things (help! I’m stuck in a continuous loop!).
* There is also the possibility of talking about what you’re writing about, but that means that you’re paying even less attention to talking, and probably should keep quiet. Or try to do less at the one time.
** Alternatively, for any US So You Think You Can Dance tragics, it might bring to mind the involuntary urge to wear large glasses and dance hip hop.
*** While I'm not sure there is actually a need for an astroturf covered cow to accompany these thoughts, it goes so well with the dress (there's a line of argument you don't get to use often).