Misheard and misread words

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rtg928
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Misheard and misread words

Postby rtg928 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:47 pm UTC

Has there ever been a time when someone said one word but you thought they said another one. Or you glanced at a written word and you thought it was a different word at first. For example I can think of 2 times right now that this has happened to me (even though I am sure it has happened much more). I heard sex when they said six and I heard boobs when they said boots.

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punkymonkey
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby punkymonkey » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:02 pm UTC

I have a funny story that goes along with writing words incorrectly. (Eh.. it kinda fits)
At an old job, we had a styrofoam cup we used to hold all of our pens. I was bored one day and decided to write "PENS" All over the cup. So I finish covering nearly every inch of the surface with "PENS" and I walk around the corner and start talking to my Manager about lunch. I say "I can't decide what I want for lunch." ... it's at this time, a giggling co-worker comes around the corner, holding the styrofoam cup that I wrote "PENS" all over and says "this doesn't say 'PENS'" while pointing to a spot where my hand added an I that my mind did not intend to be there. I turn a bit red. My manager than says "Oh.. I think I know what you want for lunch" ... and it's at this time I turn completely bright red from head to toe.

But yeah.. I think we mishear and misread words all the time.

Edit to Add : I went to a Chinese drive thru with my mom many moons ago. The guy gave us our food and was asking us if we needed a "fork." ... with his accent, it sounded like something else, and my mom and I just looked at each other, confused, trying to make sense of what he said. I kept saying "what?" and kept hearing something completely different.. after about the fifth time, we realized he was saying "fork."
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Promicin
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Promicin » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:18 pm UTC

I was convinced that a bank near me once offered "Free chicken." How I got that from "Free checking," I don't know.

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Iulus Cofield
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:27 am UTC

Someone must have done research on this particular topic already, because I'm sure it says a lot about phonology on the receiving end.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Pansmanser » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:57 am UTC

This is supposed to be a linguistics forum, not a Freudian psychoanalysis one.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Jplus » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:54 am UTC

I had a teacher in phonetics who told about a very interesting case of this kind of mistake. His wife (a phonetician herself) wanted to say (in Dutch):

Code: Select all

Ach, iedereen ont-duikt    toch  wel-  eens      de    belasting
Oh,  everyone off-dive.3sg affmt affmt-sometimes art.s taxes

"Oh, everyone evades paying the taxes sometimes",

but apparently, instead of that she said:

Code: Select all

Ach, iedereen be-  duikt toch  wel-  eens      de    ontlasting
Oh,  everyone onto-dive  affmt affmt-sometimes art.s defecation

"Oh, everyone dives into excrement sometimes".

(So the only bit that changed in the Dutch sentence is that she swapped the prefixes "be" and "ont". The dashes are not normally there in the Dutch spelling.)

This is rather a production error than a perception error, so if I'm too much off topic, just slap me.
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby semicharmed » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:33 pm UTC

I was 6 when the WTC was bombed in 1993, and even though my parents were pretty good about changing the TV channel or turning off the radio when coverage was happening, I at some point misheard "stock exchange" as "sock exchange". Or maybe just misunderstood - I didn't know what stocks were, but knew what socks were.

And couldn't, for the life of me, understand why grown-ups would want to trade socks. For years, I had this image in my head of a bunch of men standing around in suits ('cause businessmen wore suits, of course), all solemn-like. With their shoes in cubbies and everyone's socks in a giant pile in the middle of the floor.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby uncivlengr » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:52 pm UTC

When I was 4 years old I was quite excited to be in my uncle's wedding.

What kid wouldn't be, when their parents tell them that the "ring bear" gets to wear a suit?

Needless to say, I was incredibly disappointed to find out that my suit didn't have ears, or any fur at all.
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Sizik » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

Jplus wrote:I had a teacher in phonetics who told about a very interesting case of this kind of mistake. His wife (a phonetician herself) wanted to say (in Dutch):

Code: Select all

Ach, iedereen ont-duikt    toch  wel-  eens      de    belasting
Oh,  everyone off-dive.3sg affmt affmt-sometimes art.s taxes

"Oh, everyone evades paying the taxes sometimes",

but apparently, instead of that she said:

Code: Select all

Ach, iedereen be-  duikt toch  wel-  eens      de    ontlasting
Oh,  everyone onto-dive  affmt affmt-sometimes art.s defecation

"Oh, everyone dives into excrement sometimes".

(So the only bit that changed in the Dutch sentence is that she swapped the prefixes "be" and "ont". The dashes are not normally there in the Dutch spelling.)

This is rather a production error than a perception error, so if I'm too much off topic, just slap me.


Perhaps that could be used to make a spoonerism, something like "If you evade taxes, you're diving into excrement" or something like that?
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:06 am UTC

There's the famous "You've got another think coming" vs. "You've got another thing coming." That one is interesting because most people aren't even aware there are two versions of the phrase, but they won't necessarily use the same version.

Closer to the OP's intent, "for all intensive purposes" has always bothered me.


When I was very young, I couldn't distinguish between the words "marshmallow" and "mushroom" apparently (it was more a memory than listening issue). I would always request mushrooms then get disappointed with what I got.

My brother reads very quickly but he used to not read with the best comprehension. He apparently had read "silhouette" several times in novels understanding perfectly what it meant but without actually stopping to sound the word out. We realized this when he commented one night on how the trees were "slit-housed" against the sky.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Keand64 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:55 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:My brother reads very quickly but he used to not read with the best comprehension. He apparently had read "silhouette" several times in novels understanding perfectly what it meant but without actually stopping to sound the word out. We realized this when he commented one night on how the trees were "slit-housed" against the sky.


I mispronounced silhouette too, but as sill-howt for the longest time.

Also, until I heard someone actually say the word, I thought arpeggio had an extra syllable.

Yeah, I read a lot so this happened a lot with other words too, though none off the top of my head..
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:25 am UTC

Facetious is one I hear about a lot.
Today I learned the accepted pronunciation of apocope.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby jano » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:22 pm UTC

rtg928 wrote: I heard boobs when they said boots.

I had a similar experience more than 30 years ago, but it was just the opposite: I said "boots" and the girl I was speaking to understood "boobs" and was quite embarrased - then I asked her about the reason of her embarrasement, and when she explained it, I made things even worse asking her what did "boobs" mean (I didn't know any slang, swearing, etc in English then).
Spoiler:

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Carlington » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:50 pm UTC

Keand64 wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:My brother reads very quickly but he used to not read with the best comprehension. He apparently had read "silhouette" several times in novels understanding perfectly what it meant but without actually stopping to sound the word out. We realized this when he commented one night on how the trees were "slit-housed" against the sky.


I mispronounced silhouette too, but as sill-howt for the longest time.

Also, until I heard someone actually say the word, I thought arpeggio had an extra syllable.

Yeah, I read a lot so this happened a lot with other words too, though none off the top of my head..


How do you pronounce arpeggio with more than four syllables?
Kewangji: Posdy zwei tosdy osdy oady. Bork bork bork, hoppity syphilis bork.

Eebster the Great: What specifically is moving faster than light in these examples?
doogly: Hands waving furiously.

Please use he/him/his pronouns when referring to me.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:31 pm UTC

Doesn't it have three? (Sincere question, I've always thought it sounded something like ar-pe-"djo".)
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Carlington » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

Hmm. I've always said it like "Ar-pej-ji-oh"
Kewangji: Posdy zwei tosdy osdy oady. Bork bork bork, hoppity syphilis bork.

Eebster the Great: What specifically is moving faster than light in these examples?
doogly: Hands waving furiously.

Please use he/him/his pronouns when referring to me.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:53 pm UTC

Seems we both win. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/arpeggio
ahr-pej-ee-oh, -pej-oh
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Carlington » Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

EVERYONE WINS! YAY!
*ahem*
Kewangji: Posdy zwei tosdy osdy oady. Bork bork bork, hoppity syphilis bork.

Eebster the Great: What specifically is moving faster than light in these examples?
doogly: Hands waving furiously.

Please use he/him/his pronouns when referring to me.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:00 pm UTC

Carlington (The Aussie) wrote:EVERYONE WINS! YAY!
*ahem*


Now we fight over whose version is better!
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:49 pm UTC

Thirty-one wrote:
Carlington (The Aussie) wrote:EVERYONE WINS! YAY!
*ahem*


Now we fight over whose version is better!

Obviously the four-syllable version is better because it was featured in The Aristocats.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:54 pm UTC

Not having seen it, I'll have to take your word for it.

I don't see any good comeback though :| 4 it is.
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:07 pm UTC

My name is Zach, and the word 'exactly' really bugs me.
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:09 pm UTC

If you think having a name that pops up in daily conversations around you, distracting you for the half a second before you realize they said "exactly" and not your name, try having a name that's included in every weekday. :P
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:21 pm UTC

Your name is "Day"?
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

Well, not in English, but yes, "Day" in my language.
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

Oh. I was being sarcastic. Heh, that's rough!
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Thirty-one » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:27 pm UTC

Kind of sucks until you get used to hearing your "name" all around you, everywhere you go. Lucky I'm not paranoid.
There's also the added bonus of ever third new person you meet, upon learning your name, going "Good Day to you :wink: ".

Beats "Sue" though, I guess?
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:45 pm UTC

Thirty-one wrote:Kind of sucks until you get used to hearing your "name" all around you, everywhere you go. Lucky I'm not paranoid.
There's also the added bonus of ever third new person you meet, upon learning your name, going "Good Day to you :wink: ".

Beats "Sue" though, I guess?

Beats "Guy."

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:16 pm UTC

My name is Michael, so whenever someone says "My [k]-" I turn my head. The rest of the second word always makes it clear before I speak up and make a fool of myself. It's also infrequent enough that I've never gotten used to it.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby rhetorical » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:Kind of sucks until you get used to hearing your "name" all around you, everywhere you go. Lucky I'm not paranoid.
There's also the added bonus of ever third new person you meet, upon learning your name, going "Good Day to you :wink: ".

Beats "Sue" though, I guess?

Beats "Guy."


My last name is Guy... oh well, I guess it's not as bad as my middle name: Corder.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

rhetorical wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:Kind of sucks until you get used to hearing your "name" all around you, everywhere you go. Lucky I'm not paranoid.
There's also the added bonus of ever third new person you meet, upon learning your name, going "Good Day to you :wink: ".

Beats "Sue" though, I guess?

Beats "Guy."


My last name is Guy... oh well, I guess it's not as bad as my middle name: Corder.

Beats "Buddy Guy."

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby fənɑlədʒɪst » Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:29 am UTC

Misread words... Well, until I studied for the GRE, I had always thought [ˈɹɛ.ɾɚ.ɪk] and [ɹə.ˈtʰɔɹ.ɪk] were two different words, with separate but related meanings. It wasn't until my friend read my GRE word list and pronounced <rhetoric> as [ˈɹɛ.ɾɚ.ɪk] that I put two and two together.

Also, until one of my friends pointed out that I was insane, I had always thought "sandwich" and "sammich" were two different lexical items. I used "sammich" to refer to sandwiches that you dip in sauce and "sandwich" for everything else.

It makes me happy to know that things like this eventually lead to sound change and lexical change in a language over time. We're all leading the charge to the English of the future!

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:04 am UTC

fənɑlədʒɪst wrote:I used "sammich" to refer to sandwiches that you dip in sauce and "sandwich" for everything else.

There are sandwiches that you dip in sauce?

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby fənɑlədʒɪst » Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

Yeah. I think normal people refer to them as "French dip" and "Italian dip" sandwiches. You usually dip them in some sort of meat-based broth.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Sizik » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

she/they
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Yes. And if wishes were horses, wishing wells would fill up very quickly with drowned horses.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby Eebster the Great » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:45 pm UTC

fənɑlədʒɪst wrote:Yeah. I think normal people refer to them as "French dip" and "Italian dip" sandwiches. You usually dip them in some sort of meat-based broth.

Sounds pretty good to me.

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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby minno » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:My name is Michael, so whenever someone says "My [k]-" I turn my head. The rest of the second word always makes it clear before I speak up and make a fool of myself. It's also infrequent enough that I've never gotten used to it.


I think I have it worse. "Will" comes up in conversations a lot...
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Re: Misheard and misread words

Postby ndkid » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:45 pm UTC

I always read epitome and hyperbole phonetically, so it takes me a couple of seconds to understand what they mean.


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