The writer Sylvia Wright coined the term 'mondegreen' in 1954.In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line of the first stanza from the 17th century ballad 'The Bonnie Earl O' Murray' She wrote "When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me, and one of my favourite poems began, as I remember:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands, Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O'Murray, And Lady Mondegreen."
The actual fourth line is 'And laid him on the green.' As Wright explained the need for a new term, "The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original."
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