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Posts Tagged ‘Grant Barrett’

AP Gets to the Bottom of Christmas Song Mondegreens

Any AP story that requires interviews with the co-owner of an East Village karaoke bar and the co-host of a public radio show about the English language is absolutely fine by our Christmas carol songbook.

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The delightful item, by entertainment and lifestyles reporter Leanne Italie, is all about “mondegreens,” a term used to describe the usually very funny instances of people mishearing song lyrics like “9 Ladies Dancing” (from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”) as “9 Lazy Hansons.” Grant Barrett, of the aforementioned radio program A Way With Words, explains how the term originated:

The word, he said, can be traced to Sylvia Wright and a column she wrote in Harper’s magazine in 1954 titled, “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.” Wright discovered that for years she had botched the last line of the first stanza of the Scottish folk ballad “The Bonnie Earl o’ Moray.”

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“Vook” Heralds An Era Of Stupid e-Reader Terms

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The New York Times released its list of buzzwords for 2009 last week, including terms people actually used this year, like “birthers” and “I’mma let you finish” (more of a buzzphrase, actually), and ones that literally no one outside of reporters Mark Leibovich and Grant Barrett‘s inner circle have ever used, like “mancession” and “drive like a Cullen.” You know, because in Twilight the Cullen family drives really fast? Nope.

Especially head-scratching was the inclusion of the buzzword “vook” which Barrett describes as “A digital book that includes some video in its text.” We’d give our own opinion on this entry, but Publisher’s Weekly just sums it up so succinctly:

While we are happy to think e-books and multimedia in general have become more a part of Americans’ collective consciousness in 2009, frankly, we’ve never really heard anyone use the term outside of publishing, so we kind of question its “buzz.”

Agreed! In fact, a Google News search reveals that before October, only two or three publications had ever used that term. And while October saw a boost in articles about the multi-media term, the past two months yielded less than four results that didn’t just refer back to this Times article.

So while it may be a buzzword to The New York Times, “vook” is certainly no “Play him off, keyboard cat,” which didn’t even make the list.

Read More: The Buzzwords of 2009New York Times

Two Publishing Terms Among 2009 ‘New York Times’ “Buzzwords”Publisher’s Weekly