Today’s signal mishearing

At lunch today, a couple at the next table were engaged in some discussion in which the Army was mentioned. Then one of them went into a riff on what I heard as uncensored chaplains, who were free to use any language they wanted (obscenity, racial slurs, whatever). This struck me as bizarre, so I tuned in more closely.

Turns out the topic at that point was communications on the net, and eventually I realized the speaker was talking about uncensored chatrooms.

Just that slight original topic-biasing led me into the mishearing. Once lodged in my mind, it was hard to shake, and for a while I kept mishearing later occurrences of uncensored chatrooms, even as they became increasingly unlikely in context.

These things can stick. Some mondegreens can be annoyingly persistent, even when you know the truth. I’m still led astray by the lyrics of “Blinded by the Light“.

 

2 Responses to “Today’s signal mishearing”

  1. Mishearing « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] interpretations can also be set up by the immediate context (as in the mishearing I reported on here) rather than longer-range expectations, but such effects can be excluded in Johnson’s case, […]

  2. Annals of mishearing « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Today’s signal mishearing (link): uncensored chatrooms heard as uncensored […]

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