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December 15, 2012

Play It Again, Sam

We all use words and see and hear them used by others continually. But that doesn't mean we always understand either the intended meaning or even the words.

When I was a lot younger,I had a friend who, it seemed to me...

...always misheard song lyrics.

There are also famous misheard, or misremembered, lines from well-known films. "Play it again, Sam" (from Casablanca) is probably the most prominent of these lines that never were.

If you want to confirm that movie quote (or correct someone else) here's a good place to begin - http://www.squidoo.com/moviemisquotes.

When we listen to music, watch films or, especially when we talk to people, we need to be careful to be certain that we really understand what they are saying.

This can happen in the public marketplace of ideas and business as well. Just recently there was a posted ad that, apparently was meant to be satire, but got a lot of negative reaction because many people didn't know or believe, that it was satire.

You can see the full story here - http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1214/1224327837452.html.

Satire can be tricky. I write an occasional satire piece and sometimes readers don't understand either the message or the intent. Satire is an acquired taste. If you want to develop your understanding of what satire is and how it is used, I suggest that you look here - http://www.theonion.com/.

Many people don't understand satire, but it can be a very powerful way of getting across a message that may be too difficult to express any other way.

It is nuanced and, in a way, is like learning an entirely new language.

And like learning any language, we learn little by little. And as we do, it becomes our 'normal'.

"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine."~ Mike Murdock ~

I confess to being an unrepentant word nerd, and I love the many possibilities and contradictions in a language as flexible and fluid as English - especially the always-unpredictable American version.

Send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

P.S. You can always send me a note at mmorf@mail.com

Posted by mmorf at December 15, 2012 12:56 PM

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