Mondegreens – Yahoo Health (May 26, 2015)

Yahoo Health (May 26, 2015)

Prof. Andrew Nevins was asked to comment on why we often mishear lyrics — Mondegreens for an article by Yahoo Health writer Korin Miller.

Excerpt: “Prone to mondegreens? It might not be your fault. Andrew Nevins, PhD, a professor of linguistics at Britain’s University College London tells Yahoo Health that some sounds are just more easily confused than others.

Consonants are typically more confused than vowels, he says, and unstressed syllables are more easily confused than stressed syllables. Nouns are also confused more often than verbs. So, when you have a line like “got a long list of ex-lovers,” which contains two nouns out of six words and three words that start with consonants, it leaves a lot open for misinterpretation.”

For the full article please visit:


The Languages ​​Science Festival 2014, Rome (I Linguaggi Festival delle Scienze 2014)

Diane Lillo-Martin, Andrew Nevins and Kyle Johnson gave a talk at the The Languages ​​Science Festival 2014 in Rome (“I Linguaggi” Festival delle Scienze 2014) on “The sounds, signs and forms of language“.


An abstract of the talk is shown below:

There is hidden structure to the atomic parts of language: the
gestures and sounds that make up words and sentences. This structure
is largely responsible for all of the magic that is language. It is
responsible for enabling meaningless sounds and signs to become
bearers of meaning. It equips sentences with the ability to express
literally an infinity of messages. It is the key to how language codes
information. These lectures will explain how research in linguistics
discovers such structure, with illustrations from natural languages.
Professor Johnson will present some of the latest ideas about how
words are structured into larger syntactic building blocks. Professor
Nevins will show how single speech sounds are organized into larger
phonological units. And Professor Lillo-Martin will reveal how signed
languages exploit the same principles of organization, despite the
different modality of expression.