30 Times Misheard Words In Conversations Ended Up Having Hilarious Results
While English is the most widely spoken language worldwide, it is also full of weird quirks that even native speakers have a hard time figuring out. Some words are spelled the same but pronounced differently, others sound alike yet have completely separate meanings — the list goes on and on.
With so many twists and turns, there’s bound to be some miscommunication, and it often comes from people mishearing things. However, if they're quick-witted, they could avoid embarrassing themselves. But if they're not, their slip-ups might end up online. And that’s exactly what this post is all about.
Recently, Twitter user Andy van Slyke who goes by the handle @im_all_id kicked off a hilarious thread by explaining her flirting blunder. Thousands of people joined in to share funny mishaps of how they misunderstood one another in conversations. We at Bored Panda selected some of the best tweets from the thread, all for your entertainment. So have a look at them right below, upvote the ones that made you laugh, and be sure to share your own stories with us in the comments!
Twitter user Andy van Slyke recently tweeted about her flirting blunder and kicked off a hilarious thread full of stories about how people misheard words in conversations
Image credits: im_all_id
Audiologist Dr. Victoria Zambrano stated that it's not uncommon to hear words incorrectly. She explained that hearing involves not only our ears but also our brain. "First, sound waves need to be able to reach our brain through the physical act of hearing. From there, the brain uses the information that has reached it to interpret sound and give it meaning."
When we sometimes mishear certain words, it could be due to a hearing loss condition. Our brain might not receive all the signals it needs to fully understand the incoming language. "To take a page from Dr. Seuss, differentiating words like 'here' from 'there' or 'house' from 'mouse' becomes difficult, if not plain impossible," Zambrano explained.
However, misunderstanding words can result in funny accidents, such as the ones you see in this list. They often happen because we don't properly listen or simply hear what we want to hear. According to science journalist Ingrid Wickelgren, the act of listening might seem simple enough, but the situation is usually far more complicated in the real world.
"First, to mentally process the message, the person to whom you are speaking has to be paying attention. Not only may external distractions … divert their minds away from the words, but their own thoughts might also similarly lead them astray. Lost in thought, they are just not hearing you," she wrote.
You see, language processing takes a fair amount of thinking. "We use a short-term mental sketch pad, so-called working memory, to hold each word and its meaning in mind long enough to combine it with others," so if the meaning of the words is obscure, the task gets harder.
Moreover, people often fail to express themselves clearly. They might forget to let the listener know about important context, mumble their words, or simply choose the wrong expression. So "even when the other person's brain is ready to listen, the information they need from a speaker is often not all there."
While mishearing things in everyday conversations is quite common, song lyrics take it to a whole other level. How many times did you sing out loud at the top of your lungs to your favorite song only to find out you completely missed the right words? If you can’t keep track of the count, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
These mishaps are often referred to as mondegreens — a word or phrase that results from mishearing or misinterpreting a statement or song lyric. And it's no surprise that these slip-ups are always funny, leaving people surprised they’ve been wrong this whole time. For example, singing "Hold me closer Tony Danza" when the correct lyrics by Elton John are "Hold me closer tiny dancer". Or believing Queen wrote "Saving his life from this warm sausage tea" when it’s in fact "Spare him his life from this monstrosity".
The English language is extremely rich in words that simply sound alike which is the perfect ground for such accidents. Also, Dr. Wei Ji Ma, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, found in his lip-reading study that it’s much harder to understand what people are saying or singing when they’re not looking at a person's face.
"Understanding speech can be difficult, especially when it’s noisy," Ma told NBC News. "We found that this process can be helped a lot by looking at the speaker’s face. If you have only sound information, you will sometimes make mistakes. But if you also have the visual information, the brain will combine those two pieces and get a better sense of what’s being said."
Ma revealed that the study participants got the words right only 10 percent of the time when listening. Seeing a person's lips move improved understanding of the words up to 60 percent. "What seems to be happening with misunderstood song lyrics is that what you hear is not always reliable," the professor said. "It’s noisy, the singer is singing fast, he’s not articulating well or maybe he has an accent. The sound information is uncertain, that’s step one."
While many of the situations you read while scrolling through this list did not involve any noisy surroundings, people still seem to have a tendency to mishear things. Whether they did not listen closely enough or were just a tad distracted, we're sure happy they decided to share their funny tales with everyone online.