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Lunch Hour Lectures - Spring 2013
Prof Andrew Nevins, Professor of Linguistics, UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences
Almost every song lyric can be misunderstood: famously, Jimi Hendrix’s 'Kiss the Sky' is often heard as 'Kiss This Guy'. Why does this happen? While slips of the tongue are well-known, slips of the ear have received far less attention. Professor Nevins has developed a database of 4000 naturally collected examples where the hearer is the source of miscommunication. Looking into recurrent slips reveals that our expectations can bias what we mishear, but within limits: the actual utterance and the misheard message must be phonetically close enough to allow our ears to deceive us.
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