| Adele singing about ‘cheesy butter cups’? Why we sometimes hear the wrong lyrics…

Have you ever heard something in a song, then second guessed what you heard because it sounded completely out of context and made no sense?

Sometimes the words you hear don’t not make any sense, sound a little too racy for the sentence, or seem just vile.

When you hear “the lonely Starbucks lovers in Taylor Swift’s popular track Blank Space, instead of got a long list of ex-lovers, or Adele’s background singers singing You’re gonna wish she never had red meat, cheesy butter cup, rolling in the deep in her hit single Rolling in the Deep – these are just a couple examples of a mondegreen.

What’s funny is that the title mondegreen is a mondegreen. The name is believed to have come from an American writer, Sylvia Wright, who misheard a line in a poem her mother used to read to her when she was young.

ear anatomy divisions how the ear hears mondegreen

Another name for the phenomenon hails from Japan and it’s called a soramimi, which means “empty ear” or “mishearing”.

There is, however, a slight difference between the two. While a soramimi is indeed a mishearing of lyrics, it specifically refers to understanding lyrics in one language as sounding similar to lyrics in another.

In South Africa, we can relate to both, given our 11 official languages and the music created in these different languages.

In countries where English is a foreign language, people struggle as well. A classic example is the contestant on the Bulgarian Music Idol show, who sang an English song, Ken Lee.

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When babies are learning to speak and adults are in the process of learning a new language, mondegreens can be expected.

Many people learn by ear, and when listening to natives speaking the language, they pick up a collection of syllables, but have difficulty grouping those syllables to create existing words others are able to comprehend.

When people who are learning a new language hear individual words, they may have greater pronunciation and comprehension success when learning words that don’t sound familiar.

A communication glitch

According to The New Yorker, a likely reason for mondegreens is that we simply mishear what’s been said or sung.

She said hearing basically happens in two parts: where we hear something, and then the processing of what we heard. But somewhere between hearing and processing parts, there’s a communication glitch.

Sound needs to travel through the ear canal, past the ear drum into the middle ear, and then to the inner ear where the cochlea helps the sound reach the auditory nerve. It must reach the auditory nerve in order for the brain to process the sound so you can understand it.

ear anatomy divisions how the ear hears mondegreen

It’s easy to mishear the lyrics of a song because of the presence of instruments and musical effects, which may drown out the words. 

Another point is that we may need another sense to help us out, such as sight. Often when we’re listening to music we don’t actually see the artist’s mouth, but if we’re watching the performance, we may be able to make out some of the lyrics by lipreading.

Even though you may think hearing loss is mostly a result of faulty ear components, your brain plays a major part as well. Very little has been done to uncover the precise reason behind the phenomenon of mondegreens, but Dr Timothy Steele states that there may be a disconnect between hearing and comprehension. This happens as a result of a “busy” environment that causes your brain to become overwhelmed by the different sounds it is trying to process.

However, if you think there is something seriously amiss with your hearing, you may want to have your hearing tested. | Unploughed land causing poor nutrition in Eastern Cape

Land in the Eastern Cape, once ploughed by villagers and the source of fresh produce, is now used either just for grazing purposes or is going unused altogether.

Residents of these areas, who once lived off their land – following a healthy diet complete with a good amount of fresh vegetables and produce – are now becoming increasingly unhealthy as their diets are no longer balanced.

Land used only for grazing

Research conducted among a group of residents in Flagstaff and Lusikisiki town in the Eastern Cape showed that people no longer farm their fields and work at growing vegetables all year round.

Ndabisukile Zinto (57) at Holy Cross location in Lusikisiki says he owns a garden where he plants vegetables. However what he produces does not sustain his family for the entire year, and so he has stopped ploughing his 2 hectares – the amount of land allocated to every resident by the local chief.

“Each resident is allocated land wide enough to build a house with a garden and a field with land to be used for ploughing. However nowadays we do not make use of the field allocated for ploughing and the land is being used only for grazing. People have become lazy and our children now attend schools so no one seems interested to use the fields for ploughing. This has resulted to us eating all these oily foods that make us sick. I am now living with diabetes,” Zinto said.

His wife Nomvuselelo Zinto (50) agrees that when the vegetables from their garden are finished, they resort to buying them in town. But often the produce in town is too expensive because it is brought in from other areas, and the added transportation costs make them unaffordable.

Unhealthy lifestyle

“My monthly groceries include 20kg of mealie meal, 10kg of rice, and a bag of potatoes, 5 litres cooking oil, 12.5kg flour, soup, cabbage and variety of meat. I always ensure that there is enough meat because my husband loves it. The drivers charge us a lot of money for our groceries,” Nomvuselelo said.

Lindile Ndayi, Non Communicable Diseases Manager at the Qawukeni Local Clinic, says their data collection is informed by the District Health Information system programme which works on specific patient health conditions.

“Obesity is a result of an unhealthy lifestyle leading to chronic conditions. We do not have specific statistics for obese patients because it is a lifestyle disease of people who don’t get proper exercise and fail to eat a balanced diet, leading to other health problems. If a person fails to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it can result in conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, chronic pulmonary disease, strokes and many other conditions,” she said.

“The advice that we give to our patients is to eat balanced diet. What I have noticed, people in our communities eat lot of starch, braai meat and almost no vegetables.  They have stopped ploughing their fields to get fresh produce,” Lindile Ndayi said. – Health-e News.

 Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | Amnesty suggested for Life Esidimeni NGO officials

In Monday’s arbitration hearings in Johannesburg Christine Nxumalo, whose sister died at the infamous NGO Precious Angels, suggested to retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke that such officials had made false testimonies during the arbitration process to protect themselves from being held criminally liable for the lost lives.

‘Everything she said was a lie’

The official death toll of patients lost during the transfer from Life Esidimeni facilities to a number of unlicensed NGOs now stands at 141.

Clearly frustrated with testimonies of NGO officials, particularly Precious Angels’ founder Ethel Ncube, Nxumalo said, “I can tell you that everything she said was a lie.”

She also said the families had repeatedly warned the health department about the implications of ending the contract with Life Esidimeni but “we received no assistance whatsoever”.

She is critical of the government but is more interested in “getting the truth”. Even though she has opened up a case with the police and her sister’s body was autopsied, she had still not heard anything from the police, nor has she had any access to the post mortem results.

Ethel [Ncube] had told Nxumalo that her sister had died on August 17 2016, but it emerged, from a paramedics report, that Virginia Machpelah had actually “passed on” on the 15th.

‘Truth over justice’

Nxumalo said she was “hoping” to get answers through this arbitration process but she feels officials have consistently told “lies”.

To make matters worse, Machpelah’s daughter and Nxumalo’s niece died unexpectedly two weeks ago and they have also not yet received the post mortem results and are not sure of the cause of death.

“In fact the 8th of October which was Sunday was her 21st and the very next day she died,” she said. 

Nxumalo said that Virginia’s daughter “was affected” by the circumstances around her mother’s death.

Moseneke, who is leading the proceedings, suggested that Nxumalo’s suggestion for amnesty for NGO leaders would translate to “truth over justice”.

Nxumalo admitted that it was a “catch 22” situation. But, she said, “[If you give them] amnesty, that would probably be the only thing that would get them to say something, because I think it’s a natural reaction … you won’t tell the truth – not if it’s going to get you in jail.” – Health-e News.

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | Things you shouldn’t say to someone who stutters

Stuttering is an impediment that affects fluency of speech. It can begin during childhood and last well into one’s adult years.

What causes stuttering?

Stuttering can be caused by different things:

  • Genetics
  • Language and speech development when young
  • Neurophysiology (stuttering can occur after a head injury or stroke)
  • Anxiety (although emotional trauma doesn’t always cause stuttering)

How is it diagnosed?

Stuttering can be diagnosed by a speech therapist. If you suspect your child stutters, it’s important to seek help and treatment as soon as possible.

Almost 70 million people worldwide stutter. There are ways to treat and control stuttering through speech therapy and breathing exercises, but there is no definite cure.

This video also gives us insight into stuttering in a funny, yet informative way.

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NEXT ON HEALTH24X | This is exactly how long the sex ‘afterglow’ lasts, according to science

It’s no secret why most people have sex: They’re horny and want to get some.

But doing the dirty also creates those some warm, fuzzy feelings post-sex that make you feel super close with your partner.

Now, new research suggests that closeness can last long after you’ve done the deed.

A data analysis of more than 200 newlywed couples published in the journal Psychological Science found that sex “afterglow” can last up to two days after you’ve hooked up.

For the study, researchers analysed data in which spouses reported their daily sexual activity and sexual satisfaction for 14 days. They also reported on their satisfaction with their marriage at the start of the study and four to six months after it started.

Researchers came up with several complicated-looking math equations using this data and found that people feel sexually fulfilled after getting it on (especially on the same day that they had sex – no shocker there).

But they also reported feeling more sexually satisfied in the 48 hours post-sex session, too.

And it’s not just a sex thing: Couples who reported sexual satisfaction also said they had higher levels of relationship satisfaction – both at the start of the study and over time.

Read more: 8 subtle things you can do right after sex to boost your bond

The association was the same for men and women of all ages, and stood up even after researchers took into account how often couples had sex, their personality traits and how long they’d been together.

“We interpret these findings as evidence that sexual afterglow is a proximal cognitive mechanism through which sex promotes pair bonding,” the study authors wrote.

The researchers point out that there are obvious limitations to the study, like the fact that people are more likely to want to report their sexual and marital satisfaction in a positive way.

They also noted that some people may have had sex when they weren’t really in the mood to please their partner, which may not cause the same afterglow effect.

So if you’re trying to get a sense of how often you should boink to keep the warm-fuzzies going in your relationship, it looks like every two days is the magic number.

Thought you knew it all? Um…Bet you haven’t heard of these! We’ve got 101 sex tips guaranteed to keep you busy (and satisfied) all summer long. 

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock 


Bowers & Wilkins PX Review

It’s incredible to think that the PX are Bowers & Wilkins’ first ever pair of noise-cancelling headphones. It is not by any stretch a new technology, and to enter a market so late in the game you would assume that B&W are already on the back foot.

You would be wrong however. The company’s reluctance to use noise-cancelling has always because of the trade-offs that come with sound quality.

Indeed when we asked a spokesperson for the company it was clear that noise-cancelling was something they actually wanted to actively avoid for a long time, so why now?

Well quite simply, they believe they can now release a pair of headphones that cancel noise to a high-standard while still maintaining the incredible sound quality that defines B&W’s entire portfolio.


To give you some idea of how important that reputation is, B&W’s most expensive headphones the P9s aren’t even wireless, let alone noise-cancelling.

So how do the PX’s stand up to B&W’s almost ludicrous standards, and then also the competition.

Well from a design perspective the PX’s are perhaps the most edgy pair of headphones B&W have ever made. Gone is the all-leather design, instead this is a merging of leather, high-quality fabrics and curved metal.


The result is something that looks still distinctly B&W but with more of a modern twist. They’re also quite large and in our view a little heavy so don’t expect them to blend into the background on the bus or train.

The metal frame and stiff leather ear cups also have another unfortunate side-effect which is that like so many other expensive headphones they have a tendency to push down on the top of your head resulting in a soreness that would kick in after the hour/two hour-long mark.

The PX’s certainly aren’t the only headphones to do this, both the recent Beats headphones suffer from it as do many others but it’s something to absolutely consider if you’re planning to take them on a long-haul flight though.

B&W have sensibly opted for clickable controls here rather than anything touch-sensitive and the headphones charge via USB-C. This last bit deserves a special mention because not only does it allow for faster charging but it also means that if your laptop has a USB-C port you can actually play high-quality audio direct to the headphones from the laptop.


Enough about the design though, the key question here is how do they sound? Well they sound like a pair of high-quality Bowers & Wilkins headphones, which in and of itself should give you some sense of the achievement here.

While the noise-cancelling was good (not excellent), the fact they’ve managed to achieve that and maintain this quality of sound is nothing short of remarkable.

Being able to put the headphones on, block off the outside world and then listen to every minute detail on Ólafur Arnalds’ Eulogy For Evolution 2017 was goosebump-inducing.

We don’t want to say that it’s crisp because that suggests there’s a sharpness to the sound, which there isn’t. Instead it’s more a wide, open soundstage that can pick out even the tiniest details and give them the same breadth of volume that you would want from a thunderous bass.


Now in addition to the sound quality, B&W have opted to pair the PX with an app that allows you to update the headphones and gives you some limited control over the ‘smart’ features that come with them.

Now we use the term ‘smart’ loosely because sadly this was the weakest part of the experience. The app allows you to select a number of different noise-cancelling environments such as an office or a plane but all they really seem to do is just determine how severe the noise-cancelling is.

In addition there are sensors in the headphones that can detect when you’ve taken them off, or have lifted a single ear cup. The headphones will pause the music while one side is raised, and then un-pause it when you place them back on your ears.

It’s a useful idea in theory but in our experience it was a bit hit and miss. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t, and sometimes it would just randomly pause the music without us doing anything. It’s not a deal-breaker and it can almost certainly be improved upon with further updates.

The PX’s reportedly have a 22-hour battery life with noise-cancelling enabled. We’ll be completely honest we didn’t get that, with the battery finally packing in at what must have been at least the 15/18-hour mark. That’s still over a days listening.

Are these the best noice-cancelling headphones we’ve ever used? Honestly, no they’re not. Are they the best-sounding noise-cancelling headphones we’ve ever used? Absolutely.

The PX’s don’t once compromise on sound-quality, so in that respect B&W have remained true to their ideals. As a pair of ‘smart’ headphones there’s definitely room for improvement too, but the addition of a USB-C port shows that the company is already planning for the future.

Who should buy the Bowers & Wilkins PX?

At £329 the PX’s are absolutely at the high-end of headphones which means they go up against the likes of the QC35′s and the PXC 500s. While they might not be able to compete in terms of raw noise-cancelling ability these are by far the best-sounding headphones with noise-cancelling. If sound quality is everything to you, then look no further.

Who shouldn’t buy the Bowers & Wilkins PX?

They’re not what you would call effortlessly portable, certainly not as much as say the Beats Studio3′s or the QC35s. This combined with the soreness they cause after long bouts of listening suggest to us that if you’re a long-distance traveller, we would probably recommend you look at the rivals we mentioned above.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are available now for £329.

Prehistoric Fossils Dating Back 9.7m Years Could Rewrite History Of Where Humans Came From

A set of fossilised teeth dating back a staggering 9.7 million years could rewrite the famous ‘out-of-Africa’ theory that suggests humanity moved from Africa to Europe after a major change in the climate.

Discovered by archeologists in a former bed of the river Rhine, the discovery is so significant that the local town’s mayor has claimed that “we shall have to start rewriting the history of mankind after today.”

Mainz Natural History Museum

The teeth themselves seem to share some striking similarities with the teeth of Lucy a 3.2 million year old skeleton discovered in Ethiopia.

Writing in Researchgate, Dr Herbert Lutz writes: “Both teeth, the crowns of an upper left canine and an upper right first molar, are exceptionally well preserved and obviously come from the same body of unknown sex.”

“While the molar shares characters with various other taxa,” explains Dr Lutz. “The canine reveals intriguingly potential hominin affinities: its lingual outline is clearly diamond-shaped.” 

Herein lies the problem which is that while they match those of Lucy, they don’t match with any known species in Europe at the time.

GULSHAN KHAN via Getty Images

Professor Lee Rogers Berger holds a replica of the skull of ‘NEO’ a new skeleton fossil findings of the Homo Naledi Hominin species at the cradle of Human Kind in Maropeng near Johannesburg.

Until now there have been no truly concrete examples of hominins – a species closely related to humans – existing in the European continent around this time.

If they do turn out to belong to a hominin it would throw into question the currently held theory that early humans first evolved in the African continent and started moving north around 200,000/400,000 years ago.

It wouldn’t be until 60,000/70,000 years ago that they would start spreading around the world on a mass scale.

Of course if these teeth turn out to be from a human-related species this would drastically alter the theories that we currently have.

The significance of this is so great that the archaeologists actually waited a year before finally publishing their paper.

While the paper is now finally out in the public domain, Dr Lutz says that the work has just begun as further research will need to be carried out to finally prove the theory.

Petrol And Service Stations Could Be Forced To Install Electric Chargers

The government has announced a brand-new bill that could actually force petrol and service stations by law to install charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles.

There are currently only 4,500 charging stations around the UK, the bill would enable this number to increase drastically along with the implementation of roadside charging points in areas where charging at your home is impossible.

Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

Transport Minister John Haynes said: “This bill will aid the construction of greater infrastructure to support the growing demand for automated and electric vehicles as we embrace this technology and move into the future.”

The bill goes on to state that every new charging point that’s installed will need to be a ‘smart charger’ meaning that it will know the demand that’s being placed on the national grid and adjust in order to maintain equal demand across the country.

A German company Ubitricity has already started rolling out a trial program in London that can actually convert street lamps into charging stations.

ullstein bild via Getty Images

While the bill certainly sounds promising, Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation believes that “The test, though, will be how effectively those powers are exercised.”

The bill’s arrival comes just months after the government finally confirmed that it would be banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

While the date set is further away than most other countries, a recent report by Dutch bank ING predicted that by 2035 almost all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric anyway.

In addition to government support, the car industry has already started making commitments to move all its cars over to either electric or hybrid engines.

Volvo confirmed that all its cars would have an electric motor by 2019 while the Volkswagen Group also announced that it would move all 300 of its models over to an electric powertrain by 2030.

So while it’s clear that car companies are happy to set ambitious targets, the pressure will not be on the government to make sure that the infrastructure will be ready, potentially even before the 2040 deadline.

The need for a large charging network isn’t just to accomadate the increased number of electric vehicles on the road, it will also be needed because at present electric cars just can’t compete with their combustable counterparts in terms of range.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

While car companies like Tesla are offering frankly practical driving ranges (at a premium), the average electric car currently available has a range of around 150+ miles at most.

To help alleviate the concerns around charging times as well, companies like Toyota have said that it is working on a brand-new battery technology that is safer, cheaper and can be charged in just minutes.

Currently a Tesla can be charged to around 80% in just 30mins using the company’s ultra-fast charging solution the Supercharger.

Finally the bill also requires that all owners of self-driving cars will need to be insured and it promises that a system will be put in place that in the event of an accident there will be quick and easy access to compensation.