The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

Have you been high today?

with 5 comments

If not, you need to see this (besides needing a bun to bite Benny Lava): [Make sure you read the subtitles before, not after the corresponding sounds.]

Other people have tried doing similar things, but this guy Buffalax is the best. It takes a certain kind of creativity to pick the words that fit best; others are too constrained by trying to make sense, it appears. How does the saying go — “Take care of the sounds and the sense will take care of itself”? (If you have seen Boten Anna, probably the only song about an IRC bot, you might enjoy its Buffalaxed version. Also possibly Chiranjeevi’s “Kill her” video.)
Buffalax is Mike Sutton, “buffalaxed” is now a verb, and apparently “Prabhu Deva is commonly known on the internet as ‘Benny Lava'”. (And BTW his YouTube user icon is a reference to Robert Ryang’s trailer for The Shining, previously featured here on this blog.)

For some redeeming educational value to this post, I must point out that the Mondegreen phenomenon is related to Micheal Shermer’s demonstration in his TED talk on believing strange things, something that the Wikipedia article does not pick up on. (Ah, Stairway to Heaven…)

[2008-08-09]Update: I hadn’t noticed this: linguistics grad student Ed Cormany compares the song to its original lyrics. Looks like we grad students have all the time :P (or more work => more procrastination, possibly.) He comments on some interesting things I had noticed, such as English words transliterated to different ones and the “I like to swim in it / Beejay!” where there is no actual singing going on. One of the comments also says something I had suspected: “Indian dentals are farther forward than English dentals, which explains why they can sound like English labials. (English dentals [are represented as] retroflexes.)” [Comments about my teeth will be deleted :P]
It leaves a few questions unanswered: what is the “frighteningly accurate” I’d love to see you pee on us tonight! really? I’m pretty sure it’s English, and somewhat sure that the last word is “tonight”.

So if you speak Tamil well enough to understand songs (my Tamil is only good enough to speak to auto-drivers with difficulty :P) your help is needed:
* What is the mystery line?
* Who are the singers?
* Is “Haiku” a common-enough word in Tamil Nadu for people to be familiar with it?

[2008-08-10]Update: Two of my Tamil-speaking friends tell me that the mystery line is just gibberish: apparently this is common in Tamil film songs, such as the first 20 seconds (and possibly later as well, I haven’t seen the rest) of this song. I also found a blog post about gibberish in Tamil songs (and others). :)

Can you confirm or deny this?


Written by S

Sat, 2008-08-09 at 16:29:57

Posted in Uncategorized

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5 Responses

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  1. Haha now I remember how I found your blog. I came across it while looking at Ed Cormany’s Benny Lava article :P

    Are you a Saki fan?


    Sun, 2009-03-29 at 09:12:54

    • I am indeed, very much :)

      Are you? I’ve tried to get all my friends to read Saki, and succeeded sometimes… :p


      Sun, 2009-03-29 at 13:22:21

      • Yeah, I’ve started reading his short stories recently, and enjoyed them immensely. I’ve been more of a Ruskin Bond/R K Narayan person till now.


        Sun, 2009-03-29 at 15:37:40

        • Wow, that makes you the first girl I know who enjoys those stories. :) Some people find them misogynistic for some reason… I guess you can find anything if you’re looking for it. In my opinion, though, they are not — as with Wodehouse, they are merely “anti-aunt”.


          Sun, 2009-03-29 at 16:20:59

          • “as with Wodehouse, they are merely “anti-aunt”.”

            Haha, true :D

            I’d read somewhere about Saki being a misogynist and that troubled me a little (I’m a feminist) before I started reading his stories, but I’ve seen far far worse misogyny. His work is just so delightful that it made me not really care about the supposed misogyny :)


            Sun, 2009-03-29 at 17:45:42

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