And here's the good news - sometimes, sometimes, you're right. Only when it makes sense, though.
Mondegreens are the more traditional form - coined by the American writer Sylvia Wright - and the term itself is a mondegreen, that is to say, the hearing of a word or phrase as a homophone or near-homophone in such a way as it acquires new meaning. It usually involves reanalysing where the word divisions are. The term comes from an article in Harper's Magazine where Wright wrote:
- When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques. One of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
- Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
- Oh, where hae ye been?
- They hae slain the Earl Amurray, [sic]
- And Lady Mondegreen.
The fourth line should in fact be 'and laid him on the green' - it's a 17th century ballad. So next time you make up a really bizarre line to a song you've only partially heard, you know what to call it.
However, eggcorns are slightly different. You all know what one meaning of 'eggcorn' is - it's those little things from which great oaks grow. Yes, that's right, acorns. Someone not quite sure of how to spell acorn came up with a reasonable spelling which - crucially - sounds as though it might be etymologically believable or explicable - at least if you're not an etymologist. Other examples might be 'restbite' for 'respite' where you appear to be having a 'rest' from your troubles 'biting' you. The point is, you have to be able to come up with a defence of why your spelling is correct in terms of a folk etymology or metonymy. No simply trying to palm off they're/there on your teacher.
So, two words of the day and a small excuse to argue with your teacher.