Alexis Simpson

Faculty Advisor

Kristin Bovaird-Abbo

Document Type


Publication Date



This research poster looks into the reasoning behind the misheard song lyrics from the famous 1982 Album Too-Rye-Ay song “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. This song contains many misheard lyrics that can be explained through the examination of the dynamic linguistic structure. The main idea when looking at this song is to first understand how many lyrics are misheard and what they sound like. I then use the International Phonetic Alphabet and the linguistic vowel rules, to compare the original lyrics with the misheard lyrics to determine the manner and place of articulation, which is how and where the tongue makes certain sounds to create words. All these aspects play a role in why people slip and say a wrong word, including the speed and dialect of the person speaking. Songs can be easier to mishear or mispronounce because they involve articulation and speeds different from normal conversations, thus giving more room for errors to occur. The science behind this idea deals with the mouth and the many important tools, the tongue for example, that allow speech to occur. What makes understanding these specific song lyrics in Come On Eileen important is because it contains a wide range of mistakes due to different articulation problems that best highlights the overall problems that occur across the board with mishearing words and why. At first, there seems to be no way of understanding why they occur, but with knowledge of phonetics, that gap is closed.


This presentation is a finalist for the Undergraduate Developing Scholars Research Excellence Award