The hit songJar of Hearts (2010) by Christina Perri became the subject of numerous parodies due to many people mishearing the title lyrics as not ‘jar of hearts’ but the rather more odious ‘jar of farts’.
Why did this happen? Well it’s all down to connected speech and the sound connection between ‘of’ and ‘hearts’. This is a cc (consonant to consonant) sound connection and we can see in Lesson 5.7 Connected Speech that we need to change this to a vc (vowel to consonant) connection. When the second syllable in a sound connection starts with a h sound we usually delete it and then move forward the final consonant sound of the first syllable. As the voiced consonant sound v (from ‘of’) moves forward, it changes to its unvoiced equivalent f.
The first sound connection ‘jar of’ is vv (vowel to vowel), so we connect with a r sound (intrusion). ‘Of’ is a function word, so it is not stressed and after losing its final consonant sound becomes an embedded schwa sound after r: Jar r
In short, it’s too difficult for the singer to pronounce v and h together (‘of hearts’), since a vc connection is required. It’s no surprise then that such a lovely sentiment on paper (‘jar of hearts’) becomes something rather more pungently unpleasant in the listener’s ears. It’s just unfortunate that the normal process of using connected speech to create vc connections has resulted in an entirely different phrase, but one that was humorously relevant.
In this free podcast I examine some of the English words that I really dislike, and try to work out why I don’t like them. Then I create a relaxation tape using these words in an attempt to get over my negative feelings!
You can see all the words here:
Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes – thank you!
Music: Ignite To Light by P C III. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Ask and answer the questions with a partner or small group:
What is singing? Can you sing? Do you sing? What do you sing? When do you sing? Do you sing in the shower or sing along to the radio while in the car or at work? How would you describe your voice? Why do you sing? In what situations? Can you sing part of a song now? If not, why not? Is it embarrassing to sing in public? Why? / Why not? Would you be happy to sing on a stage in public for money? For how much? Why do people prefer to sing when they are on their own? What would happen if you sang more often – either at work or at home?
If you think you can’t sing, why is that? Do you sing out of tune? How can you judge that? Would you like to be able to sing? Have you ever had singing lessons? Do you believe that the ability to sing is genetic or can anybody learn to sing? Is there any advantage in being able to sing? Is it possible to improve your singing technique? Research has shown that only 2% do not possess the required skills. Do you agree?
Who is your favourite singer? Why? Do you prefer male or female voices? Do you prefer a solo singer or a group who sing in harmony together? Why? Who is the best singer of the past fifty years in your opinion? Who is the best current singer? How many different kinds of singer can you think of? What is the difference between singing and rapping? Do you like rap music? Why? / Why not?
Why do people sing? What uses does singing have, for example: to celebrate, to worship, to mourn, to entertain, and so on. Is singing a necessary function of life? Do we all sing in private? Why do children make up their own songs and sing so often? Do you believe that only humans can sing? Do birds sing, or is the sound that they make produced mechanically rather than by choice?
How do we sing? How are the following parts of the body used: a) diaphragm, b) larynx, c) vocal cords, d) tongue, e) teeth, f) chest, g) head? Have you ever watched a very good singer and noticed how they use their bodies to sing? How do professional singers warm up their voices and how do they take care of them?
Do you think that it is a good job to be a professional singer? Why? / Why not? What would be the hardships and pleasures of this kind of job? How much money do you think they make? Is it worth being a busker – singing in the street all day? Imagine a day in the life of… a) an opera singer, b) a pop singer, c) a busker, d) a vocal coach, e) a singer in a West End musical, f) a children’s entertainer… and so on.
Have you ever joined a choir? Tell me about it. If not, would you like to? Why do people sing in their spare time for free? Is community singing enjoyable? Why? / Why not? Have you ever sung in a foreign language? Do you sing in church, or as part of a service of worship? Does singing have a spiritual significance for you?
What is your favourite song? Have you ever heard it sung by another person? What is the effect when different people record a version of the same song? Have you ever written a song? Would you like to be a famous singer-songwriter? Why? / Why not?