About the name Murray, and English Language

Another version of Miss Suzie/Miss Lucy had a baby, she name it Tiny Tim, is what I was listening to in Pop go the wiggles video full of so many nursery songs.

In this version, they sing, Mary had a turtle, I (but in another version is “He”) called time Tiny Tim. He put him in … .

I wanted to put subtitle for this video so that my kid could learn the words as well. I transcribed most of the songs except some parts that I failed to get exactly what they are. So, I searched on the web typing with Mary had a turtle but I failed to find any songs with this beginning “Mary had a turtle”, and the first line was what I mentioned above.

I didn’t give up searching and I become resolute to find it! I told myself, when they have sung it, then its text should be out there. Then, I thought of something workable, I decided to search for the title of the video Pop go the Wiggles, and there … it served me a great help to find the text, and I realized why I couldn’t find the text !!!

Because it was not Mary, but Murray!

Oh, boy, say why, so many years a go, in a Forum which people used to practice and talk about English language, to a question of a member " what do you think of English language, a native had replied: " It’s a crazy Language" !!

I swear to God, that by now, I fully understand why the guy commented such thing, and now, if I relay his comment somewhere else, and somebody question me for explanation or reason, I have a perfect answer!.

Murray, a boy name, meaning “Lord” or “Master”; Why on earth they should modify the song to this name, and why a name like Murray so much close to “Mary”? I just wonder!

Another thing is that, I eager to know how many others would take it by mistake!

is the verb “are” which I colored blue, correct? Or it should be in past format “were” ?

I didn’t use “were”, because the “words” still are there (in the song) and can baffle someone else, and it is not something that happened in the past , and its nature and quality still exists.

Well, Murray is a “Wiggle”:

Murray Cook

I’m thinking they changed Mary to Murray to personalize the song - hence changing “she” to “he”.

Your argument, inasmuch as I understand it, is logically correct, but there is also a case for using a consistent tense in sentences such as this. You have placed the events in the past, so it can sound odd to suddenly refer to how things are now.

In other words, native English speakers would probably tend to say “I went to see Stonehenge, and I was surprised at how small it was” more than “I went to see Stonehenge, and I was surprised at how small it is”. Both are quite acceptable. Stonehenge was surprisingly small, and still is surprisingly small. But the first way of putting it seems more natural, to me at least.
And it’s a pretty fine semantic distinction to make, before one has mastered a a language.

Just here to represent Murrays. Surname, not given.

Though I have no turtle.

Thanks for the info.

And, another point is that, even the original version or not any other version - at least not what I found - is beginning with the name “Mary”. [ that’s the part of misleading the seeker of the lyrics].

Thank you. Yes, I see you when you are talking about “verb agreement” in a sentence. What I realized is that through the eye of Mr. Grammar the verb should be “were”.

And, is it the case for spoken English as well? I mean we can’t hear this [ not observing the verb agreement ] in spoken English?

I always wondered why the Mary Tyler Moore show had two main characters named Mary and Murray. It got even worse when they mentioned Marie, Murray’s wife.

For added fun, they could have added two new characters - the bonnie Earl of Moray and the Lady Mondegreen. :smiley:

Problems with verb agreement happen in spoken English, but not usually with something so simple, unless it’s just part of a dialect.

What would the Earl of Moray have been doing in Minneapolis? But perhaps they could have done an episode where they threatened to replace anchorman Ted Baxter with a young newscaster named Maury Povich.

In some varieties of spoken English (such as mine) the words “Murray” and “Mary” don’t sound alike and would not be mistaken for each other.

I’m having trouble thinking of any variety in which they would sound alike.

Moray, Murray and Mary all sound distinct in every British accent I can think of.

They might not sound alike, but they’ll sound similar enough in most dialects to be sometimes mistaken for each other.

Yeah, they just sound similar, not completely alike. I noticed it especially with Murray and Marie in the few episodes where Marie is featured. The difference is mostly a matter of emphasis. I wonder if that was a little in-joke with the writers to give Murray’s wife a similar name to his own (and a similar name to the co-worker he had a crush on.)

As far as verb tenses go, one place that’s a bit confusing is Facebook. My Facebook profile currently says that I worked at my current employer, when I still work there now. Not sure why it doesn’t use the present tense for employers that have no “end date” listed.

There ! This is my point too.

Doesn’t this happen is most languages though? Many languages have words that sound a bit alike but are different.

(For the record, Murray sounds quite different from Mary and Marie to my British ears).

“A bit alike” is one thing; “alike enough to be confused” is a lot more alike.

I’m not familiar with the vowels of Farsi, but maybe the vowels in Murray and Mary are harder to distinguish to Reza than they are to a native speaker of English. I know there’s a couple of consonants I can’t distinguish or can only distinguish if I pay very close attention, myself: they don’t exist in Spanish, so I didn’t encounter them along with an explanation of phonetics until I was 15 (previous ESL teachers didn’t bother - assuming they even knew the difference). And as per some of the people in this thread, there are dialects where they are confusingly close even for native speakers - if the recordings he has are from those dialects, expecting him to be able to distinguish something natives can’t is a bit overly optimistic.

Thank you, this was a nice reply. I enjoyed it. Yes, I see what you mean.

To add more:

You all, say there’s a distinctive difference between Murray and Mary, Because you’ve heard enough numerous times of Murray from your childhood up to now.

But I bet for a person (even with a very professional skill in English) who is not a native and didn’t live with natives or in an English-speaking country, Still it IS confusing!

How many times we read and hear the word Mary? And then , out of the blue, you hear Murray had a turtle in a nursery song which you never on earth could say it is Murray not Marry.

When you consider that many natives of the state of Maryland pronounce it “Murlin,” you begin to understand how “Murray” and “Mary” can be easily confused.