Head over Hills

Head over Hills

You know, that Tears for Fears song right?

[pausing, for the punch line and the explanation]

Now before you rush to correct my spelling, that is what I saw written on a T-shirt some college student was wearing.

I was walking behind him and wondered, “what the heck was this weird English going on here?”

Head over Hills. That’s some freaky, esoteric, surreal gibberish.

Then I read the next line:

By Tears for Fears.

It took me a good 20 seconds (maybe I’ve been in Korea too long) before I figured it out.


Head over Heels.

That’s the Tear for Fears’ song.

Of course I know what happened. It’s a short/long vowel thing going on here. It’s a common mistake that many English language learners make in Korea. Getting the long “ee” sound confused with “i” – pill, sometimes comes out peel; ship, sometimes comes out sheep and heel comes out hill.

Make a mistake like that and the next thing you know you’ve got a couple thousand people running around head over heels with their head over hills T-shirts.

Head over Hills.



6 Responses to “Head over Hills”

  1. Claudine Giovannoni June 5, 2010 at 3:51 am # Reply

    Ohhh yes…
    is happening all the time… and, believe me, I getting pretty good with this type of mistakes.
    Actually my problem is that I use to mix up several languages!
    You get an Italian lovely mix with English and French… well… could be interesting, but for sure the grammar isn’t right.
    Doesn’t matter: I guess that T-shirt got your total interest, didn’t it?
    I wish you and your family a lovely week-end…

    Con un bellissimo sole e temperature calde e piacevoli!

  2. Nye June 5, 2010 at 10:27 am # Reply

    :) guilty. I think it’s very common if English is not your first language, sometimes I make a mistake like that without knowing. :)

    • Jeffrey June 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm # Reply


      As an English teacher, on a personal level I see these kinds of mistakes every day; on a bigger scale or level, one of the biggest complaints I have about English misuse in Korea is that people’s pride gets in the way. As the adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — I think if one is going to print a couple thousand T-shirts with English on them, one might want to have a “native speaker” take a look at them first. Then again, it’s quite possible that these T-shirts could have been a “mistake” on an international order and sold at some outlet store here.

      Of course, it’s always amusing to see these English mistakes–gives me something to blog about!

  3. Tim Wallin June 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm # Reply

    Jeff Miller,
    If you are the same Jeff Miller I went to Eureka College with, this message is for you. I am neighbors with Jessie Ziano (nee Lockridge) and I was really appreciating your comments in the News Tribune. I talked with Jessie tonight and she also liked what she read. She is really amazed at all the responses she has had, and also from her family, from people all around the world. Tim Wallin, Granville, IL

    • Jeffrey June 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm # Reply


      Yes, that’s me. Thanks for the comments. I knew Les from a long time ago, back in the early 1980s. I just wanted to do something special for those who knew him.

  4. lady0fdarkness June 7, 2010 at 9:46 am # Reply

    it’s 2010, but I’m still an 80s girl. I miss the 80s!!!

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