No matter how well you’re learning a language, and how confident you feel in handling the basics, encountering it in a natural context will always throw something at you that you just can’t figure out. You can look at it, try to figure out its meaning from the context, guess at its meaning from its spelling and similarity to other words, but it simply defies understanding. This is of course especially difficult if you hear the word or phrase spoken, when you don’t have the luxury of analysing it to any great degree.
I was thinking about this this morning in the car on the way back from a lesson. I was listening to “The Man Who Sold the World” by David Bowie, and thinking about the fact that the cover version by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged is probably better known. So much so, that people might assume that it’s the original version. In this regards it’s similar to other songs such as “All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan – 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience – 1968), and “Tainted Love” (Gloria Jones – 1964, Soft Cell – 1981).
This time though, I didn’t think too much about this. Instead, I was more concerned with that term – cover version. Continue reading