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Waxing Moronic: 10 Wrong Facts From Song Lyrics


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'Don't Stand So Close to Me' by The Police
"Hey, Sting, what's up with that pronunciation? Aren't you a former English teacher?" © Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis
"Hey, Sting, what's up with that pronunciation? Aren't you a former English teacher?" © Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis

I will get flack for calling this incorrect, but I'm the writer and thus omnipotent on this page. I'm stamping it with the red "WRONG" label, because it's a pet peeve, and when else could I fit it into an article? Unless HowStuffWorks is putting together a list of "Ten Literary Figures Who Have Hard Names," now's my chance.

In The Police song "Don't Stand So Close to Me," Sting sings of a schoolgirl's crush on an older teacher. It's a relationship that is bordering on inappropriate -- and maybe already crossed it. In it, he makes a few references to the novel "Lolita," including a line that goes, "like the old man in/that book by Nabakov." But the thing is, Sting pronounces it wrong. Sting pronounces it "Nab-A-koff" when it is pronounced "Nah-BO-koff."

OK, I get it. It's not a big deal. It's technically not even wrong perhaps. But there's no denying that Sting probably changed the way Nabakov's name is pronounced for generations, just to fit the beats in his rhyme scheme. A scheme that rhymes "koff" with "cough" by the way, which is totally lame.