When British soldiers in India heard the Mohammedans in their religious procession of the Moharram beating their breasts with the accompanying cry, "Yā Hasan! Yā Hosain!" they translated the wailing sound into the more familiar English sounds, "Hobson Jobson." The phrase has been applied as the name for a familiar process in language history more usually known as "Folk-Etymology."
Foreign words when adopted into English need to be assimilated. Sounds in foreign speech that are strange to English speech need to be fitted into the English scheme of vocal sounds. Thus in words borrowed from French the peculiar French sound of u has usually been converted in English to the diphthong iu (as in new) or to the simple 'oo' sound. Thus French vertu is turned into English virtue. In the same way foreign words, when adopted into English, need to be fitted into the English word system. There is ever present the disposition to fit the strange elements into familiar word molds, involving, in many instances, strange distortions.
English-speaking troops on the Continent during the World War experienced language difficulties similar to those of the British troops in India, and they handled their difficulties in precisely the same way. French words and phrases recast in English form produced strange effects. Vin blanc, bon jour, au revoir, três bien, toute de suite, camouflage, were converted into vinegar blink, barn door, olive oil, three beans, toot sweet, and camel flags. The