Linguistic & Translation Humor

aibohphobia -- the fear of palindromes

Yesterday morning, our phone rang and my wife picked up, saying "Hello." The woman on the other end said "Who is this?"

She said "With whom did you wish to speak?"

There was a long pause and the woman said "Did you just say whom?"

She replied: "Yes I did...."

Woman: "I have the wrong number." Click.

Cute Definitions

AMNESIA: Condition that enables a woman who has gone through labor to make love again.

DUMBWAITER: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

FAMILY PLANNING: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.

FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when your baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

FULL NAME: What you call your child when you're mad at him.

GRANDPARENTS: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.

HEARSAY: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

IMPREGNABLE: A woman whose memory of labor is still vivid.

INDEPENDENT: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

OW: The first word spoken by children with older siblings.

PUDDLE: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

SHOW OFF: A child who is more talented than yours.

STERILIZE: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by blowing on it.

TOP BUNK: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman pajamas.

TWO MINUTE WARNING: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.

VERBAL: Able to whine in words.

WHODUNIT: none of the kids that live in your house...

Today's Ebonic word is: Omelette.

Let me use it in a sentence: "I should pop a cap in yo ass fo what you jus did, but omelette dis one slide."

DIFFICULT ENGLISH: [21 reasons why Eng. is so hard to learn]

1. The bandage was WOUND around the WOUND.
2. His farm was used to PRODUCE PRODUCE.
3. The full dump had to REFUSE any more REFUSE.
4. Let us POLISH the POLISH furniture.
5. He could LEAD if he'd get the LEAD out.
6. Soldiers decided to DESERT their dessert in the DESERT.
7. A BASS was painted on the head of the BASS drum.
8. Immediately the DOVE DOVE into the bushes.
9. He did not OBJECT to the OBJECT.
10 This insurance was INVALID for the INVALID.
11 There was a ROW among the oarsmen as to how to ROW.
12 They were too CLOSE to the door to CLOSE it.
13 The buck DOES funny things when the DOES are present.
14 A seamstress and a SEWER fell down into a SEWER line.
15 To help with planting, the farmer taught his SOW to SOW.
16 The WIND was too strong to WIND the sail.
17 After a NUMBER of injections my jaw got NUMBER.
18 Upon seeing a TEAR in the painting, I shed a TEAR.
19 He had to SUBJECT the SUBJECT to a series of tests.
20 How can I INTIMATE this to my most INTIMATE friend?
21 There's no time like the PRESENT, so it was time to PRESENT the PRESENT !

This is dedicated to all people who have, or will, work or travel in China or in that general neck of the woods.

Its amazing, you will understand the above word by the end of the conversation.  Read aloud for best results. "Tendjewberrymud" Be warned, you're going to find yourself talking "funny" for a while after reading this.  The following is a telephone exchange between a hotel guest and room-service at a hotel in Asia, which was recorded and published in the Far East Economic Review.....

Room Service (RS): "Morny. Ruin sorbees"
Guest (G): "Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service"
RS: "Rye..Ruin sorbees..morny! Djewish to odor sunteen??"
G: "Uh..yes..I'd like some bacon and eggs"
RS: "Ow July den?"
G: "What??"
RS: "Ow July den?...pry, boy, pooch?"
G : "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled please."
RS: "Ow July dee bayhcem...crease?"
G: "Crisp will be fine."
RS : "Hokay. An San tos?"
G: "What?"
RS:"San tos. July San tos?"
G: "I don't think so"
RS: "No? Judo one toes??"
G: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo one toes 'means."
RS: "Toes! toes!...why djew Don Juan toes? Ow bow singlish mopping we bother?"
G: "English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying 'Toast.' Fine. Yes,an English muffin will be fine."
RS: "We bother?"
G: "No..just put the bother on the side."
RS: "Wad?"
G: "I mean butter...just put it on the side."
RS: "Copy?"
G: "Sorry?"
RS: "Copy...tea...mill?"
G: "Yes. Coffee please, and that's all."
RS: "One Minnie. Ass ruin torino fee, strangle ache, crease baychem,tossy singlish mopping we bother honey sigh, and copy....rye??"
G: "Whatever you say"
RS: "Tendjewberrymud"
G : "You're welcome"

Cracking an international market is a goal of most growing corporations. It shouldn't be that hard, yet even the big multinationals run into trouble because of language and cultural differences. For example...

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."

In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead."

Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."

The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem - Feeling Free," got translated in the Japanese market into "When smoking Salem, you feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty."

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel, which means horse.

When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company's mistakenly thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the Potato."

Chicken-man Frank Perdue's slogan, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," got terribly mangled in another Spanish translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused."

Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means "big breasts." In this case, however, the name problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales.

Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno mag.

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

and finally...

Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

The Washington Post's "Style Invitational" asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing only ONE letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are some recent winners:

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Tatyr: A lecherous Mr. Potato Head.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient who doesn't get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.

Burglesque: A poorly planned break-in. (See: Watergate)

Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like a serious bummer.

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. {this happens at certain large companies which will remain nameless}

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

A new computer virus is spreading throughout the Internet, and it is far more insidious than last week's Chernobyl menace. Named Strunkenwhite after the authors of a classic guide to good writing, it returns e-mail messages that have grammatical or spelling errors. It is deadly accurate in its detection abilities, unlike the dubious spell checkers that come with word processing programs.

The virus is causing something akin to panic throughout corporate America, which has become used to the typos, misspellings, missing words and mangled syntax so acceptable in cyberspace. The CEO of, an Internet startup, said the virus has rendered him helpless. "Each time I tried to send one particular e-mail this morning, I got back this error message: 'Your dependent clause preceding your independent clause must be set off by commas, but one must not precede the conjunction.' I threw my laptop across the room."

The following poem appeared recently in INFOCUS magazine. The original authors were Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese of Calvin College & Seminary of Grand Rapids, MI.

A poll conducted among INFOCUS readers had established "waka" as the proper pronunciation for the angle-bracket characters < and >, though some readers held out resolutely for "norkies."

The text of the poem follows:

        |{,,SYSTEM HALTED

The poem can only be appreciated by reading it aloud, to wit:

        Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
        Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
        Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
        Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
        Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
        Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

The Essay

A university creative writing class was asked to write a concise essay containing these four elements:

- religion
- royalty
- sex
- mystery

The prize-winning essay read:

"My God," said the Queen. "I'm pregnant. I wonder who did it?"

"I am." is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I Do." is the longest sentence?

Are people more violently opposed to fur rather than leather because it's much easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs?

Do Roman paramedics refer to IV's as "4's"?

If 21 is twenty one and 31 is thirty one, Why isn't 11 pronounced onety one?

If horrific means to make horrible, does terrific mean to make terrible?

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked and drycleaners depressed?

If people from Poland are called "Poles," why aren't people from Holland called "Holes?"

If the singular of GEESE is GOOSE, shouldn't a Portuguese person be called a Portugoose?

If you mixed vodka with orange juice and milk of magnesia, would you get a Phillip's Screwdriver?

If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

When cheese gets it's picture taken, what does it say?

Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

Why do croutons come in airtight packages? It's just stalebread to begin with.

Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

Why don't tomb, comb, and bomb sound alike?

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a race car not called a racist?

Why is a procrastinator's work never done?

Why is it that if someone tells you that there are 1 billion stars in the universe you will believe them, but if they tell you a wall has wet paint you will have to touch it to be sure?

Why is it that no word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple?

Why is it that we recite at a play and play at a recital?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I windup a project, I end it?

A couple went on vacation to a fishing resort up north. The husband liked to fish at the crack of dawn; the wife preferred to read. One morning the husband returned after several hours of fishing and decided to take a short nap. The wife decided to take the boat out. She was not familiar with the lake so she rowed out, anchored the boat, and started reading her book.

Along comes the sheriff in his boat, pulls up alongside and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading my book," she replies as she thinks to herself, 'is this guy blind, or what?'

"You're in a restricted fishing area," he informs her.

"But, Officer, I'm not fishing. Can't you see that?"

"But you have all this equipment, Ma'am. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that I will charge you with rape," snaps the irate woman.

"I didn't even touch you," grouses the sheriff.

"Yes, that's true....but you have all the equipment..."

Security Alert: Bug found in GNU acronym

The recursive acronym "GNU's Not Unix" harbors a stack overflow bug that can cause the English language to crash and may allow arbitrary linguistic commands to be executed, according to a message posted on gnu.acronym.bug this morning. All sites running GNU software are urged to apply a temporary patch which changes the expansion of the acronym to "GNU Needs Users", until a permanent patch is avaliable. GNU project founder Richard M. Stallman is currently hunting the error in the acronym he created over a decade ago.

"Linguistic bugs are notoriously difficult to track down," Stallman told via email. "The capacity of the stack depends on the memory of the person reading the buggy text. In addition, there is not yet any English interface to gdb, which means searching manually through coredumps to find the problem."

Most people experience the stack overflow at around 600 expansions of the acronym. In practice, few people have cause to carry the expansion this far, so the main concern lies with the security risk posed by the bug. Although no exploit has yet been discovered, a malicious user could theoretically embed commands into the same section of text as the acronym expansion, allowing them to change the syntax of the language, redefine words, and create new figures of speech with arbitrary meanings.

Many on the net saw the bug as a chance to reopen old holy wars. "The stack problems that are endemic in the computer industry today are a direct result of the widespread adoption of English as the language of choice," said one Dothead. "English is a fine tool for low-level descriptions and expository writing, but it offers too many inconsistencies and is far too unstable to use in production environments. It's time to move to languages like Esperanto that feature built-in stack protection." When it was pointed out that he had written his comment in English, the poster went into an incoherent rant, finishing with "La cina industrio, kun fama milijara tradicio, pli kaj pli largskale produktas ankau komputilon! Sed kiel aspekta la cina komputil-merkato el la vidpunko de la aplikanto? Mi provos respondi al tiu demando lau personaj spertoj en la plej granda cina urbo, Sanhajo!"

FUD Week magazine was quick to cash in on the incident, as well. "It is clear that freeware cannot be relied upon to keep the English language secure," says an online editorial. "We suggest that these `computer hippies` get their acts together before attempting hippopotamus nap delta foley snurk tin possibility."

Meanwhile, an anxious public waits for the restoration of the GNU acronym. Until the bug is fixed, we urge you to download the temporary patch from your nearest mirror site and keep in mind that this process of continuous revision is what has made both free software and human language into forces to be reckoned with.

1) Arachnoleptic fit (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

2) Beelzebug (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out.

3) Bozone (n.) The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4) Cashtration (n.) The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

5) Caterpallor (n.) The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

6) Decaflon (n.) The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

8) Extraterrestaurant (n.) An eating place where you feel you've been abducted and experimented upon. Also known as an E-T-ry.

9) Faunacated (adj.) How wildlife ends up when its environment is destroyed. Hence faunacatering (n.), which has made a meal of many species.

10) Foreploy (n.) Any misrepresentation or outright lie about yourself that leads to sex.

11) Grantartica (n.) The cold, isolated place where government projects without funding dwell.

12) Hemaglobe (n.) The bloody state of the world.

14) Kinstirpation (n.) A painful inability to move relatives who come to visit.

15) Lullabuoy (n.) An idea that keeps floating into your head and prevents you from drifting off to sleep.

Newspaper Headlines/ads:

1 MAN, 7 WOMAN HOT TUB -- $850/offer



2 WIRE MESH BUTCHERING GLOVES, 1 5-finger, 1 3-finger, PAIR: $15
















PRESIDENT'S CHOICE - COW MANURE - 2 33lb bags - $5















A airplane takes off from the airport. The Captain is Jewish, and the First Officer is Taiwan Chinese. It's the first time they've flown together, and it is obvious by the silence that they don't get along.

After thirty minutes, the Captain finally speaks. He says, "I don't like Chinese."

The F.O. replies, "Ooooh, no like Chinese?? Why is that?"

The Captain says, "You bombed Pearl Harbor. That's why I don't like Chinese."

The F.O. says, "Nooooo, noooo ... Chinese not bomb Pearl Harbah. That JAPANESE, not Chinese."

And the Captain answers, "Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese ... it doesn't matter. They're all alike."

Another thirty minutes of silence. Finally the First Officer says, "No like Jew."

The Captain replies, "Why not? Why don't you like Jews?" "Jews sink Titanic."

The Captain tries to correct him, "No, no. The Jews didn't sink the Titanic. It was an iceberg."

The F.O. replies, "Iceberg, Goldberg, Rosenberg .. no mattah .. all same."

A farmer walked into an attorney's office wanting to file for a divorce. The attorney asked, "May I help you?" The farmer said, "Yea, I want to get one of those dayvorce's."

The attorney said, "well do you have any grounds?" The farmer said, "Yea, I got about 140 acres." The attorney said, " No, you don't understand, do you have a case?" The farmer said, "No, I don't have a Case, but I have a John Deere."

The attorney said, "No you don't understand, I mean do you have a grudge?" The farmer said, "Yea I got a grudge, that's where I park my John Deere." The attorney said, "No sir, I mean do you have a suit?"

The farmer said, "Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays."

The exasperated attorney said, "Well sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?"

The farmer said, "No sir, we both get up about 4:30."

Finally, the attorney says, "Okay, let me put it this way. "WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?"

And the farmer says, "Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her."

English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

An Anagram, as we all know, is a word or phrase made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The following are some good examples:

Dormitory Dirty Room
Evangelist Evil's Agent
Desperation A Rope Ends It
The Morse Code Here Come Dots
Slot Machines Cash Lost in 'em
Animosity Is No Amity
Mother-in-law Woman Hitler
Snooze Alarms Alas! No More Z's
Alec Guinness Genuine Class
Semolina Is No Meal
The Public Art Galleries Large Picture Halls, I Bet
A Decimal Point I'm a Dot in Place
The Earthquakes That Queer Shake
Eleven plus two Twelve plus one
Contradiction Accord not in it

This one's amazing: [From Hamlet by Shakespeare]

To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.


And the grand finale: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." -- Neil A. Armstrong

A thin man ran; makes a large stride; left planet, pins flag on moon! On to Mars!

The following were winners in a New York Magazine contest in which contestants were to take a well-known expression in a foreign language, change a single letter, and provide a definition for the new expression.

HARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS? - Can you drive a French motorcycle?

EX POST FUCTO - Lost in the mail

IDIOS AMIGOS - We're wild and crazy guys!

VENI, VIPI, VICI - I came, I'm a very important person, I conquered.

COGITO EGGO SUUM - I think; therefore I am a waffle.

RIGOR MORRIS - The cat is dead.

RESPONDEZ S'IL VOUS PLAID - Honk if you're Scottish.

QUE SERA SERF - Life is feudal

LE ROI EST MORT. JIVE LE ROI -- The king is dead. No kidding.

POSH MORTEM -- Death styles of the rich and famous

PRO BOZO PUBLICO - Support your local clown.

MONAGE A TROIS - I am three years old.

FELIX NAVIDAD - Our cat has a boat.

HASTE CUISINE - Fast French food

VENI, VIDI, VICE - I came, I saw, I partied.

QUIP PRO QUO - A fast retort

MAZEL TON - tons of luck

APRES MOE LE DELUGE - Larry and Curly got wet.

PORTE-KOCHERE - Sacramental wine

ICH LIEBE RICH - I'm really crazy about having dough.

FUI GENERIS - What's mine is mine.

VISA LA FRANCE - Don't leave your chateau without it.

CA VA SANS DIRT -- And that's not gossip.

MERCI RIEN - Thanks for nothin'!

AMICUS PURIAE - Platonic friend

L'ETAT, C'EST MOO - I'm bossy around here.

COGITO, ERGO SPUD - I think, therefore I Yam

Today almost everybody has access to a word processor with a spelling checker.

Unfortunately, that's no guarantee of anything, as the following poem by Jerry Zar, of the graduate school of Northwestern Illinois University, which passes the Agent spell-checker

Owed to the Spelling Checker

I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me rite awl stiles two reed
And aides me when aye rime.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to bee a joule
The checker pour o'er every word
To check sum spelling rule.

Be fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline
And if were lacks or have a laps
We wood be maid to wine.
Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite
Of none eye am a wear.

Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew floors are knot aloud.
Sow ewe can sea why aye do prays
Such soft ware four pea seas.
And why I brake in two averse
By righting want too pleas

More Great Marketing Screw-ups

Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea."

Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into German only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "manure stick."

When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the U.S., with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside, since most people can't read.


Neighbor 1: "Hi, there, new neighbor, it sure is a mighty nice day to be moving"
New Neighbor: "Yes, it is and people around here seem extremely friendly"
Neighbor 1: "So what is it you do for a living?"
New Neighbor: "I'm a professor at the University, I teach deductive reasoning"
Neighbor 1: "Deductive reasoning, what is that?"
New Neighbor: "Let me give you an example. I see you have a doghouse out back. By that I deduce that you have a dog."
Neighbor 1: "That's right"
New Neighbor: "The fact that you have a dog, leads me to deduce that you have a family"
Neighbor 1: "Right again"
New Neighbor: "Since you have a family I deduce that you have a wife"
Neighbor 1: "Correct"
New Neighbor: "And since you have a wife, I can deduce that you are heterosexual."
Neighbor 1: "Yup"
New Neighbor: "That's deductive reasoning"
Neighbor 1: "Cool"

Later that same day:
Neighbor 1: "Hey, I was talking to that new guy who moved in next door"
Neighbor 2: "Is he a nice guy?"
Neighbor 1: "Yes, and he has an interesting job"
Neighbor 2: "Oh, yeah what does he do?"
Neighbor 1: "He is a professor of deductive reasoning at the University"
Neighbor 2: "Deductive reasoning, what's that?"
Neighbor 1: "Let me give you an example. Do you have a doghouse?"
Neighbor 2: "No"
Neighbor 1: "Fag."

English subtitles used in Hong Kong films:

1. I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.
2. Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.
3. Gun wounds again?
4. Same old rules: no eyes, no groin.
5. A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries.
6. Damn, I'll burn you into a BBQ chicken!
7. Take my advice, or I'll spank you without pants.
8. Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?
9. Quiet or I'll blow your throat up.
10. You always use violence. I should've ordered glutinous rice chicken.
11. I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out!
12. You daring lousy guy.
13. Beat him out of recognizable shape!
14. I have been scared shitless too much lately.
15. I got knife scars more than the number of your leg's hair!
16. Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected.
17. The bullets inside are very hot. Why do I feel so cold?
18. How can you use my intestines as a gift?
19. This will be of fine service for you, you bag of the scum. I am sure you will not mind that I remove your manhoods and leave them out on the dessert flour for your aunts to eat.
20. Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have captured you by the short rabbits and can now deliver you violently to your gynecologist for a thorough extermination.
21. Greetings, large black person. Let us not forget to form a team up together and go into the country to inflict the pain of our karate feets on some ass of the giant lizard person.

At a Sacramento PC User's Group meeting, a company was demonstrating its latest speech-recognition software. A representative from the company was just about ready to start the demonstration and asked everyone in the room to quiet down.

Just then someone in the back of the room yelled, "Format C: Return. "

Someone else chimed in, "Yes, Return." Unfortunately, the software worked.

The Worst Phrasebook

Pedro Carolino is one of the all-time freats. In 1883 he wrote an English-Portuguese phrasebook despite having little or no command of the English language.

His greatly recommended book "The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English" has now been reprinted under the title "English As She is Spoke".

After a brief dedication:

'We expect then, who the little book (for the care what we wrote him, and for her typographical correction) that may be worth the acceptation of the studious persons, and especially of the youth, at which we dedicate him particularly.'

Carolino kicks off with some 'Familiar phrases' which the Portuguese holidaymaker might find useful. Among these are:

Dress your hairs
This hat go well
Undress you to
Exculpate me by your brother's
She make the prude
Do you cut the hairs?
He has tost his all good

He then moves on the 'Familiar Dialogues' which include 'For to wish the good morning,' and 'For to visit a sick.'

Dialogue 18 - 'For to ride a horse' - begins: 'Here is a horse who have bad looks. Give me another. I will not that. He not sall know to march, he is pursy, he is foundered. Don't you are ashamed to give me a jade as like? he is unshoed, he is with nails up.'

In the section on 'Anecdotes' Carolino offers the following guaranteed to enthrall any listener:

'One eyed was laied against a man which had good eyes that he saw better than him. The party was accepted. I had gain, over said the one eyed; why I se you two eyes, and you not look me who one.'

It is difficult to top that, but Carolino manages in a useful section of 'Idiotism and proverbs'. These include:

Nothing some money, nothing of Swiss
He eat to coaches
A take is better than two you shall have
The stone as roll not heap up not foam
and the well-known expression:
The dog than bark not bite

Carolino's particular genius was aided by the fact that he did not possess an Enlish-Portuguese Dictionary. However, he did possess Portuguese-Prench and French-English dictionaries through both of which he dragged his original expressions. The results yield language of originality and great beauty. Is there anything in conventional English which could equal the vividness of 'To craunch a marmoset'?


1.  HOTEL: I gave my girlfren da craps and dat Hotel everyone.

2.  RECTUM: I had two Cadillacs, but ma 'ol lady Rectum both.

3.  DISAPPOINTMENT: My parole offica tol me if I miss Disappointment they
gonna send me back to the big house.

4.  FORECLOSE: If I pay da alimony dis month, I have no money Foreclose.

5.  CATACOMB: Don King was at da fight da udder night, Man, someone get
dat Catacomb.

6.  PENIS: I went to da doctor and he give me a cup and said Penis.

7.  ISRAEL: Alonso try to sell me a Rolex, I say Man, dat look fake.
He say no, Israel.

8.  STAIN: My mother axed me if I was Stain fo dinner.

9.  SELDOM:  My cousin give me two tickets to da Knicks game, so I Seldom.

10. ODYSSEY: I tol my brother you Odyssey da tits on dat hoe.

11. INCOME: I jus got in bed wit dis hoe and Income my wife.

12. HONOR: At the rape trial da judge axed my buddy who be Honor first.

13. FORTIFY: I axed dat hoe how much? an she said Fortify.

Possibly you've heard about the geography class conducted in Eubonics which decided to hold a beauty contest better to learn the names of the states.

Understandably, no one volunteered to be Miss Idaho.

Jewish English or "Hebonics"

The Encino School Board has declared Jewish English a second language. Backers of the move say the district is the first in the nation to recognize Hebonics as the language of many of America's Jews. Here are some descriptions of the characteristics of the language, and samples of phrases in standard English and Hebonics.

Samples of Pronunciation Characteristics:

Jewish English or "Hebonics" hardens consonants at the ends of words. Thus, "hand" becomes "handt."

The letter "W" is always pronounced as if it were a "V." Thus "walking" becomes "valking."

"R" sounds are transformed to a guttural utterance that is virtually impossible to spell in English. It is "ghraining" "alrgheady."

Samples of Idiomatic Characteristics:

Questions are always answered with questions.

Question: "How do you feel?" Hebonics response: "How should I feel?"

The subject is often placed at the end of a sentence after a pronoun has been used at the beginning: "She dances beautifully, that girl."

The sarcastic repetition of words by adding "sh" or "shm" to the front is used for emphasis: mountains becomes "shmountains"; turtle becomes "shmurtle."

Sample Usage Comparisons:
Standard English Phrase Hebonics Phrase
"He walks slowly." "Like a fly in the ointment he walks."
"You're sexy." (unknown concept)
"Sorry, I do not know the time "What do I look like, a clock?"
"I hope things turn out for the "You should BE so lucky." best."
"Anything can happen." "It is never so bad, it can't get worse."

Power corrupts, but absolute power is really neat. -- Ex-Navy Secretary John Lehman

I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers. -- ``A Bit of Fry and Laurie''

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same. -- Oscar Wilde

The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants. -- A. Whitney Brown

The Lord's Prayer is 66 words, the Gettysburg Address is 286 words, there are 1,322 words in the Declaration of Independence, but government regulations on the sale of cabbage total 26,911 words.

There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets? -- Dick Cavett, mocking the TV-violence debate

If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base. -- Dave Barry

Based on what you know about him in history books, what do you think Abraham Lincoln would be doing if he were alive today? 
  1. Writing his memoirs of the Civil War. 
  2. Advising the President. 
  3. Desperately clawing at the inside of his coffin.
 -- David Letterman

Laundry instructions on a shirt made by HEET (Korea): For best results: Wash in cold water separately, hang dry and iron with warm iron. For not so good results: Drag behind car through puddles, blow-dry on roofrack.

The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad. -- Salvador Dali

When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities. - -- From "Basic Sex Facts For Today's Youngfolk" in ``Life In Hell'' by Matt Groening

"Time's fun when you're having flies." -- Kermit the Frog

  Deja Fu: The feeling that somehow, somewhere, you've 
  been kicked in the head like this before.

  A day without sunshine is like night.

  There is a CD out entitled "The Worst of Jefferson Airplane".  If  you
  buy this, take it home, play it, and enjoy it, should you take it back
  and demand a refund?

  College is a fountain of knowledge...and the students are there to

  A polar bear is a rectangular bear after a coordinate transform.

  "Some people say that I must be a horrible person, but that's not
  true. I have the heart of a young boy -- in a jar on my desk."
       -- Steven King, 3/8/90

  When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to
  resemble a nail.  -- Abraham Maslow

  He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead.

  Photons have mass?  I didn't know they were catholic!

  The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

  I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone
  has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
       -- English Professor, Ohio University

  When aiming for the common denominator, be prepared for the occasional
  division by zero.

  Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

  When you're swimmin' in the creek
  And an eel bites your cheek
  That's a moray!
       -- Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

  Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
  A: Two.  One to hold the giraffe and the other to fill the bathtub
  with brightly colored machine tools.

  Character density:  The number of very weird people in the office.

  This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.  It should be thrown
  with great force.  -- Dorothy Parker

  To err is human, to moo bovine.

  "... one of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that,
  lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of
  their C programs."  --  Robert Firth

  The meek shall inherit the earth---they are too weak to refuse.

  I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.  -- Joe Walsh

  Grabel's Law:  2 is not equal to 3---not even for very large
  values of 2.

  Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.

  There are two major products to come out of Berkeley:  LSD and UNIX.
  We don't believe this to be a coincidence.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!
-- Author Unknown

"How I met my wife" by Jack Winter

Published 25 July 1994 - The New Yorker

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated--as if this were something I was great shakes at--and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.