Posts Tagged ‘language and humour’


August 12, 2017

meFirst I found it hard to define what stylistic device was used to create a humorous effect in the jokes that follow. It looked like the closest was onomatopoeia – making words based on sound imitation. However, the term onomatopoeia is mostly applied when it goes about animal noises such as “oink”, “meow”, “roar,” or sounds produced by inanimate objects (a clock – “tick-tock,” a car horn – “beep-beep,” an engine – “vroom,” etc.) In our case, the comic effect is achieved when a reader of the jokes is simultaneously listening to the texts as they are being read, or at least, is reproducing in his sound memory the aural form of word combinations which stand behind the geographical names. Thus, the humor is based on the cooperation of orthography and phonetics, which can be termed as ortho-phonics. I’m sort of proud (:-)) having invented a new linguistic term. Another “innovation” is the verb “to geography” (pronounced “ji-‘o-gre-fai). It’s a nonce word invented only for this particular occasion, and it means to ‘cram the text with geographical names.’ Its logical derivative is “to un-geography.” What the nonce terms are about, the reader may see from the following:


Waitress: Hawaii mister? You must be Hungary?
Gent: Yes, Siam. And I can’t Rumania long either. Venice lunch ready?
Waitress: I’ll Russia table. What’ll you Havre? Aix?
Gent: Whatever’s ready. But can’t Jamaica cook step on the Gaza bit?
Waitress: Odessa laugh! But Alaska.
Gent: Don’t do me favors. Just put a Cuba sugar in my Java.
Waitress: Don’t you be Sicily, big boy. Sweden it yourself. I’m only here to
Gent: Denmark my check and call the Bosphorus. I hope he’ll Kenya! I don’t
Bolivia know who I am!
Waitress: Canada noise! i don’t Carribean. You sure Ararat!
Gent: Samoa your wisecracks? What’s got India? D’you think this arguing Alps
business? Why be so Chile? Be Nice!
Waitress: Attu! Don’t Kyiv me that Boulogne! Spain in the neck!
Pay your Czech. Abyssinia!

Gent (to himself): I’ll come back with my France.



Waitress: How are you, mister? You must be hungry
Gent: Yes, I am. And I can’t remain long either. When is lunch ready?
Waitress: I’ll rush the table. What’ll you have? Eggs?
Gent: Whatever’s ready. But can’t you make the cook step on the gas a bit?
Waitress: Oh, this is a laugh! But I’ll ask her!
Gent: Don’t do me favors. Just put a cube of sugar in my java.
Waitress: Don’t you be so silly, big boy. Sweeten it yourself. I’m only here to
serve you.
Gent: Then mark my check and call the boss for us. I hope he’ll cane you! I don’t
believe you know who I am!
Waitress: Kind of nice! i don’t care a bean. You sure are a rat!
Gent: Some of you are wisecracks? What’s got in you? D’you think this arguing helps 
business? Why be so chilly? Be nice!
Waitress: Attu! Don’t give me that bull on! It’s pain in the neck!
Pay your check, I’ll be seeing you

Gent (to himself): I’ll come back with my friends.



Oh, what did
boys, what did Tenna-see? (Tennessee)
Oh, what did Tenna-see, boys, what did Tenna-see?
Oh, what did Tenna-see, boys, what did Tenna-see?
I ask you men, as a personal friend,
What did Tenna-see?

She saw what Arkin-saw, boys, she saw what Arkin-saw. (Arkansas)
She saw what Arkin-saw, boys, she saw what Arkin-saw
She saw what Arkin-saw, boys, she saw what Arkin-saw
I’ll tell you then, as a personal friend,
She saw what Arkin-saw.
Where has Ora-gone, boys? (Oregon)
She’s taking Okla-home, boys. (Oklahoma)
How did Wiscon-sin, boys? (Wisconsin)
She stole a New-brass-key, boys. (Nebraska)
What did Della-wear, boys? (Delaware)
She wore a New Jersey, boys. (New Jersey)
What did Io-weigh, boys? (Iowa)
She weighed a Washing-ton, boys. (Washington)
Where did Ida-hoe, boys? (Idaho)
She hoed in Merry-land, boys. (Maryland)
What did Missy-sip, boys? (Mississippi)
She sipped her Mini-soda, boys. (Minnesota)
What did Connie-cut, boys? (Connecticut)
She cut her shaggy Mane, boys. (Maine)
What did Ohi-owe, boys? (Ohio)
She owed her Taxes, boys, (Texas)
How did Flora-die, boys? (Florida)
She died of Misery, boys. (Missouri)



August 11, 2017

thepractice2All the jokes that follow are based on some linguistic phenomena: eponymy (joke 1), division of speech into functional styles (2) play on the polysemy of words (3, 6, 7, 10), slang (4, 7), the direct and idiomatic meanings of word combinations (5, 6), jargon (8, 9), homonymy (11), conversion of parts of speech (12). ENJOY:

  1. It is an interesting thought that if the Lords Cardigan and Sandwich had each other’s name we might today have been wearing sandwiches and eating cardigans (a sandwich and a cardigan are named after persons who are in some way or another associated with these items)
  2. A dizzy blonde snuggled up to her escort. “How about giving me a diamond bracelet?” she breathed into his ear.” – “My dear,” replied her companion slowly, “extenuating circumstances coerce me to preclude you from such a bauble of extravagance.” – “I don’t get it,” said the girl. – “That’s just what I said,” was the reply.
  3. There lives one ham actor who is still burning at a Chicago critic’s notice of his performance as King Richard the Third. “Mr. So-and-so played the king as if he were afraid someone else might played the ace.” (“a ham actor” — an actor or performer who overacts; “to play the king” — also: to play the card of king)
  4. Cannibal – “We’ve just captured an actor.” Chief – “Hurray! I was hoping for a good ham
  5. A confirmed woman-hater looked up from the piece of wood he was whittling by the old cracker barrel. “Women wouldn’t be here except for a little misunderstanding,” he snarled. “The Lord came down from the sky one day and asked Adam how things were going. Adam felt a little pernickety that day and he said, “Lord, you ain’t keeping me no company.” – “That’s right”, said the Lord. “Maybe what you need is a nice woman.” Adam turned white at that, “Aw, Lord, can’t you take a rib?” Well, sir, that’s just what the Lord did. The next day Eve put in an appearance and you, fellers, know the rest of the terrible story.” (1. a “cracker barrel” suggests the simple rustic informality and directness thought to be characteristic of life in and around a country store — like “home-spun, cracker-barrel philosophy.” A symbol of talkers who supposedly gathered round it in a country store; 2) “to take a rib” — also: to understand a joke)
  6. A customer told a hardware-store clerk that she wanted a three-quarterinch pipe plug. The man asked, “Do you want a male plug, a female plug or both?” – “I just want to stop a leak,” the woman replied. “I don’t plan to raise them.” (a female plug is a connector with recessed holes which have electrical terminals inside; a male plug is a plug with exposed conductors which can be inserted snugly into a female plug to insure an electrical connection; to raise —  to breed and care for to maturity)
  7. A (with a newspaper) – “It says here that cooks are often decorated in France.” Mr. A – “I sometimes feel like crowning the one we’ve got.” (to crown: 1) to put a crown on one’s head; 2) slang: to hit on the head)
  8. “In God we trust. All others cash” (a notice in a village shop); “to trust — to give credit.
  9. “Do you know that Noah was the greatest financier that ever lived?” – “How do you make that out?” – “Well, he was able to float a company when the whole world was in liquidation.” (to floatto keep financially healthy and stable; to be in liquidation — to go bankrupt)
  10. This is a circular of the Zanesville (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce: “Zanesville is an exceptionally rich city; so rich that every blade of grass has a green back, every bird has a bill, the chimneys have their drafts, every horse has a check, and every ditch has two banks, even our streets are flushed and the lawns get a rake off; every cloud has a silver lining, and every flower in the city has a scent, when you put a five-dollar bill in your pocket you double it, and when you take it out, you find it in creases. Now, do you want to live here or not?”
  11. There were three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. What did they do? – They threw out one cigarette and made their boat a cigarette lighter (also: more light, not so heavy).
  12. A wise man is one who noes a lot (the third person singular of the converted word “no” = “to no”, which is homonymous with “to know”. A similar situation: the ex-Foreign Minister of the ex-USSR Andrey Gromyko was nicknamed Mr. Nyet for his frequent objections to international decisions).


July 25, 2014



Two paddies were working for the city public works department. One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind him and fill the hole in. They worked up one side of the street, then down the other, then moved on to the next street, working furiously all day without rest, one man digging a hole, the other filling it in again.
An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn’t understand what they were doing. So he asked the hole-digger, “I’m impressed by the effort you two are putting in to your work, but I don’t get it – why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?”
The hole-digger wiped his brow and sighed, “Well, I suppose it probably looks odd because we’re normally a three-person team. But today the lad who plants the trees called in sick.'”


What’s the difference between God and Bono?

God doesn’t wander around Dublin thinking he’s Bono.


Billy stops Paddy in Dublin and asks for the quickest way to Cork.
Paddy says, “Are you on foot or in the car?”
Billy says, “In the car.”
Paddy says, “That’s the quickest way.”


Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best friend Finney.

“Did you see the paper?” asked Gallagher. “They say I died!!”

“Yes, I saw it!” replied Finney. “Where are ye callin’ from?”



“Young man,” said the judge, looking sternly at the defendant. “It’s alcohol and alcohol alone that’s responsible for your present sorry state!” “I’m glad to hear you say that,” replied Murphy, with a sigh of relief. “Everybody else says it’s all my fault!”



A Texan walks into a pub in Ireland and clears his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He says, “I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I’ll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back.”

The room is quiet and no one takes up the Texan’s offer. One man even leaves. Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows back up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. “Is your bet still good?”, asks the Irishman.

The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Irishman tears into all 10 of the pint glasses drinking them all back-to-back. The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement.

The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and says, “If ya don’t mind me askin’, where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?”

The Irishman replies, “Oh…I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first”.


You’ve got mail!!


John O’Byrne was mowing his front lawn, when his neighbor, Paddy Maguire, came out of his house and went straight to the mailbox. Paddy opened it, looked inside, slammed it shut and stormed back into his house. A little while later, Paddy came out again, went to the mailbox, opened it and slammed it shut again. Angrily he went back into his house. As John was getting ready to edge the lawn, Paddy came out of his house again and marched straight over to the mailbox. Red with frustration he checked it a third time and slammed it closed, this time harder then ever. Puzzled by his neighbor’s actions, John inquired “Is something wrong?”. Paddy repled, “Ya, there certainly is, my stupid computer keeps telling me I have mail!”



Primary school teacher: Tell me, Paddy. Do you say prayers before dinner? — Paddy: No, miss, I don’t have to. My mammy’s a good cook.


  1. Some Newspaper Headlines
  • Safety Experts say school bus passengers should be belted
  • Survivor of Siamese twins joins parents
  • Iraqi head seeks arms
  • Prostitutes appeal to Pope
  • Panda mating fails; Veterinarian takes over
  • President wins on budget, but more lies ahead
  • Enraged cow injures farmer with ax
  • Plane too close to ground, crash probe told
  • Stolen painting found by tree
  • Two ships collide, one dies
  • 2 sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout counter
  • If strike isn’t settled quickly, it may last a while
  • Enfield couple slain; Police suspect homicide


3.      HOW TO WRITE ENGLISH GOOD from the Casey Stengle School of Brooklynese (1) Just between you and I: case is important. (2) Don’t use no double negatives. (3) A preposition is something you should never end a sentence with. (or as Sir Winston Churchill once said; “This is the type of nonsense up with I will not put!”). (4) It is always good practice to never split infinitives. (5) Don’t write a run-on sentence you have to punctuate it. (6) When one is writing, it is important to maintain your point of view. (7) Proofread your work. Do not tolerate mispellings! (8) Watch out for irregular verbs which have croped into the language. (9) Don’t say the same thing more than once. It’s redundant and repetious. (10) You should be aware of the conditional case if you was to use it. (11) The smothering of verbs is a cause of the weakening of the sentence impact. (12) Avoid the utilization of enlarged words when shortened ones will do. (13) Make sure you hyp-henate properly. (14) Sentences should be written in the active voice when giving instructions, so that the subject of the action can be identified clearly. (15) Avoid the use of dyed-in-the-wool cliches. (16) The defacto use of foreign phrases vis-a-vis plain English in your written tete-a-tetes makes the sentence harder to understand.  (17) Each pronoun should agree with their antecedent. (18) It has come to our considered attention that in a large majority of cases, far too many people use a great deal more words than is absolutely necessary when engaged in the practice of writing sentences. (19) Be careful of dangling participles writing a paper.

STUDENTS’ HUMOUR picked up from the Internet

June 1, 2013

2013-06-01PC 1.      Political Correctness

You don’t have detention, you’re just one of the “exit delayed.”

Your bedroom isn’t cluttered, it’s just “passage restrictive.”


You’re not late, you just have a “rescheduled arrival time.”

You don’t talk a lot. You’re just “abundantly verbal.”

You’re not being sent to the principals office. You’re “going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building.”

It’s not called gossip anymore. It’s “the speedy transmission of near-factual information.”

The food at the school cafeteria isn’t awful. It’s “digestively challenged.”


2013-06-01A2.      Flying Home for Holidays.

A student was heading home for holidays. When she got to the airline counter, she presented her ticket to Houston. And as she gave the agent her luggage, she made this remark: “I’d like you to send my green suitcase to Hawaii, and my red suitcase to London.”

The confused agent said, “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.”

“Really??? I am so relieved to hear you say that because …That’s exactly what you did to my luggage last year!”





2013-06-01N3.      “Ways A Nerd Can Impress” joke.


Ways A Computer Nerd Can Impress His Date:


a.Flash the big wads of tens and twenties you created with your color laser printer and top-notch graphics program.


b. Spend an evening playing floppy disks backward, listening for the secret messages about Satan.


c. Drive her crazy by murmuring tender love words with the help of a French-speaking voice synthesizer.


d. When things get tough, simply ask yourself, “What would Bill Gates and Steve Jobs do in a situation like this?


April 18, 2012

Just a couple of linguistic jokes:

1)      The village blacksmith finally found an apprentice willing to work hard for long hours. The blacksmith immediately began his instructions to the lad, “When I take the shoe out of the fire, I’ll lay it on the anvil; and when I nod my head, you hit it with this hammer.”
The apprentice did just as he told. Now he’s the village blacksmith.

2)      A linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn’t a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative.”
A voice from the back of the room retorted, “Yeah, right.”

3)      “I’ve just had the most awful time,” said a boy to his friends. “First I got angina pectoris, then arteriosclerosis. Just as I was recovering, I got psoriasis. They gave me hypodermics, and to top it all, tonsillitis was followed by appendectomy.””Wow! How did you pull through?” sympathized his friends. “I don’t know,” the boy replied. “Toughest spelling test I ever had.”

4)      If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed and dry cleaners depressed? Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted! Even more, bedmakers will be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be deflowered, bulldozer operators will be degraded, software engineers will be detested, and even musical composers will eventually decompose.

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