Archive for Humor

Autological humor

A guest post (guest list?) by Anthony Bladon:

  • A verb walks into a bar, sees an attractive noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
  • An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.
  • A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

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Anglophone accent imitation

(Plus one non-native accent…)

Almost a month old, but still relevant.

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Backwards speech sounds weird

So this version of Kimberley Guilfoyle at the RNC Monday evening is unfair, but funny:

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Consonant lenition + r-less perception = FUN

It's not just flapping and voicing of /t/ in words like litter (= "lidder") or pretty (= "priddy"), and word sequences like fat Albert (= "fad Albert"). American speakers tend to weaken all consonants and even consonant clusters in similar environments. So if you take today's ubiquitous "mask debate" news, and add the perceptual biases of someone from an r-less dialect like John Oliver, you get this:

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A Chinese character that is harder to write than "biang"

From Nick Tursi:

The most difficult Chinese character in the world, it's pronunciation is huáng .Even most of Chinese people don't know how to read it.#language #polyglot #calligraphy

Posted by Tik Tok China on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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The Scunthorpe effect rides again

Alex Hern, "Anti-porn filters stop Dominic Cummings trending on Twitter", The Guardian 5/27/2020:

Twitter’s anti-porn filters have blocked Dominic Cummings’ name from its list of trending topics despite Boris Johnson’s chief adviser dominating British political news for almost a week, the Guardian can reveal.

As a result of the filtering, trending topics over the past five days have instead included a variety of misspellings of his name, including #cummnings, #dominiccummigs and #sackcummimgs, as well as his first name on its own, the hashtag #sackdom, and the place names Durham, County Durham and Barnard Castle.

The filter also affects suggested hashtags, meaning users who tried to type #dominiccummings were instead presented with one of the misspelled variations to auto-complete, helping them trend instead.

This sort of accidental filtering has gained a name in computer science: the Scunthorpe problem, so-called because of the Lincolnshire town’s regular issues with such censorship.

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Macabre duck think humor

From the Chinese internet:

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French (near) homonyms – "calembours pourris"

[h/t Stephan Hurtubise]

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Rire la Rémumligne!

Phonetics to the rescue (for francophones only, alas):

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Another kind of political lip-syncing

I've previously featured comedy turns from Kylie Scott ("Drunk in the club after Covid") and Sarah Cooper ("How to medical"), lip-syncing recorded passages from Donald Trump's press events. Here's another approach, from @JaneyGodley, substituting her own voice for that of the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon:

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More presidential lip-synching

Following up on Kylie Scott's "Drunk in the club after covid", Sarah Cooper performs "How to medical":

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WeChat COVID-19 ditty

[This is a guest post by David Moser]

This little Stück of piecemeal wordplay has been making the rounds on WeChat. It seems to be an amalgam of several little coronavirus memes that had appeared in isolation.

gélí rénquán méile 隔离人权没了
bù gélí rén quán méile 不隔离人全没了
tiānshàng biānfú, dìshàng Chuānpǔ 天上蝙蝠,地上川普
yīgè yǒudú, yīgè méipǔ 一个有毒,一个没谱
bù dài kǒuzhào nǐ shìshì 不戴口罩你试试
shìshì jiù shìshì 试试就逝世

A rather literal translation might go as follows:

隔离人权没了 With the quarantine, there are no human rights.
不隔离人全没了 Without the quarantine, the humans will be all gone.
天上蝙蝠,地上川普 In the sky are bats, on the earth there's Trump.
一个有毒,一个没谱 One has a virus, the other has no clue/no plan.
不戴口罩你试试 Just try not wearing a face mask.
试试就逝世 If you try it, you'll die.

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Language for COVID-19: German and Finnish

A rare find of linguistic news in a blog concerning the Supreme Court:

"Relist Watch: Kalsarikännit edition", John Elwood, SCOTUSblog

SCOTUSblog is about the work of the Supreme Court of the United States.  The author must have a streak of the linguist in him, for he chose to  begin today's post with three paragraphs about language usage related to the coronavirus crisis.  Here they are:

As America begins its fourth week under quarantine with widespread working from home, we’ve begun noticing shifts in grooming, attire and behavior as many of us remain cooped up for weeks on end.

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