Language Jokes

Language Jokes

  The following were the winners of 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.

Can you drive a French motorcycle?

Lost in the mail.

We're wild and crazy guys!

I came, I'm a very important person, I conquered.

I think; therefore I am a waffle.

The cat is dead.

Honk if you're Scottish.

Life is feudal.

The king is dead. No kidding.

Death styles of the rich and famous.

Support your local clown (or politician, your call)

I am three years old.

Our cat has a boat.

Fast French food.

I came, I saw, I partied.

A fast retort.

Love; greetings; farewell; from such a pain you should 
never know.

Tons of luck.

Don't leave your chateau without it.

Platonic friend.

I'm bossy around here.

  Having chosen English as the preferred language in the 
EEC, the European Parliament has commissioned a feasibility 
study in ways of improving efficiency in communications 
between Government departments.
  European officials have often pointed out that English 
spelling is unnecessarily difficult; for example: cough, 
plough, rough, through and thorough.  What is clearly needed 
is a phased programme of changes to iron out these anomalies.  
The programme would, of course, be administered by a committee 
staff at top level by participating nations.
  In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest 
using 's' instead of the soft 'c'.  Sertainly, sivil servants 
in all sities would  resieve this news with joy.  Then the 
hard 'c' could be replaced by 'k' sinse both letters are 
pronounsed alike.  Not only would this klear up konfusion 
in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be 
made with one less letter.
  There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, 
it was announsed that the troublesome 'ph' would henseforth 
be written 'f'.  This would make words like 'fotograf' twenty 
persent shorter in print.
  In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling 
kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated 
shanges are possible.  Governments would enkourage the removal 
of double leters whish have always been a deterent to akurate 
  We would al agre that the horible mes of silent 'e's in the 
languag is disgrasful.  Therefor we kould drop them and kontinu 
to read and writ as though nothing had hapend.  By this tim it 
would be four years sins the skem began and peopl would be 
reseptive to steps sutsh as replasing 'th' by 'z'.  Perhaps zen 
ze funktion of 'w' kould be taken on by 'v', vitsh is, after al, 
half a 'w'.  Shortly after zis, ze unesesary 'o' kould be dropd 
from vords kontaining 'ou'.  Similar arguments vud of kors be
aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.
  Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli hav a
reli sensibl riten styl.  After tventi yers zer vud be no mor 
trubls, difikultis and evrivun vud find it ezi tu understand 
ech ozer.  Ze drems of ze Guvermnt vud finali hav kum tru. 


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!!!

English is a Crazy Language

 Let's face it -- 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 preacher 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
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 clock 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.

You may need an old dictionary, it is a bit archaic.
  It means: the pretentious use of large, obscure words. 

Two trucks loaded with a thousand copies of Roget's Thesaurus collided 
as they left a New York publishing house last Thursday, according to 
the Associated Press.
Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied....

(By Graduate School Dean Jerrold Zar)

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see.

Eye ran this poem threw it.
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in its weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a blessing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we're laks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does not phase me,
I 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 flaws are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too please.

To help out everyone, I have posted this item I clipped from a magazine
about 15 years ago. I have entitled them "Rules for gooder English"

-Subject and verb always has to agree.
-When dangling, watch your participles.
-Do not use a foreign term when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.
-If you must use a foreign term, it is de rigor to spell it correctly.
-It behooves the writer to avoid archiac expressions.
-Do not use hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it effectively.
-Avoid cliches like the plague.
-Mixed metaphors are a pain in the ass and ought to be thrown out the
-Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
-Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
-Consult the dictionary frequently to avoid mispelling.
-Don't use tautological, repetitive, or redundant statements.
-Don't use tautological, repetitive, or redundant statements.
-Remember to never split an infinitive.
-Puns are for children, not for readers who are groan.
-The Passive Voice shouldn't be used. 
-Use the aposthrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not
-Don't use no double negatives.
-Proofread carefully to see if you have any words out
-Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use
-Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
-Avoid colloquial stuff.
-No sentence fragments.
-Remember to finish what you sta


             Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First Recipients

    Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President
Clinton announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn
region of Bosnia.  The deployment, the largest of its kind in American
history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A,E,I,O
and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.
    "For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr
and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world,"
Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say
'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their
incomprehensible words.  The US is proud to lead the crusade in this noble
    The deployment, dubbed "Operation Vowel Storm" by the State Department,
is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv and
Grzny slated to be the first recipients.  Two C-130 transport planes, each
carrying over 500 24-count boxes of "E's," will fly from Andrews Air Force
Base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.
    Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the
vowels.  "My God, I do not think we can last another day," Trszg Grzdnjkln,
44, said.  "I have six children and none of them has a name that is
understandable to me or to anyone else.  Mr. Clinton, please send my poor,
wretched family just one 'E.' Please."
    Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few key letters, I
could be George Humphries.  This is my dream."
    The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a
foreign country since 1984.  During the summer of that year, the US shipped
92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae,
and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's, S's and T's. The
consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast quantities of the
letters were intercepted and hoarded by violent, gun-toting warlords.

This may be a bit longer than you were looking for, but try asking a Latin
student to translate the following, then when they fail, read it aloud

     O Civile, si ergo, fortibus es in ero.
     O Nobile, deus trux. Vadis enim, causen dux.

    "Oh see, Willie, see 'er go
    forty buses in a row."
    "Oh no, Billy, dey is trucks.
    Wat is in 'em, cows 'n' ducks."

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