Autological Humor.

Anthony Bladon at the Log has a great list that starts:

• 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.
• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

Plenty more at the link, including the comments (which are, alas, marred by foolish carping about where to put periods in combination with quotation marks, as if anything about language was “logical”).

Another Log post that might be of interest: Inclusive and exclusive first person plural pronouns in Sinitic, with comments from linguists such as Juha Janhunen:

The distinction between exclusive and inclusive 1PL pronouns has indeed often been considered as one of the features that Mandarin Chinese acquired in its process of “Altaicization” (Hashimoto Mantaro’s term). Nowadays some people (like Johanna Nichols) would prefer to say that it is an ancient Pacific Rim feature. The problem is that it is relatively recent also in the “Altaic” languages. In both Mongolic (bi-da) and Tungusic (Ewenki mi-ti, Manchu mu-se) the inclusive pronoun is formed by the transparent compounding of the 1st and 2nd person pronouns (either SG or PL). Even so, it was already present in Proto-Mongolic and probably Proto-Tungusic, so Mandarin can have acquired it from some early form of these languages. It is also present in Ghilyak (Nivkh, the “Amuric” family) and Ainu (the “Kurilic” family).

And Alexander Vovin:

Juha is right that the distinction between exclusive/inclusive 1pl pp Mongolic and Tungusic is transparent and relatively recent. But imho a phenomenon doesn’t have to be old to be borrowed or mimicked. In the case of Chinese given the date of this innovation, it can only be from Middle Mongolian.

Comments

  1. The ‘walked into a bar’ jokes are better in the comments than the original. And while I was expecting the carping over the placement of the full stop to be a long back-and-forth, it was a mere blip, and even then tried to keep to the spirit of the posting.

    As for the inclusive/inclusive post, I’m familiar with the kami/kita distinction in Indonesian, but as I pointed out, that ain’t quite the way it works in Beijing. Someone else made a related observation. Both were ignored because, I guess, once people get on a historical linguistics / etymology kick, pointing out actual usage is a boring diversion. The past is romantic; the present is mundane.

  2. That Y who posted there wasn’t me. I posted some brilliant rejoinders as “Another Y” but they are having their papers checked at the border.

  3. Irony was having a bad day, then walked into a bar and met the new bartender, Alanis Moressette.

  4. PlasticPaddy says:

    @hat, jc
    Off topic, but JC seems to have reverted to the old domain for “Commented…”. If this is permanent, maybe change the link.

  5. JC, what’s the story? Revert or keep?

  6. OK, I’ve changed it back to the old link, which seems to work.

  7. It’s apparently permanent, but flaky. We’ll see, and keep reloading the page if it fails. (Note that if the page is broken, I will only see notifications by email at cowan@ccil.org; I can’t reliably read comments — because the page is broken!)

  8. Ten paronomasian barristers barged into a bar to bar a tender from her tender bartender.

  9. David Marjanović says:

    They were barred from entering, and soon disbarred.

  10. A dodecasyllable walks into a bar.
    A triskaidekasyllable walks into a bar.

  11. Stephen Goranson is a finalist for the New Yorker cartoon caption competition this week, as well.

  12. Well done, SG!

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