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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-02-05 06:25
Subject: "These two guys walk into a bar..."
Security: Public
Tags:funny
girliejones with one of the funniest jokes I've seen in a while. Especially for you language geeks.
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Jeremy Tolbert
User: the_flea_king
Date: 2007-02-05 14:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Er... I don't get it.
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Rafe
User: etcet
Date: 2007-02-05 14:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
At least we have each other in confusion.

For fear of killing the "humor," Jay... why is this so funny?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-05 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Erm...I'm tempted to quote Wavy Gravy here.

The whole point of the joke is they're trying to find out how to say "disappointed" in Yiddish. The pay-off is that the mother, speaking Yiddish, uses the English word. So they never find out.

That's called code-switching, and it happens all the time with multilingual speakers, especially in situations of cultural immersion. It just strikes me as very funny.

I suspect your mileage varies considerably.
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Rafe
User: etcet
Date: 2007-02-05 14:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, ok. This, like the "Try the soup!" joke, is probably one of those things that comes out a whole lot better orally, rather than textually.

Given that the mother is presented as non-mulitilingual ("My mother speaks only Yiddish," one character says), this kind of made the punchline seem like a, dare I say, disappointment?

I really *don't* have a tremendous consistency fetish. Only when it's inconvenient. ;-)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-05 14:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a *joke*. It doesn't bear significant plot analysis. :D

You people.

Sheesh.

:: resolves to keep sense of humor to self henceforth ::
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake: tech-turbine
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-05 14:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:tech-turbine
You are *such* a rocket scientist.
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Rafe
User: etcet
Date: 2007-02-05 15:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This resolution will self-destruct in thirty seconds. :-)
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kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2007-02-05 15:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*petpats* It's okay. *I* thought it was funny. :)
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desperance
User: desperance
Date: 2007-02-05 17:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Me too, Jay...
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2007-02-05 16:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Don't do that, Jay! Haha - say, are you a Unix guy? 'cos if so, do I have a joke for you...

Otherwise, ask me if I'm an orange!
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David D. Levine
User: davidlevine
Date: 2007-02-06 04:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
$ Hey UNIX! Got a match?
No match.
$ hoffa
hoffa: Not found.
$ ar t 'Santa Claus'
Santa Claus does not exist.
$ cat 'food in tin cans'
cat: can't open food in tin cans

(Showing my age...)
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2007-02-06 10:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Personally I was going to go with this one:
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-06 12:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
:: fires volley of ballistic nerf at you ::
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Chris McKitterick: laughing Chris
User: mckitterick
Date: 2007-02-06 03:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:laughing Chris
Ah, you should hear me reading the Sunday comics. "Why is this Marmaduke funny?" (assuming it was intended to be) "Um, because he's a big dog and he's trying to sit on the couch." To which I respond, "But the couch is big enough for them all. Are his paws dirty or something? Is this the first time he's tried to get on the couch?"

You get the idea. People don't read comics with me any more. Humor needs to be... I dunno, capable of analysis for me to consider it funny. Well, some times, anyway.
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russ
User: goulo
Date: 2007-02-06 16:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Except we are explicitly told that the mother only speaks Yiddish, so asking her directly how to say an English word wouldn't work.

FWIW I am in codeswitching situations daily (English, Esperanto, Polish), got the joke, and thought it was mildly cute but not particularly funny. I think from a joketelling craft point of view, the guy asked his mother in a convoluted long roundabout way because it's supposed to humorously contrast with the simple short deflating answer she gives.

The joke reminds me of the (apparently false but all-too-plausible) story of George Bush complaining that the trouble with the French is that they don't have a word for "entrepreneur".
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David Reagan: graffiti_ostrich
User: coolmajaka
Date: 2007-02-05 15:20 (UTC)
Subject: On a Completely Unrelated Note...
Keyword:graffiti_ostrich
Thought you might enjoy this, if you hadn't already peeped it: Photo of a Space Shuttle Launch taken from high altitude. Niiiiice.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-02-07 04:20 (UTC)
Subject: Re: On a Completely Unrelated Note...
Gosh, those are gorgeous. Thank you.
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Coffee Shop Whore
User: skidspoppe
Date: 2007-02-05 17:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey...I forwarded the joke to my folks, who will not only get it and find it funny, but just to be on the safe side in case they think I'm trying to tell them something, will tell me what the yiddish for disappointed actually is.
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jackwilliambell
User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2007-02-05 17:30 (UTC)
Subject: My favorite language geek joke
A man from Iowa goes to Boston for business and gets his first taste of fresh seafood. It turns out that he really loves it and he ends up eating a different fish or crustacean for every meal, trying to get through the entire panoply available. Unfortunately his trip is over before he can barely scrape the surface of available oceanic delicacies.

Three months later he returns to Boston on another business trip and he is very excited. So he rushes right out to the taxi stand just as soon as he can get his luggage and jumps into the first available cab.

"Take me to someplace I can get scrod!" he tells the driver.

"Wow." Says the driver. "That's the first time I ever heard that in past pluperfect!"
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-02-05 20:43 (UTC)
Subject: Re: My favorite language geek joke
::momentary pause, then bursts out laughing::

Very good.
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Lawrence M. Schoen: LEGO
User: klingonguy
Date: 2007-02-05 18:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:LEGO
Well, I thought it was ironic, but not terribly funny, and if I'm not the intended target group I don't know who is. I mean, c'mon, how many other people do you know who not only has given college lectures on the topic of code-switching, but has experienced the phenonemon itself in Klingon!
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-02-05 20:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So, what is</> Klingon for "disappointed"?
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2007-02-05 20:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Pardon my HTML inaccuracies...grumble...
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Lawrence M. Schoen
User: klingonguy
Date: 2007-02-05 20:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If I told you, you'd be disappointed.
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User: hkneale
Date: 2007-02-06 11:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:chuQun
Lawrence, you're cruel.

vISovbe'. DaSov'a'?
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girlie jones
User: girliejones
Date: 2007-02-05 22:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
the target audience is i guess anyone who actually lives in families like this where it happens all the time and you never actually learn one full language of words.
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girlie jones
User: girliejones
Date: 2007-02-05 22:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
sheesh
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russ
User: goulo
Date: 2007-02-06 16:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Coincidentally just a few entries away on my friends page was another joke:
http://arono.livejournal.com/118571.html
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