Our translation job involves hard work, attention to detail, concentration and seriousness. Nonetheless, we should always make time to laugh, regardless of our occupation. Therefore, for this month’s blog article, we shared with you a selection of jokes on linguistics and languages. In the hope of cheering you up before you go on your summer holiday, please have a look at our latest blog article and feel free to add more jokes in the “Comments” heading!
- I used to think I was the father of structural linguistics, but now I’m not Saussure.
- A mouse is in his mouse hole and he wants to go out to get something to eat, but he’s afraid there might be a big cat outside, so he puts his ear by the opening and all he hears is “Bow Wow” so he thinks, “Well, there can’t be a cat out there because there’s a big old dog”, so he goes out of his mouse hole and is promptly caught and eaten by a cat, who licks his lips and says “It’s good to be bilingual !!”
- I asked her to conjugate, but she declined.
- Two highway workers were busy working at a construction site when a big car with diplomatic license plates pulled up.
“Parlez-vous français?” the driver asks them. The two workers just stared.
“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” The two continued to stare at him.
“Fala português?” Neither worker said anything.
“Parlate Italiano?” Still no response.
Finally, the man drives off in disgust.
One worker turned to the other and said, “Gee, maybe we should learn a foreign language…”
“What for? That guy knew four of them and what good did it do him?”
- A former secretary of commerce liked to tell how a high ranking official once responded to a subordinate’s request for a raise by saying, “Because of the fluctuational predisposition of your position’s productive capacity as juxtaposed to governmental statistics, it would be momentarily injudicious to advocate an incremental increase.”
The staff person said, “I don’t get it.”
The official said, “That’s right.”
- An English professor complained to the pet shop proprietor, “The parrot I purchased uses improper language.”
“I’m surprised,” said the owner. “I’ve never taught that bird to swear.”
“Oh, it isn’t that,” explained the professor. “But yesterday I heard him split an infinitive.”
- Two single German boys cross the border and come to a bar in Netherlands in order to meet girls. As German guys are not popular there, they’ve agreed not to speak German. So, they order: “Two martinis, please!”
“Dry?” – asks the bartender.
“Nein, zwei (2)!”
- Polish man came to the USA and married an American woman. Although his English was far from perfect, they got along together very well. One day, he rushed into a lawyer’s office and asked to get a divorce. The lawyer said that this would be difficult, and asked him the following questions:
Lawyer: Have you got any grounds?
Would-Be Divorcé: Yes, an acre and a half and nice little home.
L.: No, I mean what is the foundation of this case?
W.B.D.: It made of concrete.
L.: I don’t think you understand. Does either of you have a real grudge?
W.B.D.: No, we have carport, and not need one.
L.: I mean, what are your relations like?
W.B.D.: All my relations in Poland.
L.: Is there any infidelity in your marriage?
W.B.D.: We have hi-fidelity stereo and good DVD player.
L.: Does your wife beat you up?
W.B.D.: No, I always up before her.
L.: Is your wife a nagger?
W.B.D.: No, she white.
L.: Why do you want this divorce?
W.B.D.: She going to kill me.
L.: What makes you think this?
W.B.D.: I got proof.
L.: What kind of proof?
W.B.D.: She going to poison me. She buy a bottle at drugstore and put on shelf in bathroom. I can read English pretty good, and it says on label: “POLISH REMOVER”!
- A Border Patrol agent is on duty. He spots two Mexicans and runs them down. They show him their papers, which look a little bit fake.
He tells them, “O.K. I have a test for you. I want you to use the words ‘cheese’ and ‘liver’ in a sentence.”
So, the first guy says, “I made a liver and cheese sandwich for lunch.”
The agent says, “That was good, you can go. What about you?” he asks the second guy.
He says, “Liver alone. Cheese mine.”
- Mr Goldberg, from Pinsk, coming to America, shared a table in the ship’s dining room with a Frenchman. Mr Goldberg could speak neither French nor English; the Frenchman could speak neither Russian nor Yiddish.
The first day out, the Frenchman approached the table, bowed and said, “Bon appétit!”
Goldberg, puzzled for a moment, bowed back and replied “Goldberg.”
Every day, at every meal, the same routine occurred. On the fifth day, another passenger took Goldberg aside. “Listen, the Frenchman isn’t telling you his name. He’s saying: “Good Appetite,” that’s what “Bon appétit!” means.”
At the next meal, Mr Goldberg, beaming, bowed to the Frenchman and said, “Bon appétit!”.
And the Frenchman, beaming, replied: “Goldberg!”
- Four linguists were sharing a compartment on a train on their way to an international conference on sound symbolism. One was English, one Spanish, one French and the fourth German. They got into a discussion on whose language was the most eloquent and euphonious.
The English linguist said: “Why, English is the most eloquent language. Take for instance the word “butterfly”. Butterfly, butterfly… doesn’t that word so beautifully express the way this delicate insect flies. It’s like flutter-by, flutter-by.”
“Oh, no!” said the Spanish linguist, “the word for “butterfly” in Spanish is “mariposa”. Now, this word expresses so beautifully the vibrant colours on the butterfly’s wings. What could be a more apt name for such a brilliant creature? Spanish is the most eloquent language!”
“Papillon!” says the French linguist, “papillon! This word expresses the fragility of the butterfly’s wings and body. This is the most fitting name for such a delicate and ethereal insect. French is the most eloquent language!”
At this the German linguist stands up, and demands: “Und vot is rongk mit ‘SCHMETTERLING’?”
- An American, a German and a Frenchman apply for a job (pick a job, any job!). They have to sit several tests, including an English one. The instructions are to make a sentence using the words green, pink and yellow. The American (dead easy for him, isn’t it?) gets the ball rolling with: “The grass is green, and the pink panther eats yellow bananas.” The German gives it a go: “I was green with anger when I realized my pink suit had turned yellow.” Now it’s the Frenchman’s turn: “I hear ze phone go ‘green, green, green!!!’ I pink it up and say ‘Yellow?’”