Wordplay with languages

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
There's a joke about a Dutch speaker with improbably poor English, asked what he does for a living. He replies, 'I fuck horses,' fokken being the verb for 'to breed'. The anglophone, understandably surprised, asks, 'Pardon?' 'Yes, paarden.' ('Horses' in Dutch.)
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Nice joke Etaoin,

I do remember this little wordplay or rather interpunction play anecdote of Sergio Vaggio
printscreen from source material ( Dirk Delabastita, Wordplay and Translation: Special Issue of 'The Translator' 2/2 1996, p. 181)
1.jpg




Me gustan estos chistes con juegos de palabras...

¿Que dijo el número 1 al número 10 ?
Para ser como yo debes ser sincero*.
What did the 1 say to the 10?
To be like me you have to be sincere.

*sincero sounds just like"sin cero" (without zero)


¿Cuál es el animal que es dos animales?
El gato, porque es gato y araña*
What animal is two animals?
The cat, because it's a cat and it scratches.

*araña is 3rd pers. sing. indicative of verb "arañar (to scratch); but it's also a noun - araña (a spider)
 

Mafalda

Civis Illustris
Me gustan estos chistes con juegos de palabras...
¿Que dijo el número 1 al número 10 ?
Para ser como yo debes ser sincero.

¿Cuál es el animal que es dos animales?
El gato, porque es gato y araña
Eso, eso... Tienes un ojo verde y otro azulado.
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Eso, eso... Tienes un ojo verde y otro azulado.
Yo tengo un ojo (color) avellana y otro a su lado es también avellana.

Tengo que confesar que yo no entendí este juego de palabras. Yo tuve que consultar a mi amigo.:oops:

Mafalda , ¿Entiende usted también el lenguaje polonés? ¿Verdad?
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Unless Mafalda corrects me, the trick in "Tienes un ojo verde y otro azulado." lies in pronunciation of z and s (they are pronunced similarly, ) so "azulado" sounds very much like "a su lado" (at his/her side / next to him/her)
Tienes un ojo verde y otro azulado (if spoken , it can be understood as "you have one green eye and other next to it".

Back to german, even spacing between compound verbs can make the difference i.e.
Der Polizeisprecher hat die Medien informiert dass die Polizeibeamte werden alle Demonstranten fest nehmen.
The Police spokesman informed the Media that Police Officers will "f*uck hard" all demonstrators
festnehmen - to arrest/ fest nehmen - to "take someone roughly" [≈ to f*uck someone hard]

Ein Student und eine Studentin sind in der Universitätsbibliothek zusammen gekommen.
A student and a female student "had simultanious orgasm" in the University library.
zusammenkommen - to meet / zusammen kommen ≈ "to come togehter" "climax simultaniously"

or even Capitalisation
Es ist viel besser gut zu vögeln sein als gut zu Vögeln sein.
It is much better to be good in bed than to be nice to birds.

Hopefully some other forum members might know other wordplay or interlingual examples and anecdotes ...
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
Es ist viel besser gut zu vögeln sein als gut zu Vögeln sein.
I remember that one.

There are many different ways of forming the plural in German that one has to learn: you might add -e, or -[e]n, or -er, or -s, or change a vowel, or mix it all up a bit. You may even do nothing at all. The one thing you never do is add -[e]n and change the vowel. So of all the words to make this mistake with, I did it with Vogel.

(And if you're wondering why the word has the letter in Adrian's example, it's in the dative, so doesn't count.)
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
A letter to the Times (23 January). I didn't see the previous letter it refers to, but you get an idea of what it must have said.

Sir, Your Latin teacher (letter, Jan 22) did not explain all the principal parts of her new verb brego, bregere. After the past tense brexit (he or she left the European Union) there inevitably follows the supine brectum (we’re all buggered).

Richard Browne
Former Times crossword editor, Havant, Hants

Yes, I know it's not the supine. People have probably already written in to point that out. But still.
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Usted es una mujer tan increíble. Usted habla polaco, inglés, español, latín (supongo que también usted habla aléman). ¿Me he perdido algún idioma?

C'est vraiment un spirituel et hilarant jeu de mots.
Il m'a fallu du temps pour comprendre la blague cachée.

French1.jpg
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Back to german, even spacing between compound verbs can make the difference i.e.
Der Polizeisprecher hat die Medien informiert dass die Polizeibeamte werden alle Demonstranten fest nehmen.
The Police spokesman informed the Media that Police Officers will "f*uck hard" all demonstrators
festnehmen - to arrest/ fest nehmen - to "take someone roughly" [≈ to f*uck someone hard]
The word order would have to be "... dass die Polizeibeamten alle Demonstranten festnehmen werden."

To be honest, the possible ambiguity has never occured to me. It's not like there is anything wrong with the sentence's choice of words from a formal point of view (I'm talking about the semantics, not the word order :) ) but I think in sexual contexts, it would seem more idiomatic to use the word hart rather than fest

Ein Student und eine Studentin sind in der Universitätsbibliothek zusammen gekommen.
A student and a female student "had simultanious orgasm" in the University library.
zusammenkommen - to meet / zusammen kommen ≈ "to come togehter" "climax simultaniously"
That play on words was used as an example to ridicule the spelling reform of 1996-2004 (or whenever it actually ended)

or even Capitalisation
Es ist viel besser gut zu vögeln sein als gut zu Vögeln sein.
It is much better to be good in bed than to be nice to birds.
That reminds me of a horrible joke German comedians seem to have discovered some 10 years ago (at least that's when I noticed it) ... somebody would something to the extent of "die armen Vögel im Wald" and some other guy would reply "und die Reichen im Hotel!"

So the punchline was supposed to be "the poor birds in the woods" vs. "the poor f*ck in the woods" (die Armen vögeln...) and the other guy says "and the rich (do it) in hotels"

I remember it because it is amongst the worst jokes I've ever heard ... it doesn't even make sense as the -n is missing in the first sentence, so there is no grammatical ambiguity ... and they had to try really hard to mess up the pronunciation to even make it remotely funny. What shocked me about it was that I heard it multiple times ... oh well

Hopefully some other forum members might know other wordplay or interlingual examples and anecdotes ...

I think you've named the most obvious ones ... there are other examples, but there's nothing funny about them.
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
I also remember this one
Egal wie jung deine Freunde sind, Jesus Freunde waren Jünger*.
it dœsnn't matter how young your friends are, Jesus' friends were male diciples.



* Jünger (pl. nom. of Jünger) - male disciple ; jünger - comparative form of adjective jung [ = younger]

Bitmap question to you - the pun here referes more to capitalisation itself or some sort of "homosexual innuendo " i.e. Jesus and male disciples. (noun Freund/ Freundin used also to denote "Boyfriend" "Girlfriend")
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Bitmap question to you - the pun here referes more to capitalisation itself or some sort of "homosexual innuendo " i.e. Jesus and male disciples. (noun Freund/ Freundin used also to denote "Boyfriend" "Girlfriend")

Yes, the joke is simply about capitalisation ... there's no sexual connotation to the word Jünger, it simply means disciple.

I found these two sort-of-puns regarding capitalisation in German:

Wäre er doch nur Dichter / dichter!
- If only he were a poet / If only he were more drunk!

Er hat liebe Genossen / Er hat Liebe genossen.
- He has nice comerades / He has enjoyed love.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
After WWII in Berlin people talked about all the Warenhäuser there were, denn sie waren Häuser.

Warehouses/'were [in the sense of 'are no longer'] houses, homonyms in German.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
In German, the expression "Oh Je!" means something along the lines of "Jesus!" or "Oh my god!"
It prompted a former professor of mine to come up with the following teacher-student-joke:

Lehrer zum Schüler: "Dekliniere das Wort ius!"
Schüler: "ius ... hmmm ...
ius
ii
io
ium
io"
Lehrer: "Oh Je!"
Schüler: "Ach ja, den Vokativ hab' ich vergessen!"

tbh I laughed my arse off when I first heard it ... I may have been slightly inebriated, but that doesn't count :p
 

Adrian

Civis Illustris
Slight dutch redux

in dutch, there are some interesting idiomatic expressions like :

1) "to enjoy one's meal or drink" - "alsof er een engeltje over je tong piest" [= lit. " as if an angel is peeing on your tongue"]

2) "to be at the right time at the right place" - " met zijn neus in de boter vallen" [= lit. to fall with your nose in the butter"]

3) "It's all Greek to me" - "Daar kan ik geen chocola van maken" [= lit. I can’t make any chocolate from that]

4) "I completely did not expect this." - "Nu breekt mijn klomp!" [ = lit. Now my wooden shoe is breaking! ]
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Do you mean it was abandoned? So is it daß or dass now?

No, it wasn't abandoned, but it permanently underwent changes. The proposals from 1996 were changed over and over again. I've just looked it up: The last changes they made were in 2011.

The new regulation for ss/ß remained untouched, though, so it has always been dass since 1996.
 
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