Blague de linguistes



Attention ! Il faut être linguiste pour trouver ça drôle. Si ce n'est pas votre cas, inscrivez-vous au Master en linguistique !

On y va ! Un peu de phonétique ...

Un américain, un allemand et un français présentent leur candidature à un poste de on-sait-pas-quoi-c'est-pas-important.
Ils doivent se soumettre à plusieurs tests, dont un d'anglais. La consigne est la suivante : ils doivent faire des phrases avec les mots Green, pink et yellow.
L'américain s'avance et dit (fastoche pour lui, hein) : "The grass is green, and the pink panther eats yellow bananas."
L'allemand s'avance et dit : "I was green with anger when I realised my pink suit had turned yellow."
Le français s'avance et dit : "I hear ze phone "green, green, green !!!" I pink it up and say 'Yellow ?'"


Ici il faut connaître la maxime de quantité de Grice

-Lui : "Je voudrais bien te rappeler... C'est quoi ton numéro ?"
-Elle : "Il est dans l'annuaire."
-Lui : "Mais je ne connais même pas ton nom !"
-Elle : "Il est dans l'annuaire aussi."


Et là, les connecteurs logiques.

- Lui : "On va chez toi ou chez moi ?"
- Elle : "Les deux : Tu vas chez toi, et moi je vais chez moi."


Ah, les actes de langage indirects !

Lui : - Puis-je avoir votre nom ?
Elle : - Pourquoi, vous n'en avez pas ?


Aucune connaissance linguistique nécessaire...

Quel est le comble pour un linguiste ? C'est d'avoir un cheveu sur la langue.


Conjugaison anglaise

A businessman arriving in Boston for a convention found that his first evening was free, and he decided to go find a good seafood restaurant that served Scrod, a Massachussetts specialty. Getting into a taxi, he asked the cab driver, "Do you know where I can get Scrod around here ?" "Sure," said the cabdriver. "I know a few places... but I can tell you it's not often I hear someone use the third-person pluperfect indicative anymore !"



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 ?"



The European Commission have just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5 year phase-in plan that would be known as "EuroEnglish" : --
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favor of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"'s in the language is disgracful, and they should go away. By the 4th yar, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaiining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI KUM TRU !


The importance of punctuation

From : Games Magazine (1984)

Dear John :

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours ?


Dear John :

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be ?

Yours, Gloria


Double négation

A linguistics professor was lecturing his class.

"In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."


Annulation de présupposition

Reporter : Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization ?
Gandhi : I think that it would be a very good idea.


Linguistique prescriptive

A gentleman wanders around the campus of a college looking for the library. He approaches a student and asked, “Excuse me young man. Would you be good enough and tell me where the library is at ?”

The student, in a very arrogant and belittling tone, replied, “I sorry, sir, but at this school, we are taught never to end a sentence with a preposition !” The gentleman smiled, and in a very apologetic tone replied, “I beg your pardon. Please allow me to rephrase my question. Would you be good enough to tell me where the library is at, asshole ?”

The linguist’s husband walked in and caught his wife sleeping with a young co-ed. He said, “Why, Susan, I’m surprised.” She bolted upright, pointed her finger and corrected him, “No. I am surprised. You are astonished.”


On n'est pas toujours d'accord...

I was walking across campus with a friend and we came upon half a dozen theoretical linguists committing unprovoked physical assault on a defenseless prescriptivist. My friend was shocked. She said : "Aren't you going to help ?" I said, "No; six should be enough."


Relations anaphoriques

Q : Two linguists were walking down the street. Which one was the specialist in contextually indicated deixis and anaphoric reference resolution strategies ?

A : The other one.


At the pearly gates

A newly graduated linguistics PhD was hit by a bus and tragically killed on the day her dissertation was turned in. Her soul arrived in heaven at the Pearly Gates to meet St. Peter.
"Welcome to theates of Heaven," said St. Peter. "But let me just say that we have a bit of a problem here. You see, we've never actually had a linguist make it this far -- usually they have lived fairly dissolute lives (you wouldn't believe the things that went on at the 1974 Linguistic Institute), or published things with inaccurate glosses and mismatched brackets or uninterpreted formalisms of one sort or another, and it's clear enough that they're not really suitable candidates for the University of Heaven. But you were just starting out. We're not really sure what to do with you." "Well, couldn't you just let me in ?" said the young woman. "I've tried to be good." "No, the procedure in these cases, to be scrupulously fair, is to let you experience each and then choose," said St. Peter. "You'll spend one day in Hell and one here in Heaven and then you'll make your decision about eternity."
And with that St. Peter made the necessary travel arrangements and the young scholar was whisked down to the gates of Hell.

She strolled in, naturally rather nervous, and found herself in a lushly vegetated and well-kept courtyard in which stood an elegant Italian fountain. Off the courtyard was a well-appointed seminar room with superb AV equipment, excellent built-in projectors, high-speed radio Internet connection, whiteboards with markers that actually worked, everything.
Down the hall was a very comfortable lounge with a reference library that despite its compact space had the latest edition of the OED; the luxury leatherbound edition of The Cambridge Grammar; every previous grammar she knew about any language; all of Frege's works in their first editions; an unexpurgated `director's cut' hand-sewn edition of The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory dated 1954... and a subscription to just about every journal that could possibly be relevant to her field. All on open stacks in mint condition.

She began to meet the other linguists who were strolling the courtyard, chatting in the hall, reading in the library. Otto Jespersen was there, and was very nice to her. Edward Sapir, Leonard Bloomfield, and Bernard Bloch all praised her work warmly. She learned that the man in the loincloth meditating by the fountain out in the courtyard was Panini. Jim McCawley took her to a marvellous Chinese buffet for lunch; the salt and pepper prawns flash-broiled in hell fire were fantastic. Through the afternoon there were fascinating discussions on many different linguistic topics. Dinner in the faculty club was a feast of steak and lobster followed by crepes suzette cooked in flames at the table by a demon. Over coffee and brandy she had a brief chance to meet the Devil, who turned out to be a tall, handsome man with a voice rather like Peter Ladefoged's. When the time came for her to leave she was really quite reluctant. But it was time to sample Heaven.

Heaven turned out to be a rather sterile experience of standing around on clouds. It was mildly interesting to discover that she could play the harp (innately triggered abilities, she assumed). The cherubim and seraphim were gentle and polite, but their conversation revolved mainly around falling down before Him in adoration and singing praises unto His holy name, and she rapidly tired of it all. When her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came to ask her for her decision, it was not really very difficult.

"I never thought I'd say this," she said, "I mean, Heaven has been... nice... But I really think I had a better time in Hell. I mean the University of Hell is a better fit for my intellectual interests."

So St. Peter escorted her back. She arrived once more at the gates of Hell, and strolled back in confidently. But the pleasant courtyard was gone.

She was standing in a desolate, filthy, trash-strewn wasteland. The temperature was ninety and rising, and there was a whiff of brimstone in the air. She thought she heard distant howls of agony. The seminar room was a bare room with plaster falling off the walls in a half-derelict building. The library had some battered introductory texts and a few loose copies of Glossa with non-consecutive dates in the 1970s. She did see some linguists, but they were dressed in rags, and appeared to be picking up dead lizards and pieces of potentially edible garbage and putting it in sacks to make an evening meal. They look at her with sad and bitter eyes, pausing from their gathering activities only to tell her that they thought her research was second-rate at best. One of them mentioned that in her absence she had been appointed to a committee. A tattered schedule on a wall said that her first class was at 7 a.m. the following morning.

When the Devil happened to pass by she cried out to him : "I don't understand ! What happened to the library and the Chinese lunch buffet and the faculty club and... What has happened ? All the other linguists look miserable, and they seem to hate me. It's all... different !" Lucifer grinned. He put an arm around her shoulders and laughed a deep, dark laugh. (He really did sound like Peter Ladefoged.) The dark horns high on his forehead, which she had scarcely noticed before, stood out against the glistening scarlet skin, and his arrow-tipped tail waved gently in satisfaction as he explained : "But yesterday we were just interviewing you ! Today you're a junior member of our faculty."


Encore un peu de ponctuation

A giant panda goes into one of those expensive and pretentious restaurants serving French/Asian fusion cuisine and takes a table for one. The surprised waiter for that table explains unctuously that his name is Marcel, he will be your server tonight, and we 'ave a number of specials (he is French), etc., etc. The panda listens impassively to the list of $27 chili-pepper encrusted swordfish specials and so on, and then orders a delicately flavored dish of young bamboo tips and mixed greenery served with steamed jasmine rice. On finishing his meal, the panda gets up, reaches into his fur for a handgun, brings down the waiter with one shot, and calmly heads for the door.

The head waiter is near the door and exclaims in shock, "Oh, monsieur, what 'ave you done ? You 'ave killed Marcel ! Why 'ave you done zis, monsieur ? You 'ad some problem ? Ze service was not acceptable ?"

The panda scowls at him and says, "I'm a fucking panda. Go look it up." He stalks out into the night.

The baffled staff huddle round the compact encyclopedic dictionary that they keep on the premises, and turning to Panda, giant, they read this :

Panda, giant. Large bear-like animal, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, with distinctive black and white markings, related to raccoon family. Rare; found only in bamboo forests of Tibet and western China. Eats shoots and leaves.


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