Wednesday, December 18, 2013

10 Jokes About The English Language

As the world's third (second, by some estimates) most spoken language, it is perhaps appropriate that there should be so many jokes about English. After all, it is more honorable to pick on one of the big dogs, right? Here are 10 jokes about the wonderful English language - a language that both my British and American readers reluctantly share.

1. What is the longest word in the English language? 
'Smiles'.  Because there is a mile between its first and last letters.

2. What begins with T, ends with T and has T in it?
A teapot.

3. What do you say when you are comforting a grammar nazi? 
There, Their, They're

4. What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?

5. When does a dialect become a language? 
When its speakers get an army and a navy.

6. Don't you know the Queen's English?
Why, yes, I'd heard she was.

7. Let's eat Grandma! 
Let's eat, Grandma! 
Punctuation saves lives!

8. What’s another name for Santa’s elves?
Subordinate clauses!

9. Why did the comma break up with the apostrophe?
Because it was too possessive.

10. What’s the difference between a cat and a comma?
A cat has claws at the ends of its paws and a comma is a pause at the end of a clause.

Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor for BBC America and writes a weekly column for Anglotopia. Having graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, Laurence runs this blog, Lost In The Pond, charting the endless cultural and linguistic differences between Britain and The United States. 

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Anonymous said...

I really do not understand if this is meant to be funny or not. I for one found it exceedingly lame and pointless. Also, English is most certainly the worlds 2nd most spoken language next to Mandarin.

Laurence Brown said...

Thank you for your comment, Anonymous.

Indeed, yes, this article was intended to be funny. Not - you understand - laugh-out-loud funny. Just funny enough to give my linguistically-minded readers (of whom there are a few) a slight chuckle. Nothing more than that. Does that make sense, Anonymous?

"Also, English is most certainly the worlds 2nd most spoken language next to Mandarin."

Anonymous, there are two leading measurements of language frequency: 1) Total number of speakers (including, in this case, those for whom English is a second language) and 2) Total number of native speakers (just those, in this case, for whom English is their first language).

In the first case, Anonymous, you're correct: English is second only to Mandarin. In the second case, there are more native Spanish speakers than there are native English speakers. So by the native speaker measurement, English is the third most spoken.

Thanks, Anonymous.

Laurence Brown
Editor: Lost In The Pond
Contributor: BBC America
Contributor: Anglotopia
Contributor: Smitten By Britain

David said...

Nice write-up! Being able to write creatively is something not all of us are capable of. Count yourself blessed because you have a talent. Getting into the mood in writing does not have a set of rules to follow. ‘To each his own’ is what people say; however, a list of suggestions wouldn’t hurt. writing a novel

karin said...

Thank you for your jokes! Teaching English as a foreign language I really appreciated them and so will my students :-)

nancy john said...

It was not uncommon to find such people runningschools in their mother tongue. As time went by and the country started blending, such people had to bring in English for instruction in school


nancy john said...

English is one of the most important languages in the world. It can even be said to be the single most important language.Other languages are important too

IELTS examination knowledge

Anonymous said...

Some are hilarious! I'll definitely use them in my classes. Thanks, Laurence!

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