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May 25, 2006



Geez. One wonders how the speakers of that deficient German dialect called Jüdish managed to escape all those linguistic manacles of humorlessness. If ambiguity makes humor, then Japanese must be among the most humor-enabling languages on earth, while speakers of polysynthetic languages must have a devil of a time trying to figure out which pieces they can leave out of sentence-like words.


german sense of humor, there is such a thing?


What gets me is how the article contains a joke that destroys Lee’s point by showing that German is more flexible than English:

“We fishes don't give a toss what the animals of the forest aren't allowed to do,” says the rabbit.

Here is the same punchline in German:

Darauf lallt der Hase: „Was ihr Tiere im Wald wollt, ist uns Fischen im Teich piepegal.“


Note how the English translation reveals at once that the rabbit is trying to pass off as a fish, while German allows you to “shunt the key word to the end of the sentence” and enables a “pull-back and reveal.”

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