OK, I’m aware that my recent posts have been a little heavy, so I thought I’d lighten things up a bit. My friends, family and acquaintances already know that I have a “unique” sense of humour, and I thought I’d share some of it with you. I apologise in advance!
I guess that from an early age, language has been really important to me. More particularly, puns were a great source of amusement, as were ambiguous statements. One of the earliest examples of the latter I remember was seeing a newspaper headline which read:
Police shoot man with knife
It may have been factually correct, but I found it hilarious. There are no doubt entire volumes of work devoted to the art of the pun, so I’m not going to recreate them here.
English is such a great language in terms of scope for puns and double entendres (sorry, I know that’s French), and that’s one of the reasons why I have such an affection for it. I dare say that other languages have similar opportunities, but I can only really comment on what I know. It’s not just the ever confusing things like the different pronunciation of homographs (words that are spelled the same) e.g. “I was reading in Reading”, but also the ability of words that sounds similar but are spelled differently (homonyms) to add to the confusion e.g. “I will put their cases over there while they’re checking in”. The possibilities for puns and misunderstanding are almost endless. That also adds to the challenge of writing in a clear and easily understandable way, with no chance for ambiguity or misinterpretation.
In Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss, she covers a lot of the things that I find so interesting and stimulating in the language. It’s well worth a read, as I’m sure that there will be something in there that tickles everyone. (For those who aren’t familiar with it, the title refers to the story of a panda which had consumed dinner in a restaurant, then instead of paying for the meal fired a gun at the waiter and departed the premises. When asked why it had done that, the panda replied that that’s what a description of panda activities had said in an encyclopedia i.e. panda – eats shoots and leaves.)
I thought I’d leave you with the following examples. Feel free to add your favourites in the comments below!