The Parallax Brief

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Unrepentant Subjectivity on Economics, Politics, Defence, Foreign Policy, and Russia

More Wordplay Baloney

After the last post – which I would like to add is a shameless plagiarism of the punchline to a cartoon I saw on Paul Krugman’s nostril-flaringly good blog – I’ve got some more wordplay shenanigans for you.

Obviously, my life in the fast moving world of Russian finance is thrilling. So interesting, in fact, that the highlight of the morning was overhearing a colleague try to explain the following sentence to the lady he sits next to:

“When you write ‘fish and chips’, should there be a hyphen between fish and and and and and chips?”

The answer, as you will all know, is no, but it did remind me of the sentence below, which I first read about year ago and is the kind of thing one stumbles upon when one has a niggling obsession with the English language:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

According to Wikipedia, this is a perfectly grammatical sentence, because Buffalo is a city (NY), an animal, and a (surely archane, the Parallax Brief assumes) verb meaning ‘to bully’. Work it out yourself.

The Parallax Brief can just about get its head around that, but Wikipedia totally lost us when it took us from the Buffalo etc page to this:

James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

Suggestions in the comments box please.

Yes, my morning was that exciting.

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3 Responses

  1. Robertmf says:

    The NY Times Magazine (Sundays) carries “On Language” – a weekly column by Wm. Safire

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/magazine/columns/on_language/index.html

    (RSS feed available)

  2. andrew says:

    James, where John had had ‘had,’ had had ‘had had.’ ‘Had had’had had a better effect on the teacher.

    • parallaxbrief says:

      Well done! I suppose you could replace the period/full stop/tochka with a semi-colon, making it one sentence.

      Good stuff, Andrew

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