A Silly Joke

Here’s a silly old language-related joke, which I suppose many younger students wouldn’t even get (not that I’ve ever sent a telegram):

A dog goes to a telegraph office and dictates the following message to the clerk: “Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof.”
“That’s seven words,” says the clerk. “You get eight for the same price, so do you want to add another ‘woof’?”
“Certainly not,” says the dog “Then it wouldn’t make any sense!”

Ha, ha … well, this is funny (marginally) because it gets at certain sociolinguistic realities: behaving as though an unfamiliar language is nonsense, not realizing that an unfamiliar language may carry meaning in an unfamiliar encoding (like tones in Chinese), offering help that isn’t actually helpful due to intercultural ignorance, etc.





One response to “A Silly Joke”

  1. Erin Avatar

    Funny! You make a good point, too 😀

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