Posts Tagged ‘language abuse’

Last week I promised Allan at Ohm Sweet Ohm that this week I’d be featuring a few of the language home runs Yogi Berra hit over the years. Not to be confused with Yogi Bear, although his AP obituary initially stated that Yogi Bear had died, he was an outstanding baseball player for the New York Yankees.  But he is just as famous for his humorous use, or some might say, misuse, of the English language.  Perhaps his best known is “It isn’t over till it’s over.”  But there are many more.  Here are just a few to interject a smile or even a laugh into your day.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

 Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.

Never answer an anonymous letter.

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

Half the lies they tell me aren’t true.

Can we believe that Yogi actually said all these things?  I think so, but then again he did say, “I never said most of the things I said.”   So you decide.  🙂

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Sam Goldwyn, legendary movie producer, was known for more than just his movies.  He was also know for his mangling of English, as shown by a few of the examples from Anguished English.  Ready?  Roll ’em.

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’ll give you a definite maybe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

I never like you and I always will.

When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Let’s have some new clichés.

A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Our comedies are not to be laughed at.

I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.

 

 

It’s Tuesday, so it must be time for a language abuse post.  Today is all about modifiers that aren’t placed in the right place, thus conveying rather different meanings than the writers intended, more fun from Richard Lederer’s Anguished English.  Hang on, because here we go.

No one was injured in the blast, which was attributed to a buildup of gas by one town official.

Yoko Ono will talk about her husband, John Lennon, who was killed in an interview with Barbara Walters.

Plunging 1,000 feet into the gorge, we saw Yosemite Falls.

CALF BORN TO FARMER WITH TWO HEADS.

Two cars were reported stolen by the Groveton police yesterday.

After years of being lost under a pile of dust, Chester D. Thatcher III found all the old records of the Bangor Lions Club at the Bangor House.

Do not sit in chair without being fully assembled.

Here are some suggestions for handling obscene phone calls from New England Telephone Company.

The judge sentenced the killer to die in the electric chair for the second tie.

Here’s the end of history as we know is or, rather, as we didn’t know it. Unfortunately, the bloopers only go up to WWI, but don’t worry, there will be lots more fun with words on the following Tuesdays.  Now on to the fun!

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim’s Progress. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers.  Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps.  During the War, the Red Coast and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls.  The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.” Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. His farewell address was Mount Vernon.

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Are your ready for some more fractured history?  We’ll start with the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle-aged,  and end with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Thanks again to Richard Lederer and his hilarious book, Anguished English.  As I’m mentioned before, he has a number of other books that will keep you laughing.  Pick one up and tell me if I’m wrong…if you’re able to get the words out while giggling.

Warning!!  Do NOT consume hot beverages or even food while reading unless prepared to do laundry and clean up your surroundings.  You have been warned!!

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Then came the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle aged. King Alfred conquered the Dames. King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery with brave knights on prancing horses and beautiful women. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings.

Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw. And victims of the blue-bonnet plague brew boobs on their necks.  Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

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I’m a history buff, so this mash-up of student bloopers makes me laugh until I cry.  I don’t know if you’ll cry, but I’m quite sure you’ll laugh, possibly out loud.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD

‘The World According to Student Bloopers’

by Richard Lederer

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following “history” of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers through the U.S., from eighth grade through college. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation.

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This week we’ll take a break from Anguished English because my sister-in-law sent me the results of the Washington Post’s annual neologism contest.  These are just too much fun not to pass on.

(Just did a bit more research and found that these are from 2013.  That means more to come, I’d guess.)

Once again The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.


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