Buffalo

Ok, sorry to those who knew this already, but this sentence got me thinking last night. (Don’t you have anything better to do Mickelino on a Friday night?) I know I’m a pathetic geek, but here you are:

Possibly the weirdest sentence in the English language is:
“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo”.
It takes a bit to understand this, so let’s build up from simple stuff. First, suppose that dogs chase cats, who then chase mice. Another way of saying this is:
“Cats that dogs chase, chase mice”
But the comma and the word “that” aren’t technically needed, so we can say:
“Cats dogs chase chase mice”.
But cats also chase other cats, so we could say:
“Cats dogs chase chase cats”.
And they can be chased by other cats too:
“Cats cats chase chase cats”.
Step back and look at this sentence for a moment. This is the basic structure of the buffalo sentence. Let’s think about buffalo chasing other buffalo:
“Buffalo buffalo chase chase buffalo”.
Now there’s a lesser-known English verb “to buffalo” meaning “to push around”. So instead of chasing, let’s make these buffalo push each other around:
“Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo”.
Remember that this means:
“Buffalo that buffalo push around, push buffalo around”.
For the final step, let’s just talk about a particular kind of buffalo – the kind that live in the zoo in Buffalo, New York. These, of course, are Buffalo buffalo – just as the lions are Buffalo lions.
“Buffalo buffalo that Buffalo Buffalo push around, push Buffalo buffalo around”
or more properly:

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo”.Thank you Frog with a Blog for another great English lesson!

Advertisements

12 Responses

  1. Hoots mon! Whaur’s ma troosers?

  2. how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck can chuck wood? A woodchuck can chuck as much wood as a woodchuck can chuck wood!
    this might have on you the same effect as your buffalo lesson had on me! Hehe.
    yes Micke, on a friday night? 🙂

  3. Well that was truly enriching and I never thought of it.

  4. Ms. Mac, I love it when you speak Russian to me.

    Nyasha: I know a slightly different version of that one.
    “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.”
    But you’re right, it got me thinking too. Thanks, you saved another friday night.

    Babs: I’m so happy the Great Frogmeister could teach you something!

  5. ah, yours is much much better! maybe i got mine wrong! in fact, i am sure i got mine wrong.
    i also like to try this other one: she sells seashells by the seashore.
    my dad loves word play like these. will tell him about the buffalo.

  6. oh my god this is so freaking hilarious!!!!!!!!
    I sent the link everywhere

    I love you frog!

  7. Once again, you’ve educated the uneducationable! Mr. Frog meister, how witty and fun! I miss you friend, I really do.

  8. My brain hurts.

  9. Ok, now i get it! or do i? Hi, I am back at my blog site so you are welcome to pop (hop) around for some tea!!!!

  10. Frog, you magical man you. My daughter was the only one in her English class that got this particular sentence last year when they had to decipher it on a test. 🙂

  11. oh, ce que tu m’amuses Frog!! 😀

  12. Oh crap… My mind’s actually gone cross eyed…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: