Humour Archive

Scraps of humour research presented here for your consumption. Comments welcome.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ruling Class Say the Darndest Things

Moi marster, Marster, dassn't understand anything Oi say. Larst woik Oi was mucking out the stables an' Oi says to Marster, "Eee, Marster, dithent ee bampster oi beckon ray deen!" An' 'e says, "wot?", an Oi says, "Dithent ee bampster oi beckon ray deen!" An' 'e says, "Oi dassn't understan' ye." So Oi bampstered 'is beckon ray and the deen is baffin, an' withern sooie bamperstoul am prackser im prathen!

By David Nichols. Big Issue no.233, p.41

While browsing through the Big Issue last year I came across this nonsense gem. Being a linguist, it made me chuckle more than slightly. Upon showing it to my mother and sister, I got very little response. Unperturbed, I went ahead and published it on onlycoolppl - not a sausage. No one seemed to find it as funny as I.

So I put these questions to you:
Is nonsense funny?
Does humour have to have a point?
Even in the above mish-mash of Englishesque silliness, the linguist in me finds some vague point....Is it just language nerds that appreciate this humour? (or is it just me? - AJ, fellow language nerd - you'll be able to offer some insight here!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel I shouldn't stay silent just cos I don't get it.....

translation? people are looking at me funny in this cafe..


2:29 pm  
Blogger Hooch said...

Spank you so much for revealing yourself O Carlos - just knowing it is you has put a smile on my dial.

I'll leave a translation/explanation off for now, till a few more people have a peep at the post.

7:06 pm  
Blogger Daniel said...

It would work better for me as spoken rather than written word. As text I have to decipher almost every word to get any sense from it (from the bits that make any sense that is). But if it were recited - well - accents can be funny as can nonsense.

10:21 am  
Blogger Hooch said...

Hey, Carl - were people looking at you funny because you were laughing hysterically?

I think the punchline is something along the lines of the fact that the narrator is talking as though 'of COURSE you can understand what I'm saying' and isn't the 'Marster' stupid for not understanding. But then it turns out that the narrator is talking gobble-di-gook and no one can actually understand what's being said.

3:29 pm  
Blogger Halliwell said...

I belive it is just poor syntax
Or is it the effect of the intransetive verb protracting upon the adverb that enhances the adjective?!?

NO...Well then i just don't get it.

6:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh god, halliwell sounds like a member of the Python crew.

hooch, i was being laughed at for trying to say that gobbledegook out loud and listen back to it.

i guess the 'answer' is the same sort of thing as people melting doorknobs and stuff for Mao's steel program instead of actually having doorknobs. lol, i think that sort of qualifies as gobbledegook of its own!

anyway, I think your project is eccentric and interersting. I now have a favourite quote on eccentricity.

"The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time." - John Stuart Mill.
Yeah, theoretical protection for eccentrics for ever!

9:22 pm  
Anonymous Hooch said...

*chuckle* I can picture you in the cafe and everything *chucklechuckle*

if you want something really strange that you'll need to read out loud to understand (and perhaps not even then!) google 'ladle rat rotten hut'...

10:55 pm  
Blogger Daniel said...

Wow - J S Mill defended eccentrics? I have always liked him but now even moreso.

On the topic of eccentrics, I designed a 'British Eccentric Test' which you can take here:

2:38 pm  
Anonymous Hooch said...

here is the link (if I can get this to work properly)

British Eccentric Test

6:37 pm  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Yes, nonsense is funny (have you ever seen Tom Foolery?)
And I think humour is often better without a point!

10:45 am  
Anonymous Hooch said...

no, I've never seen it. But I'll put it on my ever-expanding 'must see' list. So cool to read your comments on here.

12:18 am  

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