Humour Archive

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

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Saturday, August 05, 2006


When one is comes across some mildly amusing distractions.

Today I learned, while looking up 'Pallava' in my linguistics dictionaries (which wasn't in either of them; it's a type of script) and I came across the appropriately named:

Palilalia - "Speech disorder described as the involuntary repetition of words or larger units".

Perhaps one's brain is receptive to these things at certain times....I'm not so sure it's funny, now that I've spent time typing this up.

This word reminds me of 'echolalia', which, apart from the title of a Something for Kate album, also means "mechanical repetition of the words just uttered by another speaker, when symptomatic of a speech or other mental disorder".

Enoughough ofofof me and me and my linginguistic nerderdinessess.


Blogger Halliwell said...

Your last msg reminds me of another spoonerism.

The Story of Rindercella
Once apon a time, in a coreign fountry, there lived a very geautiful birl; her name was Rindercella. Now, Rindercella lived with her mugly other and her two sad bisters. And in this same coreign fountry, there was a very prandsom hince.

And this prandsom hince was going to have a bancy fall. And he'd invited people from riles amound, especially the pich reople. Rindercella's mugly other and her two sad blisters went out to buy some drancy fesses to wear to this bancy fall, but Rindercella could not go because all she had to wear were some old rirty dags. Finally, the night of the bancy fall arrived and Rindercella couldn't go. So she just cat down and scried. She was a kitten there a scrien, when all at once there appeard before her, her gairy fodmother. And he touched her with his wagic mand ... and there appeared before her, a cig boach and hix white sorces to take her to the bancy fall. But now she said to Rindercella, "Rindercella, you must be home before nidmight, or I'll purn you into a tumpkin!"

When Rindercella arrived at the bancy fall, the prandsom hince met her at the door because he had been watchin' behind a woden hindow. And Rindercella and the prandsom hince nanced all dight until nidmight...and they lell in fove. And finally, the mid clock strucknight. And Rindercella staced down the rairs, and just as she beached the rottom, she slopped her dripper!

The next day, the prandsom hince went all over the coreign fountry looking for the geautiful birl who had slopped her dripper. Finally he came to Rindercella's house. He tried it on Rendercella's mugly other ... and it fidn't dit. Then he tried it on her two sigly usters ... and it fidn't dit. Then he tried it on Rindercella ... and it fid dit. It was exactly the sight rize!

So they were married and lived heverly ever hapwards. Now, the storal of the mory is this: If you ever go to a bancy fall and want to have a pransom hince loll in fove with you, don't forget to slop your dripper!

Happily Meducating the Asses.

Enjoy Bitaches.......

8:22 pm  
Blogger TimT said...

There's 'stuttering' - which sounds like it is.

Of course, there's Spoonerism, which is named after one of its sufferers. Maybe the Reverend John Spooner would call it 'Oonerspism', or something like that. (Incidentally, once I wrote a 'News Report Presented by the Reverend John Spooner', but never got around to publishing it. It began. 'Good evening. And near is the Hughes. I'm the Reverend Spon Juner...'

Glossolalia, which I guess mimics the way the tongue moves, is the speaking of false words. (People at Pentacostal churches are prone to glossolalia', though you suspect politicians are too.)

I like babble, which again sounds like what it is. As you know, it comes from the 'Tower of Babel' story, which itself was a shortening of 'The Tower of Babylon'.
(I once knew a woman who called her flat 'Babble On', and thought this was incredibly witty and original. God, she was stupid. Excuse me.)

And of course, there's that wonderful old term for expostulation: 'Ejaculation'. I read two of the Pollyanna books when I was a kid (I do a lot of reading), and do you know, Pollyannas did a LOT of ejaculating?
The operative syllable in that word is 'JAC'; with the short 'A'. There are several rhythmic stresses in the word, but the strongest is upon the 'Jac', so when you pronounce the word, the way you spit out that 'Jac' mimics the way rude words/blasphemies, etc, can spit out of your mouth. Or the way ...

But I DON'T think we'll go into that!

I've said too much already!

11:20 am  
Blogger Daniel said...

Is "palilalia" an example of onomatopoeia?

If only the word "onomatopoeia" was just that...

9:13 am  
Blogger TimT said...

Yes, 'onomatopoeia' has got to be one of those words that ISN'T like what it describes. My favourite is 'pulchitrudinous' - which describes beauty, but sounds like the opposite.

"Help! Doctor, there's an outbreak of pulchitrudinousness! Is there anything you can do?"

"I'll get the medicine, my boy - and pray - pray - for the love of God, PRAY!"

10:18 am  
Anonymous Hooch said...

Phoenetic isn't spelt the way it sounds, either.

James - where did you get that from? it's quite strange. Are there more fairy tales, or is it just a one off?

Daniel - it could be an example of onomatopoeia. I'm not sure. I always understood onomatopoeia to be imitative of a sound.

According to, onomatopoeia means to 'imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to'; this definition would include 'Palilalia'.

According to my linguistics dictionary (it's the Oxford Concise), it means 'a word ... whose phonetic form ... [imitates] a sound, or associated sound with something that they denote'. I think we could squeeze Palilalia into this definition as well.

TimT - 'pulchitrudinous'! I have never heard this word before, it's great! I hope to incorporate it into my lexicon over the coming weeks :)

3:48 pm  
Blogger Hooch said...

TimT - incidentally, 'ugliness' of the wound words is entirely subjective. Studies have shown that we have unpleasant associations with different sounds because we've been psychologically conditioned to do so.

I remember a study I hear about where British people were asked to rank different dialects of British English from 'Most Pleasant Sounding' to Least Pleasant'. A correlation was found betweent the class that each particular dialect was associated with. Then, a bunch of Americans were asked to rank the same British dialects, and there was not correlation, because there was no associated status with each dialect for the Americans.

3:59 pm  
Blogger Halliwell said...

A. Internet, not the one i wanted to post, not sure.

6:34 pm  
Blogger Halliwell said...

You've probably seen this before.. john Cleese's letter to the US Government:

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up revocation in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up aluminium. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix ize will be replaced by the suffix ise. You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up vocabulary. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up interspersed. There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney,upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as Taggart will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is Devon. If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become shires e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as Men Behaving Badly or Red Dwarf will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American football. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American football is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays American football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders,your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called rounders, which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called Indecisive Day.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time,you will go metric with immediate effect and conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer,and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. The substances formerly known as American Beer will henceforth be referred to as Near-Frozen Knat's Urine,with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as Weak Near-Frozen Knat's Urine. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen,Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or Gasoline, as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon- get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation and have a great day.

John Cleese

6:35 pm  
Blogger TimT said...

I got the spelling wrong - it's 'pulchritudinous'.

There are lots of psychological associations with words. I think a lot of sci-fi villains' names begin with V, X, or Z, for instance.

8:37 am  
Anonymous Hooch said...

except for 'V' who was, of course, a hero as opposed to a villain.

4:45 pm  
Blogger Halliwell said...

sorry for taking up WAAAY too much room, it looked smaller.
I find with all the big words and shit flyin' round it needs some words people actually use in life to make it look less like a script from Dawson's Creek.. and shit..

Q. Why is John Howard's nick name BONSAI??

9:58 pm  
Anonymous Hooch said...

A. Because he's a little bush.

11:19 am  
Blogger Daniel said...

V is a hero but ambiguously so. The stuff he does to Evie is spine-chilling even if you think it is well-intentioned. But we accept it from him because we agree with his overall cause and because he is so damned charming. I think this ambiguity made for a much more interesting movie than it may have been.

But back to Onomatopoeia: I challenge anyone to think of an alternative word for 'onomatopoeia' which is in fact onomatopoetic...

5:36 pm  
Blogger TimT said...

I'm not sure who V is ... and me a big geek and all! I hang my head in shame! Was he connected to the 1980s sci-fi series of the same name, about killer alien lizards, or some such, who overran the earth?

In John Boorman's 1970s sci-fi flick Zardoz, the hero (played by Sean Connery) is a barbarian called Z whose main heroic duties seem to entail running around and starting wars, and generally killing people. The villain is a chap called Zardoz - also a God - who, also ambiguously, is 'evil' because he has discovered the secret of eternal life. It's a confusing movie.

Dr Xavier, of course, from the X-men... Zander, from Buffy ... Voltron, from the show of the same name ...

I seem to have shot my hypothesis about V, X, and Z-characters being evil right out of the water! Maybe those letters are more associated with mystery and ambiguity than evil.

Maybe we should all just agree that John Howard is evil, and have done with it. (The actor, I mean ...)

6:38 pm  
Blogger Halliwell said...

V is from V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman and a supposedly Hugo Weaving(you never know coz he always wears a mask), He could be very much considered a terrorist by his actions, But also a hero by intentions of his actions, Much like the suicide bombers of sep 11th. hero to some, Villian to others.

I believe the character Xander is spelt with and 'X' not a 'Z' becuase it's short for Alexander Harris, I could be wrong though.
Xavier is/was a Professor not a Dr in X-men, That im sure of.

I know they aren't sci-fi characters but they are Evil all have somewhat devious names that start from all over the alphabet Dr Evil, Oddjob, Random Task, Spike..

7:06 pm  
Blogger TimT said...

There you go, questioning my geek status even more.

Well go on, then. Ask me about my favourite character from C.S. Lewis's 'Out of the Silent Planet' trilogy. Or whether I prefer Jerry Cornelius over Dorian Hawkmoon as the eternal champion in Michael Moorcock's 'Multiverse' novels. Go on. Bet other geeks wouldn't know that!

*Goes off to sulk*

11:10 pm  
Anonymous Hooch said...

hehe. I just got 'vemjmout' as my word verification on a friend's blog. Wanted to record it down in history somewhere so I came here.

Timt: your Geek status is fully restored (and duely admired)!

2:30 pm  

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