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Lexical Leavings

by Tom Gally



The current issue of the Onion carries a photograph of a lone soldier standing in an empty desert. The caption is "Kuwait Deploys Troop."

Last November, the New Yorker ran a cartoon showing a depressed man sitting at a bar. He says to the bartender, "She no longer laughs at my joke."

The response to Lexical Leavings has been fantastic. Already an e-mail has poured in.

These jokes would be difficult to translate into Japanese, because they rely on singular nouns being used where plurals are expected. Humor is often said to be untranslatable for cultural reasons; in this case, the reason is grammatical.
(March 6, 2003)