|Excerpt from Refurbishing our Foundations: Elementary|
Linguistics from an Advanced Point of View
"Dudley pooh-poohs public pooping in park"
This amusingly alliterative headline brought to mind a book I worked on years ago at John Benjamins entitled, Refurbishing Our Foundations: Elementary Linguistics from an Advanced Point of View by Charles Francis Hockett. This book was memorable to me for one reason--the author's list of headlines cited as examples of ambiguity of language. These headlines were made humorously ambiguous or simply bizarre due to homophones, odd capitalization, missing punctuation or articles, or other linguistic idiosyncrasies in the English language.
For your entertainment, here is the list of headlines:
- BASEBALL TALKS IN NINTH INNING
- SMOKING RISKIER THAN THOUGHT
- HOT DOG FIRM IN NEW HANDS
- QUEEN DUCKS RIDE TO U.S. ON CONCORDE
- TEXTRON INC. MAKES OFFER TO SCREW COMPANY SHAREHOLDERS
- FARMER BILL DIES IN HOUSE
- FORD GIVES SWAN SONG
- TUNA BITING OFF WASHINGTON COAST
- CROWD RUSHING TO SEE POPE TRAMPLE SIX TO DEATH
- CITY TO ADD TWELVE FOOT COPS
- BUILDINGS SWAY FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO LA
- HE FOUND GOD AT THE END OF HIS ROPE
- NONSWIMMER DROWNS A HERO
Well, I thought they were funny, anyway.