Friday, August 12

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." 

Believe it or not, this sentence is 'grammatically valid' in the English language.  It's an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constucts.  It's been discussed ever since William J. Report, professor at the University of Buffalo (funnily enough) used it in 1972. 

The sentence contains no punctuation and uses three different meanings of the word "buffalo" to make any sense.  The three meanings are:

1.  Buffalo - the city of Buffalo, New York in the United States (used as a noun adjunct)

2.  buffalo - the animal (used as a noun)

3.  buffalo - to bully, confuse, deceive, or intimidate (used obviously as a verb)
In the sentence, the "buffalo"s are used thus:

Buffalo (1) buffalo (2) Buffalo (1) buffalo (2) buffalo (3) buffalo (3) Buffalo (1) buffalo (2).
So theoretically, the sentence when 'parsed' reads thus:

In the city of Buffalo, bison who are intimidated or bullied by bison are themselves intimidating or bullying to bison.

Does this make any sense?  Ahhhh.....  Not really.  But it's infinitely cool. 


1 comment:

  1. That is the awesomest thing I've read this month! :D English may be a bottom-feeder but it tends to accumulate the coolest stuff.


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