[Ads-l] A linguistic lesson in diversity and tolerance

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Mon Sep 5 13:30:38 EDT 2016

I suspected it had a long and well-documented provenance, but I anticipated that others would do the research.


      From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
 Sent: Monday, September 5, 2016 12:45 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] A linguistic lesson in diversity and tolerance
Here is a version of the joke in "Boys' Life" in 1962.

Date: February 1962
Periodical: Boys' Life
Article: Think and Grin
Quote Page 78, Column 3
Publisher: Boy Scouts of America, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Database: Google Books Full View


[Begin excerpt]
Two sheep were grazing in a field.
The first sheep said to the second, "BA-AAA."
The second replied, "MOOO."
The first said "Whaddaya mean, MOOO?"
The second replied "I'm studying a foreign language!"—James Johnson,
Madison. N.J.
[End excerpt]

There are also matches for the "two sheep" version of the joke in and
"Co-operative Digest: The National Magazine of Agricultural
Cooperation" with an uncertain GB year of 1961 and "The Poultry
Farmer" with an uncertain GB year of 1962.


On Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 11:46 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> On Sep 5, 2016, at 11:09 AM, Margaret E. Winters <mewinters at WAYNE.EDU> wrote:
>> The version we used to tell (I started my career teaching French) was a cat and a dog -- still a good story!
> In fact I remember buying a notebook (I believe on the Boul' Mich' in Paris in the early 1960s) whose inside cover had a cartoon depicting a cat and dog and a corresponding caption that translates as "It pays to learn a new language", although I forget whether the cat says this to the dog after it barks to scare away some other beast or whether it was one cat saying it to another cat after barking to scare away a dog or to trick a goldfish.  Ah, where did those brain cells disappear to?
> LH
>> ----------------------------
>> On Leave
>> Office of the Provost
>> Wayne State University
>> Detroit, MI  48202
>> mewinters at wayne.edu
>> ________________________________
>> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET>
>> Sent: Sunday, September 4, 2016 9:54:41 PM
>> Subject: A linguistic lesson in diversity and tolerance
>> Two sheep meet in a meadow.
>> The first one greets the other with "Baaaaa."
>> The second one replies "Moooo."
>> Sheep 1:  "Sheep don't say 'Moooo,' they say 'Baaaaa'."
>> Sheep 2:  "No, I say 'Moooo'; I'm studying a foreign language and culture."
>> (I think this would make a neat lesson for, say, third-graders.)
>> Joel


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