Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Feb 10 01:39:48 UTC 2000

This response is a mystery to me. If they are merged, the pun (if there is
one there) should be clear (merging leads to clarity for once!); if they
are not merged, the pun might be missed. For example, fresh up from
Louisville, I didn't get the very old racist Native American joke (when it
was told to me in Madison, WI) about a tribe named the "Fugawi" because the
punch-line is "Where the Fugawi" which must be "misunderstood" as "We're
the Fugawi." Since I'm a hw-w distinguisher, I didn't get it. (I know,
friends will immediately tell the list there are other reasons In didn't
get it, but you can ignore them.)

dInIs (who still distinguishes whale-wail, which-witch, after all these
years but notices that his nieces and nephews in Lousville don't anymore;
the language really is going to hell in a handbasket after all! Plato

>It's precisely your (and my) differentiation of the two sounds that makes
>this a pun.  If you merged the two vowels, it wouldn't be a pun for
>you--just a new instance of homophony.  Or maybe it would be what might be
>called an "orthographic pun."  (Is there a word for that?  Here we go
>Anyway, thanks for answering my question.
>Peter Mc.
>--On Wed, Feb 9, 2000 4:09 PM -0700 David Bowie <db.list at BYU.EDU> wrote:
>> so it seems to be a pun on
>> "ostracism".
>> Of course, i don't merge "cot" and "caught", so it's not a perfect pun to
>> my ears...
>                               Peter A. McGraw
>                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
>                            pmcgraw at

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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