Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Wed Dec 13 15:08:18 UTC 2006

In Alberta somewhere I saw a car lot named Otto's Autos. Since I am a
speaker of Standard English, it took me a bit to get the joke too.

I also remember way back in foreign language teaching when the
oral/aural method was touted, and, again, someone had to explain to
me that it was funy that they sounded the same; of course; they don't
for those of us who care about the language (no more than for-four or
horse-hoarse do)


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
>Subject:      auto/Otto
>Last night on NCIS (CBS-TV), the murderer was an AI-operated robotic
>car named Otto.  My wife had to explain the joke to me, since it
>never occurred that "Otto" and "auto" would be pronounced alike.
>Once I grasped the joke, however, it seemed pretty funny:  ANY car
>(of course) is an auto, but Otto was an auto auto.
>The American Dialect Society -

It should be the chief aim of a university professor to exhibit
himself in his own true character - that is, as an ignorant man [sic]
thinking, actively utilizing his small share of knowledge. Alfred
North Whitehead

There are many different religions in this world, but if you look at
them carefully, you'll see that they all have one thing in common:
They were invented by a giant, superintelligent slug named Dennis.
Homer Simpson

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15-C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1036
Phone: (517) 353-4736
Fax: (517) 353-3755
preston at

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list