Ed Keer edkeer at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 14 18:34:59 UTC 2006

The auto/Otto pun was also used in the movie _Repo Man_. The main character was named Otto and the story revolved around his job as an auto repo man.

----- Original Message ----
From: Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 10:51:10 AM
Subject: Re: auto/Otto

There was a similar cot/caught-motivated pun on _Buffy The Vampire Slayer_
years ago in which one of the characters named Dawn was teasingly called
"Dawn Corleone".

We might expect things like "Otto's Autos" in Canada (and elsewhere) where
the merger is well established and people are generally unaware that there's
anything unusual about it. Do we find similar examples in pin/pen territory?
Is there a jewelry store called "Jim's Gems" somewhere in the South? My
sense is that there is, among some folks who have it, a little more
awareness of the pin/pen merger than we find with the cot/caught merger. If
so, we might be less likely to see it being played up in commercial
contexts. Just a guess.

On 12/13/06 9:08 AM, "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at MSU.EDU> wrote:

> 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)
> dInIs
>> ---------------------- 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.
>> --Charlie
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