18 May 2010

Dogs, Buffalo, and Fish and Chips

Here is an exercise in language for you.

Figure out what the following three statements mean, and yes, they are all grammatical English sentences, apparently. Try not to cheat by searching the web for parses.

1) Dogs dogs dog dog dogs.

2) Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

3) The gaps between fish and and and and and chips are unequal.

4) James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

Once you figure these out, then you will learn how valuable intonation and punctuation can be in disambiguating language.

(Palacio de Justicia, from my Bogotá, Colombia Series)


  1. I can't figure it out!

    Although I know intonation is important (from studying Chinese) and I hate people who don't punctuate their sentence properly.

  2. Zhu,

    Oh c'mon! Ok, if you really can't figure it out, go ahead and google it, as I don't want to disclose the answer here yet for others who might try!