Student examples for Assignment 4

Lingustics 19
Assignment 4
Albert Weng
• Zeugma: He lost his coat and temper.
• Bracketing ambiguity: I saw the man walk his dog
with binoculars.
• Grammatical categories: As I was leaving this
morning, I said to myself, "The last thing you must do
is forget your speech." And, sure enough, as I left
the house this morning, the last thing I did was to
forget my speech.
• Original: I told him to throw it right and left.
Devin Shen
• "The farmers in the valley grew potatoes, peanuts,
and bored." (Wunderland)
• "He fished for compliments and for trout."
(Words & Stuff)
• Flying planes can be dangerous. (Wikipedia)
• Original: Milking cows sure be troublesome when you
don't have enough grass.
Maddie Mundorf
Semantic/thematic roles: (?) A man walks into a bar and says
• Bracketing ambiguity:
Joe: “Let’s eat up the street.”
Larry: “No thanks, I don’t like concrete.”
• Original (Grammatical category):My friend Tanner is always the
subject of a lot of jokes because his name is also an adjective, so
for example when he got back from a boating trip where he
spent long days in the sun I told him, “Hey! You’re tanner!”
Hannah Lee
• Structural ambiguity: Did you hear about the blind
carpenter who picked up a hammer and saw?
• Lexical ambiguity: A linguistics professor was lecturing
his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double
negative forms a positive. However, in some languages,
such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative.
But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a
double positive can express a negative." A voice from
the back of the room retorted, "Yeah, right."
• Zeugma: The farmers in the valley grew potatoes,
peanuts, and bored.
• Original: The lazy butcher cut meat and corners.
Carrie Rapaport
• Hierarchal structure from “Mary Poppins”:
“I know a man with a wooden leg named Smith”
“What’s the name of his other leg?”
• Zeugma from Alanis Morrisette’s song, “Head Over
Feet”: “You held your breath and the door for me…”
• Bracketing ambiguity from a “Muppet Show” episode
when Dudley Moore attempts to replace Dr. Teeth’s
Electric Mayhem band with an R2D2-like musical robot:
Dr. Teeth: “Look! It’s a musical garbage can!”
Floyd: “Yeah! Playing some musical garbage!”
• Original: I’ve always found it hysterical when
restaurants post on their marquees “Kids Eat 99 Cents.” I
always think “Wow! I bet that tastes horrible.”
Margaret English
“I need for
"I see," said
the blind carpenter,
to the
be happy“
picked up
saw. raising.
Adverbial clause: “I need a woman in
order (for me) to be happy” with subject
Amy Tam
• Parts of speech: noun (gerund)/adjective (idiom):Jane was a
chronically late employee; it seemed like her career was just
taking off.
• Semantic roles: recipient/patient: The comedian Dick Gregory
tells of walking up to a lunch counter in Mississippi during the
days of racial segregation. The waitress said to him, "We don't
serve colored people." "That's fine," he replied, "I don't eat
colored people. I'd like a piece of chicken."
• Bracketing ambiguity [also submitted by Yiqin Liu]: A cafeteria
sign: Shoes are required to eat in the cafeteria. Socks can eat
any place they want. ([Shoes are required][to eat in the
cafeteria.]/[Shoes are [required to eat] in the cafeteria.])
• Original: A couple of travelers were staying in a barn
overnight. The man told his son, "It's time to hit the hay." The
boy proceeded to smack the hay bales.
Ashley Huang
Abraham Lincoln wrote
the Gettysburg address
while traveling from
Washington to Gettysburg
on the back of an
Original: The missing dog
was found by the mailbox.
Yiqin Liu
• Teacher: “How can you prevent diseases caused
by biting insects?”
“Don't bite any.”
• Q: How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
A: You will never find an elephant that has only one
• Original:
Q: If it took a man ten hours to do a CS lab, how
long would it take three men to write it?
A: No time at all, the lab is already done.
Allison Sanders
Bracketing Ambiguity:
Teacher: Sally, you're pretty dirty.
Sally: Yes; and I'm even prettier when I'm clean.
Original: A young boy was playing in the house while his mother was out
running errands. Despite her previous admonishments to him to "stop
throwing the ball indoors", he amused himself by bouncing his tennis ball
off the walls... until the ball ricocheted off a corner and slammed into a
vase, knocking it off the table. The boy's sister, running at the sound of
the crash, hurried into the living room. "What happened?" she cried. "I
dented the vase in several places," he said, hanging his head in shame.
"Well, I suggest you stop going to those places then," his sister warned,
"especially while mom is gone!"
Davey Wong
• I believe we should all pay our tax bill with a smile. I
tried---- but they wanted cash.
• A hard man is good to find.
• CIA held suspect in secret prison for months.
• Original: It was hard to tell him the joke.
Jesus Salazar
Person 1: Can you make me a hot dog?
Person 2: “Boom! You’re a hot dog!”
Ron Arbel
Want to marry a strong, hard
working man?
Well I'm a buff shoe polisher.
Chase Madorsky
• Zeugma: She looked at the object with suspicion and a
magnifying glass.
• “Commas”: A panda walks into a café. He orders a
sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at
the other patrons.
"Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage,
as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a
badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his
"Well, I'm a panda," he says. "Look it up.”
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure
enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white
bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
• Hierarchical structure: The man became born again for the
second time today in church.
• Original: I drove myself crazy and to the supermarket.

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