LINGUIST List 4.835

Wed 13 Oct 1993

FYI: Linguistic Survey, Humor

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  1. , request for opinions
  2. AHARRIS - Alan Harris, for your amusement

Message 1: request for opinions

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1993 12:08:12 request for opinions
From: <CL136609ULKYVX.bitnet>
Subject: request for opinions

I'm doing a project for my linguistics class --yup, it's a (relatively fun)
no-brainer, for which I would appreciate your personal response:

Imagine you are sitting in a room with a pleasant but not really close person
(an acquaintance), age and gender unknown for the moment. The room is in
fact quite cool, and you are in fact closest to the door (and closing the door
would in fact raise the temperature in the room). So, from the following
choices, which would you (1) expect to hear (2) act upon most expeditiously?
Also, (3) which request would noticeably surprise you or strike you as
sarcastic? (Of course, the sentences are spoken with no confusing emotional
overtones, except perhaps for #4.)

1. Please shut that door.
2. Excuse me, could you please shut that door?
3. Shut that door.
4. Are we heating the entire outdoors?
5. Could you please shut that door?
6. Excuse me, could you please shut that door, if you don't mind?

Now, this (virtual) person is either 20ish, 40ish, and 60ish--either male or
female. We're almost done here: I need answers to the above questions for
each category. I suggest a grid, e.g.:

 20ish 40ish 60ish

M 2



along wth any comments you might wish to share. More than one answer would be
acceptable, especially for question 3.

Then I need YOUR age and gender. If you would like a total tabulation,
please mention, and you shall receive. Thank you, thank you.

Obsequiously yours, Diane Campbell
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Message 2: for your amusement

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1993 7:17:05 -for your amusement
From: AHARRIS - Alan Harris <VCSPC005VAX.CSUN.EDU>
Subject: for your amusement


 [source unknown, looks like Steven Wright//via Haj Ross and Alan Harris]

 Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

 Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

 Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?

 Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

 Why is brassiere singular and panties plural?

 Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a
 shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

 Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you
 turn down the volume on the radio?

 Do you need a silencer if you are going to shoot a mime?

 Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

 If 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there
 locks on the doors?
 [And why do they call it 7-11?]

 If buttered toast always lands butter side down and a cat always lands
 on its feet, what would happen if you tied a piece of buttered toast
 to the back of a cat and dropped it?

 You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes,
 why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?

Alan C. Harris, Ph. D. telno: off:
Professor, Communication/Linguistics 818-885-2853/2874
Speech Communication Department hm:
California State University, Northridge 818-780-8872
SPCH CSUN fax: 818-885-2663
Northridge, CA 91330

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