Thursday, January 4, 2018

What's the Fun in a Pun?

Day 117 of My Italian Learning Journal*

One often hears that having a good laugh is not only good in itself, but also good for you. The use of puns is one way to instill humor in appropriate situations. This evening I wondered if there is an Italian word for the English word "pun." pun is a play on words with a humorous effect. Puns can range from the childish to the witty. In the cartoon at right, the yellow book says it had its "appendix" removed. A book may have an appendix of references, while a person can have an appendix attached to the large intestine -- but each has a different type of an appendix. Typically, a good pun is quick and simple. What's interesting is that some persons "get" the joke while others do not, or get it much later. Does this type of humor translate into Italian? Below I'll attempt to make some translations. I hope a few readers who are fluent in Italian will contribute to the Comments with a few Italian puns. Grazie.

Ascolta Questo:
  • Un pun è uno scherzo che gioca sulle parole.
    A pun is a joke that plays on words.
  • Mi chiedo se ci sono scherzo di parole in italiano?
    I wonder if there are puns in Italian?
  • Questa è una domanda che cercherò di perseguire.
    That is a question I will pursue.
  • Ecco un pun: Perché il banana andare dal medico? Egli non ha "buccia" bene. ("buccia" = "sentirsi")
    Here's a pun: Why did banana go to the doctor? He did not "peel" well. ("peel" = "feel")
  • Eccone un altro: I due pianisti avevano un buon matrimonio perché erano sempre in accordo. (in armonia = in accordo)
    Here's another one: The two pianists had a good marriage because they always were in a chord. (in a chord = in accord)
Freddura from reader . . .
  • “Cosa fanno otto cani in mare? Un canotto (can-otto).” - stef_55

Alla prossima!

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*Note: This is my personal journal of daily practice in learning Italian. I welcome Italian grammar corrections. Grazie.


  1. Hello Ted

    Si anche in italiano abbiamo molti "pun" giochi di parole, alcuni esempi.
    Yes, even in Italian we have many "pun" word games, some examples:
    Se la cicala cicaleggia il gallo galleggia? (verbo galleggiare)
    If the cicada buzzes the rooster floats? (floating verb)
    Le galline terrorizzate fanno le uova alla shock? (choc)
    Terrified hens lay eggs at the shock?
    All’opera bisogna andarci con un vestito intonato? (essere intonato)
    At work you have to go there with a matching dress? (being intoned)
    Il poliziotto che si da’ delle arie diventa un agente atmosferico?
    The policeman who gives himself air becomes an atmospheric agent?
    Sciopero al castello: il conte è sull'orlo di una crisi di servi (nervi).
    Strike at the castle: the count is on the verge of a crisis of servants (nerves).
    Nel tram tram quotidiano si incontrano tante persone. (tram tram = routine)
    Many people meet in the tram tram daily. (tram tram = routine)
    Accettiamo risposte scontate solo in periodo di saldi. (scontate = ovvie)
    We accept discounted responses only during the sales period. (discounted = obvious).

    To understand the "pun" and the double meaning, however, one must know the language very well.

    Same corrections

    - Mi chiedo se ci sono scherzi* di parole in italiano?
    * "ci sono" is plural so "scherzi"
    - Questa è una domanda che cercherò di approfondire*.
    * in this sentence "pursue" means "discuss further/examine in depth"
    - Ecco un pun: Perché la banana (feminine)va dal medico? Lei non ha "buccia" bene. ("buccia" = "sentirsi")*
    * this "pun" an Italian would not understand it.
    - Eccone un altro: I due pianisti avevano un buon matrimonio perché erano sempre in accordo. (in armonia = in accordo)*
    * this, however, even an Italian would understand it.

    Buona giornata

    1. Mik, I definitely agree about needing to know a language well to understand the play on words. I think a person also has to be in a frame of mind to make the verbal connections. Some mental maturity is needed as well. Yet, there are lots of puns children can understand and enjoy. I had to think and rethink the "freddura" that was contributed and that I added to my post. Buona notte. ~Ted


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