Friday, August 30, 2013


Catenation with Jokes!

I like to protect my iPhone:
Justin case

 I love connected speech. I love making English easier to hear (and pronounce naturally) and I think that connected speech is a big part of that. This blog won’t really discuss the whys of connected speech, rather it will cover one type of connected speech and give jokes that show it off. 

Catenation is something I talked about briefly in a different blog post on elision and jokes. This is essentially when the last consonant of the first word is joined to the first vowel of the next word. I took a little liberty with this definition when selecting my jokes; to be honest most of these are examples of other areas of blended speech. However, I think you'll see the main idea is there. This is very very common in English, and can be very confusing for students when listening. For example when saying, "Just in case" some speakers may hear, "Justin case."

I think that we can show catenation in two different ways. First by showing examples of jokes where we see that words have blended together
Who's there?
This work by Phillip Martin is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Ketchup. Ketchup who? Ketchup and I’ll tell you
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Issabelle. Isabelle who? Is a bell working?
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Haden. Haden who? Haden seek isn’t fair when you lock the door!
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Seymour. Seymour who? Seymour of me if you just opened the door.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Gopher. Gopher who? Gopher help! Your house is under attack.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Europe. Europe who? Europe to no good with all these questions.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Eileen. Eileen who? Eileen down bang my head on your door and all you do is ask, “Who’s there.”
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Icy. Icy who? Icy you through the crack; let me in!
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Isabelle. Isabelle who? Isabelle not needed on your door?
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Doris. Doris who? Doris stuck –let me in.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Albie. Albie who? Albie back I forgot something.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Phillip. Phillip who? Phillip my candy bag or I’ll never stop trick or treating here.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Leena. Leena who? Leena little forward and you can see me in the peephole.
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Mikey. Mikey who? Mikey is not working can you let me in?
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Watson. Watson who? Watson your TV right now that prevents you from opening the door?
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Albie. Albie who? Albie explaining later.
If you have an aversion to knock knock jokes don't worry! Lots of other jokes work too:
Mr. & Mrs. Hippie!
  • What’s the difference between a piano and a fish? You can’t tuna fish.
  • What do you call a hippie’s wife? Mississippi.
  • Why did everyone like the mushroom? He was a fungi.
  • What did the mother buffalo say when her son left? Bison.
  • Why did the chef stop making spaghetti? He pasta way.  
We can also have longer jokes if you want to use the joke to introduce new vocabulary or work on verb tenses
  • A magazine published that Cleopatra used to have a milk bath every day. to prevent the effects of aging. She quickly paid a visit to her local dairy and asked for enough milk to fill up a bathtub. The man was used to all sorts of requests so he just asked, “Do you want it pasteurized” and she replied, “No, just to my chest I think I can splash my face.”

The other way I think we can show catenation is by using jokes that take a word usually is one word but dividing it into two or more different words. This shows that even when we try to pronounce two words separately they often end up sounding like one word. For example:
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Ben. Ben who? Ben dover so I can kick you for making me wait in the cold.   
  • Knock Knock. Who’s there? Norma Lee. Norma Lee who? Norma Lee I don’t make a habit of knocking on doors, but I really need to see you.
  • Why won’t you starve in the desert? Because of all the sand which is there. 
  • What do ghosts serve for dessert? Ice Cream 
  • Where did Noah store the fish with wheels? In the carp ark.
  • What makes the three eared alien similar to star trek? It has the left ear, the right ear, and the final front ear.
  • Two peanuts walked into a bar. One was a salted.   
  • A termite walks into a bar and asks, “Is the bar tender here.”   
  • What do you call a camel with a flat back? Hump free!   
  • Who made the best prehistoric clothes? A dino sewer.
As with the last category this one can also have longer jokes. These two were both originally "Walks into a bar" jokes. I changed one so it could be used without the bar (not appropriate for all cultures) For example:
*If you are the owner of this graphic please let me know
so I can attribute it or remove it per your request.
  • A young boy comes to school every day with a lizard on his shoulder. Everyday the students point and stare but no one ever asks him about it. Finally one girl walks up and asks him, "What's your lizards name." He responds, "Tiny." The girl stands in silence before pushing the topic further, "Why do you call him Tiny?" The boy smiles and proudly responds, "Because he's my newt."
  • A string walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’m sorry but we don't serve strings here.” He goes outside, messes with his hair and tangles his body into a knot. He walks back into the bar and the bartender looks at him, “Hey aren’t you the string I just kicked out of here?” The string responds, “No, I am a frayed not.”

Even if you thought these jokes were lame, I am willing to bet that you cracked a smile at least once! I highly suggest you find a way to work jokes into your lesson. You can always adapt them to fit your topic, use them as an ice breaker, let students find new ones online etc. If you ever use any of these in class (or have a few more you think fit this category) let me know!

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