Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Meme Walked Into a Bar, and then another and another...

One of the currently-popular memes adored by language fans involves a spin on "a man walked into a bar" jokes. Of course, I could not resist adding my linguistically-inspired contributions to the meme.

1. A phoneme walks into a /bɑ:r/ because it sounds like fun.
2. A sememe walks into a bar and it is a meaningful occasion.
3. A sememe walks into a bar. The bartender knows what it means.
4. A sign walks into a bar, representing a patron. The bartender knows its context.
5. An endocentric compound walks into a barroom, sits on a barstool, orders a well drink and starts a barroom brawl.
6. An exocentric compound walks into a barfly.
7. A dvanda compound walks into a bar-restaurant.
8. A morpheme walks into bars.
9. A reduplication walks into a barbar.
10. A cranberry morpheme walks into a tav.
11. A back clip walks into a pub.
12. Two suffixes walk into a drinkery.
13. A simile walks into something like a bar.
14. A second guess walks into a bar wondering if it would have been better to go to a different bar.
15. A complementizer walks into a bar because it likes the structure.

Thank you to mentallyincompetent for providing the perfect image to go with this post.

I believe this meme got its start with the McSweeney's post by Erik K. Auld titled SEVEN BAR JOKES INVOLVING GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION.

1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
2. A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave.
3. A question mark walks into a bar?
4. Two quotation marks “walk into” a bar.
5. A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.
6. The bar was walked into by the passive voice.
7. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.

And then The Stroppy Editor contributed his take on the meme with a post titled Jokes are barred.

-A subject and a verb disagrees about which bar to walk into.
-An Oxford comma hops, skips, and jumps into a bar.
-A pleonasm enters into a bar.
-The subjunctive would walk into a bar, were it in the mood.
-A hyphen, drunk after leaving the bar, mistakenly walks-into a phrasal verb.
-A colon and a semicolon walk into a bar: the colon has a gutful; the semicolon orders a half.
-A syllepsis walks out on its wife and into a bar.
-A gang of commas walk into a bar and order everything on the menu.
-A prescriptivist walks into a tavern, because of course ‘bar’ means the counter at which drink is served rather than the establishment itself. He wonders why nobody else is there.
-A meaning walks into a bar and orders a double.
-A portmanteau walks into a barmaid.

Next, I read about the fad on a post titled Into a Bar over at Fritinancy, who mentioned there is also a Google group with ongoing discussions and contributions to the meme.

This is so much fun; however, if not for my internet savvy, hip children, I never would have even known what a meme is.

1. An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
2. An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.

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