July 29, 2007

Jokes! 3

Answer time again. Today's jokes are jokes with a twist. They ask you one thing, but the answer appears unrelated, unless you get the hidden meaning. In three of them, the answer is based on a double meaning of a word in the setup. In one (#3), it's a "non-joke"--that is, the punchline is an obvious answer. When compared with English jokes, these are pretty standard joke strategies, and #3 translates just fine into English, because there's no wordplay involved. Let's get right to it:

Q: นกแก้วกับนกขุนทองเกาะอยู่ที่ไหน
Parrots and myna birds--where do they perch?
เกาะอยู่กลางน้ำ มีน้ำล้อมรอบ
An island is in the middle of the sea; it has water all around it.
The double meaning here is เกาะ, which means (with respect to birds) "to perch," but also means "island." There's a bit of grammatical trickery going on. The alternate meaning of the joke is actually a non sequitur: Parrots and myna birds--where are islands located? So until you get this second meaning, the answer to the joke also appears to be a non sequitur.

Q: น้ำอะไรเอ่ยผู้ชายไม่ชอบ
What kind of water do men dislike?
A face like yours.
In this joke, น้ำ "water" is also a blanket term for any kind of liquid, so you could translate the setup as What kind of liquid do men dislike?, too. The key word in the punchline is น้ำหน้า, which is an elaborate alliterative term meaning the same thing as หน้า: face, but น้ำหน้า is only used derisively. Besides the meaning of water,
น้ำ has another (inferred) meaning of "essence", which is seen in words like น้ำหน้า and น้ำใจ. You could also simply argue that in น้ำหน้า, the word น้ำ is just an alliterative nonce. Either way, the twist of this joke is that the answer has nothing to do with liquid, like the setup leads you to believe it will. Rather, it's an insult directed at the listener. Be careful who you use this one on. :)

Q: ล้างจานยังไงมือไม่เปียก
How do you wash dishes so your hands don't get wet?
When you're done eating, leave them for Mom to wash.
The answer is obvious; but the joke is that it's not the most obvious answer. By presenting the question as a joke, the listener tries to think of a more clever answer than "wear gloves," which is the "real" answer to this question. For this joke, the fact that it's a non-joke is what makes it funny. Bait and switch.

Q: อะไรเอ่ยยิ่งใหญ่ยิ่งขนเยอะ
What is it--the larger it gets, the hairier it is?
A freight truck.
This joke is based on the double meaning of ขน, which means "hair" (more specifically animal hair or human body hair--though it also refers to a bird's feathers) and "to haul" or transport, like you do with a truck. So the alternate meaning of the setup is, "What is it--the larger it gets, the more it hauls?" Naturally, the larger the freight truck, the more it hauls.

Ready for more? Let's try five this time:

Q: ซุปอะไรมีสารอาหารครบทุกหมู่

Q: มีเงิน 20 บาท ให้น้องยี่สิบบาท จะเหลือเงินกี่บาท

Q: ขี่ช้างจับอะไร

Q: ยาอะไรใช้รักษาคนไม่ได้

Q: มีเงิน 15 บาท ไปซื้อขนมราคา 4.50 บาท จะได้เงินทอนเท่าไหร่


  1. Thanks for the jokes and the explanations. I found the jokes mildly amusing, but the explanations very interesting and informative. When my girlfriend called me and asked me the ritual "ทำอะไรอยู่?", I read the jokes to her and she cracked up laughing.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.