From StevenPinker?'s The Language Instinct: "There is even structure in seemingly nonsensical lists of words. For example this fiendish string devised by my student Annie Senghas is a grammatical sentence:
	Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
American bison are called buffalo. A kind of bison that comes from Buffalo, New York, could be called a Buffalo buffalo. Recall that there is a verb to buffalo that means "to overwhelm, to intimidate." Imagine that New York State bison intimidate one another: (The) Buffalo buffalo (that) Buffalo buffalo (often) buffalo (in turn) buffalo (other) Buffalo buffalo" (208).
I officially question the worthwhileness of this node. --RichardGarfinkel

Ditto. Especially because I just spent an entire frickin' summer in Buffalo (the city). --JulieWortman

It should be at least noted that any sentence consisting of "Buffalo( buffalo)^n." is a valid english sentence for all n, and the city name definition isn't needed. The only other known sentence group like this in english is "Quine( quine)^n." Has something to do with how verbs that take an object conjugate. You need a verb, which is also a noun, that doesnt conjugate to take an object. --NickJohnson

You know, I think I've actually run into this before, but only because I know a crazy linguistics professor... - MicahLamdin

There's even a wikipedia page for it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo_buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo - BenJencks

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Last edited June 18, 2007 22:06 (diff)