Saturday, February 26, 2005

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo.

[Click to enlarge]

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo. To my knowledge, this is the longest grammatically-correct one-word sentence in the English language (though, in the interest of full disclosure, I add that the sentence can theoretically be infinitely lengthened through the sequential addition of three buffalo at a time).

From whence comes this mouthful of buffalo? Its origins are murky, but many a hypothesis has been suggested:
1. Wasted liberal arts majors with time to kill.

2. The incoherent ramblings of a besotted politico, later explained by his press liaison in an effort to bring order to chaos.

3. A random string of eleven words from Webster's Unabridged -- the beauty of this random sequence being found in the truth that there is no way to distinguish between a truly random coincidence and planned subterfuge by the anti-mathematics organization known as Enemies of Mandelbrot.
But I digress.

The mouthful of buffalo, as it has been coined precisely ninety-nine words ago, is grammatically correct, if difficult to parse. Clicking on the thumbnail at top will launch a view of the entire sentence diagram including parts of speech and a loose translation -- but let me not force such hyperlinking on my fine readers; here is the translation:
New York bison New York bison fool fool New York bison New York bison fool.
Not clear yet? Perhaps another example of similar structure; imagine a group of mean dogs that are hated by men, and who then turn upon themselves:
Mean dogs men hate hate mean dogs men hate.
Very simple, right?

I have taken the liberty of creating a shop from which can be purchased many fine items featuring the unadorned and diagrammed sentences; please visit, won't you? It's called BuffaloBuffalo. Impress your language geek friends, make a good impression on your professor, or win over that liberal arts cutie upon whom you've had your eye lately.


Hector Vex said...

Wow. You do have a lot of spare time don't you? I guess you would seeing as it's hard to get a real job using a MAC!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Suck my Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo balls!! Hahahahahahaha!!

Oooh.. I gots to stops with the drinkins!

Novice said...

My baby sister is way to young to get how funny this is. A few years ago (when she was 4) she said that when she had a baby, she was going to name it Buffalo. She then said "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo."


BuffaloBandit said...

I saw your post on my blog and came to check out yours. How pleased was I to see an homage to the Buffalo Bandit when I arrived. It took me a little while to figure out exactly what was going on, but I think I get it. I may have to get myself a t-shirt.