Buffalo fuckers buffalo fuckers buffalo fuckers buffalo

The title of this post is a coherent, grammatical sentence.

If you like having fun with English, you will sooner or later meet several versions of a long sentence made entirely of the word buffalo that show four facts of English:

  1. We can often convert words from one class to another – noun to verb or vice versa, for example – without changing them, as in converting the noun buffalo to the verb buffalo (linguists call this zero derivation);
  2. We can use nouns as modifiers in place of adjectives without changing them, as in using the place name Buffalo to mean ‘from Buffalo’;
  3. Some nouns don’t change form in the plural, either (buffalo being one);
  4. We can omit relativizers such as that, as in “buffalo buffalo buffalo” in place of “buffalo that buffalo buffalo.”

So OK fine. Buffalo. Who gives a fuck about buffalo? Hairy humpbacked ungulates. Look, I grew up near a bunch of bison that people called buffalo, and they were nothing all that special. Truculent humpbacked bearded beasts. Didn’t taste as good as beef either. Tough fuckers.

What words are really famously versatile in English? Swearwords. Of course. The sentence “Fuck off, you fucking fuck” gives a hint of the matter. It also shows, on the other hand, two ripostes to the above: Continue reading