09 February 2014

Banana Joke

A couple of days ago, I heard this joke on the local radio station, Pelangi FM:

Q: What did the banana say to the doctor?
A: I'm not peeling too well.

I guess that only really works in places such as Brunei where /p/ and /f/ tend to be merged. In fact, there was originally no /f/ in Malay, so words borrowed from Arabic that begin with /f/, such as faham ('understand'), tend to be pronounced with a /p/ at the start: paham.

The opposite process can occur, probably as a form of over-compensation. When my wife was learning to drive here, she had to attend some initial classes, and the only thing she remembers from them was when the teacher said:

When you are parking, be careful.

Unfortunately, he used a short vowel in the first syllable of parking, and the initial sound was pronounced as /f/, so it didn't come out as intended.