oi53. tinypic. com/33ayv60. jpg
(it doesn't let me post images, so paste the above into your address bar and remove the spaces.)
This is a direct translation of a swedish comic strip, and as you can see it does not work in English in its current state. The point of the joke revolves around the son's innocent question of what a rave (as in a rave party) is, and the dad's way of dodging the question.
The main point of the joke is an impossible to translate pun. In Swedish, a fox is called a "räv" (the ä is pronounced like the a in carry), and a direct anglification of the word räv's pronounciation would sound very much like "rave", at least in the way a Swede would do it. Kind of like smorgasbord in English vs the pronounciation of the original Swedish word, smörgåsbord (the ö is pronounced like the vowel sound in earn, the å like the vowel sound in fore, and the o like the oo in tool).
In other words, the father tries to preserve his little boy's innocency by telling him the white lie that a "rave" is just a räv (fox) in English. When the boy asks how his father can be so wise, he answers that it is as simple as "just staying alert" because then you "pick up a thing or two", making it even more funny (I hope my translation of that sentence sounds correct in English).
What I am wondering is if anyone knows/could come up with a similar/any pun that makes the strip funny in English. It can of course be around some completely different words, but if there is an effective way to preserve the spirit of the joke (the boy innocently asks about a not-so-innocent word, and the dad explains it with a white lie that still would make perfect sense for anybody not knowing the real truth), it would be great! Any suggestions or ideas are much appreciated :) Just ask if my explanation of the strip wasn't good enough!
Last edited by killen001; 09-Nov-2010 at 20:23.
I can't help you out - yet.
I just thought I'd say that the strip is quite amusing as it stands, without any knowledge of the pun intended. It is a dig at the type of parent/adult who would rather give a wrong answer (pretending that it is correct) than admit they don't know.
It is a common practice among beginning teachers of English when asked awkward questions by their students.