Camouflage Pun

As we’ve discussed on previous shows, one difficult aspect of learning a second language is adapting to humor that involves plays on words. They are also called puns.  The appropriate way to receive a pun when it is told is to pretend you didn’t think it was funny.  You may stare at the pun-teller or even let out a groan (unnnhh!).  We don’t want to give punsters credit for clever wordplay, but usually we end up smiling or even laughing.  Here is a clever wordplay that most Americans would chuckle over.  The question: is it funny to you?

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn’t find any. 

What's So Funny?

Do you know about camouflage clothing?  Those clothes are worn by hunters or soldiers who want to blend in with their surroundings in order to stay unseen.  

 Here, a soldier wears camouflage gear and applies camo paint to his face. (source: Wikipedia)

Here, a soldier wears camouflage gear and applies camo paint to his face. (source: Wikipedia)

This joke also involves a common shopping expression, "to find," which means to locate for purchase. The joke here means that the camouflage pants blended in with their environment that you were unable to see them (which is the normal purpose of camouflage clothing).

 camouflage pants (for sale at macys.com)

camouflage pants (for sale at macys.com)

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.