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A Linguist Joke I Don't Get

I have read the following joke online: "How many linguists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but he/she (politically correct) must consult the Oxford English Dictionary."

Call me unintelligent, but I honestly don't get it. If you do, do you mind explaining it to me? It doesn't matter if it ruins the humor. I really just want to know what I'm missing.


  1. I'm with you - I hear only crickets in the background after the telling of this joke. The next step is to try to figure out why someone thought it was funny. Perhaps is means that a linguist must consult an authority on language before doing anything?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'll try that again ... after hitting "post comment," I saw that my reply was grammatically flawed! :-(

    I think Charles is right in his comment. I thought about the "joke" for a while before reading the comment. I came up with the same thought - that linguists would tend to run to the OED to make sure they're right. What that has to do with changing a light bulb is not clear.

  4. I hereby extend a blanket pardon to all grammatical flaws committed on my blog.

    Thanks for the insight--I am glad to see that I'm not the only one struggling to relate a light bulb to the OED.

  5. As an afterthought, if anyone does come across or create a GOOD how-many-linguists-does-it-take-to-change-a-light-bulb joke, I want to be the first to hear it!


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