Non-English speaking Dopers: does the "my dog has no nose, how does it smell? Awful" joke work....

It wouldn’t work in Korean. We have different words for smell (as in, I smell smoke) and smell (as in, I smell bad).

Incidentally, seeing the word smell repeated so many times has convinced me it’s not actually a real word.

It *could *work in colloquial Hebrew, although using “מריח” to mean “smells” in the sense of having an odor is almost certainly non-grammatical, and probably not quite “acceptable” (i.e., slang/colloquialism that doesn’t mark you as “declasse”) yet, either.
However, this usage is becoming more and more accepted. If you can hold on to the thought for another decade or so, I’m sure it will be absolutely fine by then! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

Wouldn’t work in Finnish. “Miten se haistaa?” = How does he perceive odors, “Miltä se haisee?” = What does he smell like.

And in Swedish.

It doesn’t work in Afrikaans: My hond het geen neus nie. Hoe ruik hy?Verskriklik!

Hoe ruik hy?(how does he smell?)
Watter reuk het hy(What smell does he have)
The two words are close, but not the same. The verb is homophonous with English “rake”, the noun rhymes more with “jerk”, I guess.

Awwww, you beat me to it. But yes, puns don’t really translate all that well.

This joke works in Australian Sign Language (Auslan), I think. I’ll have to check with my teacher. It seems a bit weird, but it’s a bit weird in English, too.

Doesn’t work in Bulgarian.

Mijn hond heeft geen neus,
Hoe ruikt hij dan?

Works in Dutch

It doesn’t work in Esperanto. To detect odor is “flari,” to have an odor is “odori” (there’s also a verb “fetori,” to stink, but you can simply say “malbone odori” (smell bad) or the like).

Jokes in general – I wouldn’t say they never translate; I frequently am able to tell English-language jokes in French that francophones enjoy – but besides being culturally dependent the language problems have been noted. Translators are often called upon to come up with something that works, whether in a literary or practical (e.g. advertising, House of Commons debates) translation.

Sample equivalent: the joke about “please send me one mongoose, and then send me another mongoose” has an exact equivalent in French except that the animal in question is un chacal (a jackal), whose plural could be chacals or (incorrectly, but plausibly, like “mongeese”) chacaux. A more distant cousin, but in the same order of ideas, is a Russian joke regarding the appropriate declension of kocherga, “fireplace poker,” a notoriously irregular noun that nobody can remember the right case to use if you have five or more of them, and the solution is (like the mongoose joke) order two and then three of them, using an easier declension.

ETA: Here’s the “kocherga” joke.

Actually, they have a clip of Hitler telling that joke at a rally in the BBC documentary “And Now for Something Completely Different”. I think it was an example of the second-funniest joke in the world.

I should point out that there are puns in Hindi. My favorite:

What do you call a lonely banana?

You see, “Akela” means alone, and “kela” means banana, and “a kela” would mean “a banana”…

yeah. You get the gist.

It works in Latin. Olfacere means either to cause or to detect an odor.

Nūllum nāsum canis meus habet.
Quōmodo olfacit?

“Call me a taxi” doesn’t quite work, because although vocare can mean “to summon” or “to name” the pronoun would necessarily be in distinct cases.

However, in Latin the word iūs meaning ‘law’ is indistinguishable except in context from iūs meaning meaning ‘broth or gravy’. There’s got to be a pun in there somewhere.

Maybe a variation of “Another fine stwe you’ve gotten us into, Ollie”. Pull back to reveal jail bars.

And “Romanus Eunt Domum” does not mean “Romans go home”, I saw that once too.

Works in Bosnian :slight_smile:

  • Moj pas nema nos.
  • Kako mirise?
  • Odvratno!