1. A: What's a baby pig called?
    B: A piglet.
    A: So what's a baby toy called?
    B: A toylet.

  2. Tom: Mike has asked me for a loan of five pounds. Should I be doing right in lending it to him?
    Jack: Certainly.
    Tom: Why?
    Jack: Because otherwise he would try to borrow it from you.

Fun as they are, which linguistic terms are involved?

  • 4
    "discuss in linguistic terms ..."? This sounds like a class assignment question.
    – prash
    Oct 20 '13 at 15:44
  • 1
    Stack Exchange is not a platform for "discussing". It's for getting specific correct answers to specific questions. It looks like your question body is more focussed though so please reword your question title. Oct 20 '13 at 16:12
  • all right, i'll handle it. Oct 24 '13 at 15:14
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about something other than linguistics. Oct 25 '13 at 3:26
  • Absolutely this is something about linguistics. Actually it is a question in an examination. The second one is really a hard nut to crack and that's why i came here for help. Oct 27 '13 at 8:20

Well, in the first joke the -let suffix in "piglet" is not fully productive, meaning that it cannot be reliably applied to all relevant nouns to give the meaning of "a baby-aged or small version of X". Here, the joke assumes that -let is a fully productive suffix, and the result when applied to "toy" is the word for the thing we shit into, so...

However when "baby" is applied attributively to "toy" it means "a toy for babies", not "a young/small toy", so I'm not sure the joke totally works.

I don't get the second joke...

  • Thanks for your answer. For the first one I guess it can be called "overgeneralization", am I right? Oct 21 '13 at 12:27
  • I don't get the second joke either, but English is not my mother tongue so ...
    – Ugo
    Oct 21 '13 at 21:56
  • The second joke is about the difference between "lending a loan of money" and "lending money". Does that tickle your interest! :)
    – evonya
    Oct 22 '13 at 21:08
  • Yeah, i got it but the problem is how to tackle it in terms of linguistics. Oct 27 '13 at 8:25

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