Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has become THE place to go to for collaboratively written articles on all sorts of subject matter. 17 million articles to be exact, according to Wikipedia’s entry of Wikipedia. And within this ever-growing glut of information you’re bound to find a few odd gems which this occasional column will unearth and present.
So, here’s the first entry of WikiTreats, “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo,” that reveals how crazy and badass the English language can be.
“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” is a grammatically valid sentence in the English language, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs.
The sentence is unpunctuated and uses three different readings of the word “buffalo”. In order of their first use, these are
a. the city of Buffalo, New York, which is used as a noun adjunct in the sentence and is followed by the animal;
n. the noun buffalo, an animal, in the plural (equivalent to “buffaloes” or “buffalos”), in order to avoid articles;
v. the verb “buffalo” meaning to bully, confuse, deceive, or intimidate.