Buffalo x8

"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. It has been discussed in literature since 1972 when the sentence was used by William J. Rapaport, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo.[1] It was posted to Linguist List by Rapaport in 1992.[2] It was also featured in Steven Pinker's 1994 book The Language Instinct.



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.
Marking each "buffalo" with its use as shown above gives you:
Buffaloa buffalon Buffaloa buffalon buffalov buffalov Buffaloa buffalon.
Thus, the sentence when parsed reads as a description of the pecking order in the social hierarchy of buffaloes living in Buffalo:
  • [Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [whom] (Buffalo buffalo) buffalo, buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).
  • [Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.
  • Bison from Buffalo, New York, who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community.
  • THE buffalo FROM Buffalo WHO ARE buffaloed BY buffalo FROM Buffalo ALSO buffalo THE buffalo FROM Buffalo.
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