Andrey (azangru) wrote,

Some of the jokes told by Soviet citizens can, with just a little adjustment, even speak to our country’s current predicament. How about this one, about empty shelves in shops:

A customer walks into a shop and asks: ‘Does this shop have any fish?’

The sales assistant replies: ‘No. This is the shop that doesn’t have any meat. The shop that doesn’t have any fish is next door!’

(From an article by Jonathan Waterlow, who wrote a book on Soviet jokes during the time of Stalin)

This joke, at least in the way it is translated, doesn’t really work in English the way it does in Russian. The transition between the two lines in the dialog is too abrupt, too unmotivated. The Russian joke works because of the negation in the question («У вас нет рыбы/мяса?»). I don't know whether there is a natural way to express this in English. "You don’t happen to have any fish, do you" is probably the closest that comes to mind, but how natural is it coming from a customer?

  • (no subject)

    Course description: In today's business world there are massive goals around diversity and inclusion and you are empowered to lead the way as…

  • Via Reddit

    I didn't know what the operation game was, so I looked it up. The guy, indeed, is clearly awake: I only learnt about charlie horse from King's…

  • (no subject)

    Listened to a talk from YCombinator's Startup School 2013: The tone of the talk is very different from the the tone that's typically employed…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.