Thou shalt have no other gods before the ANSI C standar
Thou shalt have no other gods before the ANSI C standard 1632
Be very carefull... very, very careful. Alcohol and readnews are a dangerous mix. One New Years Eve in '92 or 93 at a party in my house under the influence of a...
Tedious explanation (without spoilers):
"Bratsche" really is the German word for viola (i.e., the alto-sized member of the violin family). "Bratsche" in fact (no joke) derives from the Italian 16th-17th century terminology "viola da braccio", meaning "arm-fiddle", actually a name for members of the whole family (violin, viola, and cello), so called because they (the smaller ones, at least; not the cello) were held on the arm, as opposed to the viola da gamba ("leg-fiddle") family (cf. my .sig) all of whose members, even the small ones, are held approximately vertically (more or less like the cello). The viola da gamba has likewise been abbreviated in modern German to "Gambe".
(I hesitate to become entangled in gender issues, but I suppose I might mention that both "Bratsche" and "Gambe" are feminine -- presumably preserving the grammatical gender of the Italian "viola", as does the modern German word "Viola", which can be mean either one; it seems to have been increasingly used instead of "Bratsche" starting only a few decades ago, and it may eventually displace it altogether, though not, I expect, within our lifetimes. "Bratsche" has a slightly familiar or colloquial ring to it, a bit like saying "fiddle" instead of "violin" in English or "Geige" instead of "Violine" in German, but perhaps not so prounounced, as it really is both the neutral linguistically unmarked as well as the familiar form; "die Viola" is, or at any rate was, always a bit highfalutin' -- as I understand it: comments from native German speakers would be welcome!)
Many viola players, and others who have an interest in collecting viola jokes (almost all of which can be retold as, or are retellings of, banjo jokes, accordion jokes, etc.) know the nomenclatural history that I explained a couple of paragraphs ago, and if you ask them the question "Why is the viola called 'Bratsche' in German?", they will start to give you the above "straight" answer, not having yet grasped that you are actually telling a viola joke; you then interrupt and deliver the punchline.
Not liking to interrupt people, I prefer to tell it as a meta-viola-joke, i.e. (as I did) "What is the only viola joke that can't be told as a banjo joke?".
All quite simple really, in a subtle but nonetheless heavyhanded sort of way, once one is possessed of the relevant background information.
Now, if your query was, rather, that you don't understand why viola jokes are funny -- well, certain things just defy explanation, I suppose.
Thou shalt have no other gods before the ANSI C standard 1634
Trevor L. Jackson, III There is nothing special brought to the table with regard to "security" when it comes to avoiding buffer overrun bugs. It is a matter of software correctness, which has always been...
But for anyone so inclined and without anything better to do today, here's an entire site devoted to German-language viola jokes:
Counted fifteen of them, then cut and pasted. (I may possess a degree or two in the humanities, but I have not yet become entirely innumerate.)
-- Roland Hutchinson╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩Will╩play╩viola╩da╩gamba╩for╩food.
NB mail to my.spamtrap at verizon.net is heavily filtered to remove spam.╩╩If╩your╩message╩looks╩like╩spam╩I╩may╩not╩see╩it.
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