First, there’s the British children’s TV character called “Shaun the Sheep”. Would Americans pick up the pun in his name?
Next, a joke suitable for English, Australian etc ten-year-olds. Presumably it wouldn’t work for American fourth-graders.
What do you call a deer with no eyes?For that matter, would they think the reason we call diarrhoea (AmE diarrhea) by that name is that it gives you a dire rear?
What do you call a deer with no legs and no eyes?
—Still no idea.
Then there’s this joke about not wanting to get involved.
People see church like a giant helicopter. They fear getting too close in case they get sucked into the rotas.The joke wouldn’t work in AmE — not only because of rhoticity (groan) but also because Americans don’t use the word rota.
Alan also draws my attention to a commercial website where we read that Abingdon Eye Centre was “formally” known as Classic Eyes Opticians.
Lastly, there’s a carpet company calling itself "Walter Wall Carpets".
This is noteworthy for two reasons:
(1) the company is located in Exeter, which happens to be one of the rather few urban centres in England that are still largely rhotic; and
(2) Walter Wall is not actually an exact homophone of wall-to-wall even for non-rhotic speakers, because the t in Walter exerts a pre-fortis clipping effect on the preceding ɔːl, while for the t in to this effect is blocked by the internal word boundary. So the two phrases differ rhythmically. (For people who say ˈwɒlt- rather than ˈwɔːlt-, the difference is even greater.)
Nevertheless the pun presumably works well enough to justify its use.
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Those of you living in the UK (or anywhere else where you can access the BBC iPlayer) may be interested in this interview with Peter French on the topic of forensic acoustics. It’s available for a few days only.