Understanding Language Through Humor
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"Former Hooters waitress settles toy Yoda suit PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - A former waitress has settled her lawsuit against Hooters, the restaurant that gave her a toy Yoda doll instead of the Toyota she thought she had won. Jodee Berry, 27, won a beer sales contest last May at the Panama City Beach Hooters. She believed she had won a new Toyota and happily was escorted to the restaurant's parking lot in a blindfold. But when the blindfold was removed, she found she had won a new toy Yoda - the little green character from the Star Wars movies. David Noll, her attorney, said Wednesday that he could not disclose the settlement's details, although he said Berry can now go to a local car dealership and "pick out whatever type of Toyota she wants."1 If you appreciate the pun behind the practical joke that led to this lawsuit, then you've understood, at least on some level, the linguistic features upon which it hinges. First of all, the company name Toyota and the two-word phrase toy Yoda both have stress on thesecond syllable "yo". In addition to that, the t sound in Toyota is produced sounding much like a d when it occurs between two vowels (such as o and a). The result is that both sound nearly identical when pronounced in normal, conversational, rapid speech. This is not just a fact about these two expressions. "--