Frightfully funny?

Today I saw an ad for Subway’s flatbread sandwiches which reads:

Einflach LeckerProbier jetzt dein Lieblings-Sub als frisch belegtes Flatbread
Delicious! Now try your favorite sub as a freshly topped flatbread”

Einflach Lecker - Subway

Einflach Lecker – Subway

The asterisks designate the fact that einflach is not a real German word, it is a play on two of them: einfach and flach, “simply” and “flat.” A parallel construction in English would be something like “Shrimply Delicious” – a play on “simply” and “shrimp.”

It is simply wonderful to know enough German to appreciate words at play and reminds me of a joke (which I told at a Halloween party) that relies on you knowing the grammatical cases German uses:

»Weißt du, wie die drei Geschwister des Werewolfs heißen?«
»Nein, wie denn?«
»Da wärst du nie drauf gekommen: Sie heißen Weswolf, Wemwolf und Wenwolf…«

“Do you know the names of the Werewolf’s three siblings?”
“No, what are they?”
“Your never gonna guess! They are called Genitive-Who Wolf, Dative-Who Wolf and Accusative-Who Wolf…”

For this to even get off the ground, you need to know that wer is the German word for “who” in the nominative case, and that it is inflected in the other three cases to become weswem and wen. You also know from the order in which the names are given – nominative, genitive, dative, accusative – that this joke is not brand new as the cases are now more commonly ordered nominative, accusative, dative and genitive, perhaps reflecting the increasingly rare use of the genitive forms.

I hope this makes the case, once again, for German humor making ample use of wordplay.

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