Cat puns; Reasoning in foreign languages

Day 18: Wednesday

Morning, Tim!

Thank you for acknowledging my curation of cats. To be honest, I didn’t realize I was playing into the rampant trope of cat photos on the internet at the time, and so it was your work that really provided the curation.

As luck would have it, I recently got in an email chain spouting off cat puns. I’ve tried to curate the best of these below:

  • The first pun lobbed being less than purrfect, with a response to stop kittening around
  • Gratitude for fur-ends that would engage in such nonsense, tailented and hissterical as they may be
  • An acknowledgement that most of the cat puns weren’t very Clawver
  • And finally, from someone who had not been involved in the conversation, the suggestion that the laughter was going to cause them to “Puma pants — and that would be a catastrophe


Tim you may have noticed in my last post my tendency to delve far too deeply into wordplay and puns. This is likely due to my fascination with language, albeit typically taking a different angle than your interest as a philologist. I recently came across some research suggesting that people make decisions differently when reasoning in a foreign language. Namely, when reasoning in a foreign language, people may be more willing to take on risk because they perceive risks to be lower. Additionally, when making moral decisions, reasoning in a foreign language also makes people more likely to espouse a utilitarian perspective (i.e., sacrifice one life to save five) than they otherwise would.

As you know, Tim, I work in the healthcare space. While I had been made aware of the risk-taking bias when reasoning in a foreign language, I had not made the connection to utilitarian action or to the suggestion outlined in the linked research above around the impact this may have on physicians reasoning in another language. Not having any conclusion yet, having just come across the research yesterday, I simply wanted to pass on the information to you, knowing it may be interesting from a philosophical perspective ala normative morality over utilitarian ethics as well as ongoing interest in impact on how languages impact thinking generally and what that may look like when extrapolating to a second language rather than an original, primary one.

Until tomorrow,



10 thoughts on “Cat puns; Reasoning in foreign languages

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