12 Comments

  1. This one certainly does present interpretive difficulties! (Or maybe even interpretative difficulties.)

  2. I think I see what he was going for here, but it falls a bit flat because while letters do change over the course of millennia, the relationships depicted are completely meaningless linguistically. Plus the genders are inconsistently ordered.

    That said, the “joke”, as it were, is that e’s maternal grandma is an ‘ñ’, which is a (nearly) uniquely Spanish letter, and his paternal grandfather is an ‘ö’, which is found (though not exclusively) in German.

    Pretty weak sauce if you ask me.

  3. Okay, it’s clear enough that ñ would be labeled as Spanish and the ö would most likely be German (but could be other). There still isn’t much sense I can make of the family tree relationships.

  4. What Powers and Dana said. As the son of a linguist (and someone who has to deal with character sets for Format-Preserving Encryption, which makes doing so 100x more complex) I read it and said “Yeah, I get where they were going but it doesn’t work that way”–in terms of the characters, never mind the family tree business.

  5. Ignoring the tilde and umlaut, the top four letter anagram to “SNOB”, the next 3 letters are “ARE” and the bottom is, of course, me. Could it be a comment on people who are obsessed with their ancestry?

    It’s quite a stretch.

  6. Coincidentally, this could be my mother! Her paternal grandparents were Mexican and Spanish, and maternals were German and Irish

  7. It seems to be based on ñaña and Opa. Alas, ñaña as Grandma is rare and I can’t find any version of Opa with an Ö umlaut.

  8. “Okay, it’s clear enough that ñ would be labeled as Spanish and the ö would most likely be German (but could be other). There still isn’t much sense I can make of the family tree relationships.”

    I don’t think there is any more. I think the cartoonist thought it’d be funny that a tilde and an umlaut being considered ethnicity on a family tree would be funny and didn’t realize (or care) just how weak or meaningless everything else would be.

  9. Keith Jackson: Grandpa didn’t notice from the start that Grandma was pregnant? It looks pretty obvious to me.

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