A resurrected catch phrase popularized by The Office for immature boys everywhere, “that’s what she said,” is almost unavoidable in popular conversation these days.
Of course, serious scientists everywhere are rushing to study the linguistic phenomenon. Recently, the federal government gave the National Science Foundation (NSF) a whopping $6.9 billion for various research programs, one of which is known as “That’s What She Said: Double Entendre Identification”
Don’t know what the whole “that’s what she said” phenomena is all about? Let’s look at an example.
Say you’re at work, and someone feels the need to blurt out “Wow! This thing sure is hard!” That might be a perfect time to cement your status as completely immature by countering “that’s what she said!”
To that, an appropriate response may be a) rolling of the eyes or b) an exclamation of “HEYOOO!”
Every year, the federal governments puts money towards NSF initaitives to “fund specific research proposals that have been judged the most promising by a rigorous and objective merit-review system.”
Apparently, the “that’s what she said” study has been deemed promising in advancing science. But how exactly will the study of this phrase advance science, you ask?
Well, sometimes it’s almost impossible to explain the deep nuances of the (American) English language to a non-native speaker. The appropriate time of when to use the “that’s what she said” joke is one of such subtle nuance.
To determine when someone could successfully insert the phrase, researchers assigned values for “noun sexiness,” “adjective sexiness” and “verb sexiness.” When plugged into a mathematical equation, the value would tell the speaker whether it was an appropriate time to bust out a TWSS joke.
But is there ever an appropriate time?
According to the authors of the study, “Experiments on web data demonstrate that our approach improves precision by 12% over baseline techniques that use only word-based features.”
Of course the study may seem ludicrous, but the greater goal of the study is to create mathematical equations to better understand and value deep language nuances. The researchers claim “the technique of metaphorical mapping may be generalized to identify other types of double entendres and other forms of humor.”
Well that wasn’t too hard was it? (That’s what she said).
(Via Big Government)