(A homonym is one of a group of words that share the same spelling or pronunciation (or both) but have different meanings. Examples are stalk (which can mean either part of a plant or to follow someone around) and the trio of words to, too and two.)
"Dogs' dogs dog dog Dog Dogs"
John, where James had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had the teacher's approval.
Lady Cavendish stood up and gathered her thoughts. ‘Indeed, the uses of had had and that that have to be strictly controlled; they can interrupt the imaginotransference quite dramatically, causing readers to go back over the sentence in confusion, something we try to avoid.’
‘It’s mostly an unlicensed-usage problem. At the last count David Copperfield alone had had had had sixty-three times, all but ten unapproved. Pilgrim’s Progress may also be a problem due to its had had/that that ratio.’
‘So what’s the problem in Progress?’
‘That that had that that ten times but had had had had only thrice. Increased had had usage had had to be overlooked, but not if the number exceeds that that that usage.’
‘Hmm,’ said the Bellman, ‘I thought had had had had TGC’s approval for use in Dickens? What’s the problem?’
‘Take the first had had and that that in the book by way of example,’ explained Lady Cavendish. ‘You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.’
‘So the problem with that other that that was that . . . ?’
‘That that other-other that that had had approval.’
‘Okay,’ said the Bellman, whose head was in danger of falling apart like a chocolate orange, ‘let me get this straight: David Copperfield, unlike Pilgrim’s Progress, had had had, had had had had. Had had had had TGC’s approval?’
Esau Wood sawed wood. Esau Wood would saw wood. All the wood Esau Wood saw, Esau Wood would saw. In other words, all the wood Esau saw to saw, Esau sought to saw. Oh, the wood Wood would saw! And, oh the wood-saw with which Wood would saw wood! But one day, Wood's wood-saw would saw no wood, and thus the wood Wood sawed was not the wood Wood would saw if Wood's wood-saw would saw wood. Now, Wood would saw wood with a wood-saw that would saw wood, so Esau sought a saw that would saw wood. One day, Esau saw a saw saw wood as no other wood-saw Wood saw would saw wood. In fact, of all the wood-saws Wood ever saw saw wood, Wood never saw a wood-saw that would saw wood as the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood would saw wood, and I never saw a wood-saw that would saw as the wood-saw Wood saw would saw until I saw Esau Wood saw wood with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood. Now Wood saws wood with the wood-saw Wood saw saw wood
Nose Knows No Snows
A homophonous phrase that is unique in that every word in the sentence is different, yet it sounds as if the word "nose" is simply repeated four times.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
The sentence is unpunctuated and uses three different readings of the word "buffalo". In order of their first use, these are
c. The city of Buffalo, New York;
a. The animal "buffalo", in the plural (equivalent to "buffaloes"), in order to avoid articles;
v. The verb "buffalo," meaning to bully, confuse, deceive, or intimidate.
Marking each "buffalo" with its use as shown above gives
Buffaloc buffaloa Buffaloc buffaloa buffalov buffalov Buffaloc buffaloa.
Thus, the sentence when parsed reads as a description of the pecking order in the social hierarchy of buffaloes living in Buffalo:
[Those] (Buffalo buffalo) [that] (Buffalo buffalo buffalo) buffalo (Buffalo buffalo).
[Those] buffalo(es) from Buffalo [that are intimidated by] buffalo(es) from Buffalo intimidate buffalo(es) from Buffalo.
Bison from upstate New York who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community.
In Dutch, "Als In Bergen, bergen bergen bergen bergen bergen, bergen bergen bergen bergen bergen." Roughly meaning: "If in Bergen, heaps of mountains salvage heaps of mountains, then heaps of mountains salvage heaps of mountains".
In Mandarin Chinese:
"mā ma mà mǎ ma? mǎ mà mā ma ma?" (妈妈骂马吗？ 马骂妈妈吗？)means "Does Mother scold horses or do horses scold Mother?" However, Mandarin is a tonal language, so the words above are not true homophones. This sentence is used as an exercise to show the contrastive nature of Chinese tones and practice their correct realizations. A similar example is Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den, in which shi is repeated with varying tones.
In Cantonese Chinese:
the phrase "gò go gó gò gòu gwó gò go gó gò" (in Yale romanization, Chinese characters: 嗰個哥哥高過嗰個哥哥) means "That older brother is taller than that older brother".
the phrase "gǒng gǒng góng gǒng gòng gǒng gǒng, gǒng gǒng gǒng gǒng" means, "Grandfather says, 'a can clank knocked Grandfather dizzy.'"
In German, "Wenn hinter Fliegen Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen Fliegen hinterher" means "If flies fly after flies, flies fly behind flies." (Same meaning as the Dutch Als achter vliegen vliegen vliegen, vliegen vliegen vliegen achterna)
Also in German, "Die Männer, die vor dem Schokoladenladen Laden laden, laden Ladenmädchen gerne ein" means "The men who are loading shutters in front of the chocolate shop like to ask out the shop girls" (Variant: "Ladenjungen, die Schokoladeladen laden, laden Ladenmädchen zum Tanz ein")
In Hebrew, אשה נעלה נעלה נעלה נעלה את הדלת בפני בעלה (Isha na'ala na'ala na'ala na'ala et hadelet bifnei ba'ala) means "A respectable woman put on her shoe, locked the door in front of her husband". 'נעל' (na'al) means 'put on (footwear)' and hence also 'shoe', but also means 'lock'. 'עלה' ('alah') means 'raise', from which the niphal 'נעלה' means 'exalted' or 'noble'.
In Malay, lovers can say "Sayang, sayang, sayang sayang sayang. Sayang sayang sayang?", which translates to "Darling, I love you. Do you love me?". This is a true homophone as the same word is used for pronoun and verb. The person being asked can even reply "Sayang", or "Sayang sayang sayang", in return.
In Swedish, Norwegian and Danish, "Far, får får får? Får får lamm!" which translates to "Daddy, do sheep give birth to sheep? (No,) sheep give birth to lambs!" Extended variant is: "Får får får? Nej, får får ej får för får får lamm." (Does sheep give birth to sheep? No, sheep does not give birth to sheep because sheep gives birth to lambs). Another version is "Far får får, får får lamm" (Father receives sheep, sheep gives birth to lambs)