Puerto Rican Fish Pun

GM is a college student studying communications. She is Puerto Rican and grew up in Miami. Both of her parents lived in Puerto Rico before moving to the United States and passed on Puerto Rican culture to her and her siblings.

Context: This joke was told over the dining room table while eating lunch. GM said when she was younger her grandmother told her this joke.


GM: This is one my family tells also:

Fish 1: ¿Qué hace tu papá para el trabajo?

Fish 2: Nada

GM: So “nada” in Spanish means nothing but it also means swim. I’m not sure if other Islands or Latin countries use “nada” for swim because it depends, but in Puerto Rico you can honestly just tell by the context of the sentence or conversation. That’s what makes it so funny; The second fish’s answer could go either way.

Thoughts/Analysis: This pun uses double meaning in words and is largely a children’s joke. Different Latin cultures use different words for things, and seeing as jokes are a significant part of cultural life and this is one example of its significance in Puerto Rican life. It is similar to English/American puns, in which homonyms are used.